[Beowulf] Third-party drives not permitted on new Dell servers?

John Hearns hearnsj at googlemail.com
Sun Mar 21 04:52:59 EDT 2010

On 16 February 2010 07:08, Mark Hahn <hahn at mcmaster.ca> wrote:

> I think the real paradigm shift is that disks have become a consumable
> which you want to be able to replace in 1-2 product generations (2-3 years).
> along with this, disks just aren't that important, individually - even
> something _huge_ like seagate's firmware problem, for instance, only drove
> up random failures, no?

You have just hit a very big nail on the head.

Let's think about current RAID arrays - you have to replace a drive
with the same type - take Fibrechannel arrays for instance - they have
different drive speeds, and sizes of course.  ot FC, but once when
doing support I replaced a SATA drive by one of the same size. But not
the same manufacturer - and it had just a couple of sectors less, so
was not accepted in as a spare drive.
We could go on - but the point being that once you select a storage
array you are bound into that type of disk.
I'm now still getting speedy and good service on a FC array which is
rather elderly - replacment drives have been on the shelf for years.

Anyway, Mark prompts me to think back to the IBM Storage Tank concept
- drive goes bad and it is popped out of a hatch like a vending

Remember, this is the Beowulf list and Beowulf is about applying COTS
technology. We're in the Web 2.0 age, with Google, Microsoft et. al.
deploying containerised data centres - and somehow I don't reckon they
keep all their data on some huge EMC fibrechannel array with a dual FC
fabric and a live mirror to another lockstep duplicate array in
another building, via dark fibre, with endless discussions on going to
8Gbit FC  (yadda yadda, you get the point).

As Mark says - storage is storage. It should be bought by the pallet
load, and deployed like Lego bricks.
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