Storage Server - PE 2950 and an H700

posted Oct 31, 2014, 11:31 AM by Andrew Chadick
The BIOS on the PE 2950 can't support UEFI to boot with volumes larger than 2TB in stock configuration.  
However, with that said, you can still use the 2950 as a massive storage server with a few tweaks.  

I was just recently able to take an out of service Dell PowerEdge 2950 that I was going to retire. The unit came with the Perc 5 integrated which came with a 4 x 3.5" SAS backplane. 

I installed Qty=4  "4 TB" SAS drives, and was able to build a massive RAID 10 array! 
I also installed a SATA 256 GB Samsung 840EVO boot drive, and installed Microsoft's 2012 Storage Server on it.

In order to do all of this however, you have to make some modifications of the system.  And they aren't that difficult. 

Since the Perc 5i controller can't see volumes over 2TB, you have to replace it.  Luckily the H700 controller is a viable option.  Search for: PERC H700 SAS Controller.
Note: You will have to remove the Perc 5i controller from its metal backing plate, and then remove that blue plastic handle in order to get the H700 to mount correctly. Once the H700 is in place, you will note that the cables from the 5i won't work with it, so you will have to replace those as well.  
Tripp Lite makes a SAS, mini-SAS, 4-in-1 32 pin cable that works great.  You just need to get two of them.  
Search for: Tripp Lite Internal SAS Cable, mini-SAS (SFF-8087) to 4-in-1 32pin (SFF-8484), 18-in. (0.5M)(S510-18N).

Once in place, you will need to route your cables where they fit best, and allow the cover to seat properly.  This took a bit of work on my end, as I had to extend the power cable to reach the new 840 EVO drive, and it made for a tight fit.

The server boots very fast off of the EVO drive, and I am getting massive throughput using this as a backup volume.  
I am using a crossover cable from another 2950 that has the backup software on it, and using this server as the storage for it.  The CAT6 connection is allowing sustained transfers speed of 775 MB/minute across one cable.   
(For me, I was able to backup across the network 1,980 GB in 48 hr: 56 min : 04 sec.  Your mileage may vary.)



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