We use Dell servers for everything, and they’re generally good machines. Although others have had negative experience with Dell Support, I’ve called them a couple of times and always found them to be good (though perhaps because I spoke to someone in a call centre in Scotland rather than India).
As part of our network changes where we’re implementing virtualisation, we needed to format the windows partition of an SC420 server, and re-install Windows 2003 server afresh.
The problem is that the Dell OpenManage software doesn’t allow you to install Windows on an existing partition, forcing you to wipe the hard disk completely in order to install Windows. This means losing all partitions, so you can forget copying data between partitions to back it up.
This is a bad move on Dell’s part. The software should at least give the option of re-installing on an existing partition. The problem is made worse by the fact that this system has SCSI RAID drives which means Windows needs to be fed drivers via floppy disk during setup. The Dell PowerEdge SC420 doesnt’ come with a floppy disk drive.
It’s very frustrating that despite the massive uptake of portable flash-based USB drives, that Windows is still dependent on the age-old floppy disk for installation on machines using RAID. There’s absolutely no way of supplying the drivers in any other way.
There’s little choice, except to perhaps find a floppy drive from an old PC sitting around somewhere, and temporarily hook it up to get Windows working. That’s assuming the motherboard has a floppy disk drive connector.
Makes me wonder whether we’ll ever really be free of those 3.5″ pieces of plastic and magnetic film. At least not until Microsoft allow RAID drivers to be supplied via other means…
[tags]dell, openmanage, partitions, microsoft, windows, raid, floppy disk, usb drive[/tags]