Dell Power Edge/Vault R420/MD1200

Hello Gents,

Got this old r420/md1200 combo and was wondering if I could turn it into a NAS using either Unraid or FreeNAS. It comes w dual xeon cpu, 32gb/ram but no Raid/SCSI Controller. The array is filled w 12x2TB drives that I would like to upgrade to 4TB soon. I’m not concerned about the 4tb drives, dell has firmware update for them.

What type of controller should I put in? Lots of infos out there and some of it is controversial. I was reading Unraid and FreeNAS don’t act nicely with RAID controllers and that HBA is preffered. If that’s the case which card should I get?

Thank you.

Sure, since Unraid and FreeNAS (now called TrueNAS) use software defined RAID, you don’t need a harwdare RAID controller. Just connect the drives to SATA or a SAS HBA and configure the RAID volume inside the host OS.

sounds like you would need a external sas card in the R420 to connect to the MD1200.

I would probably pick up an official used Dell perc card to ensure compatibility. there are multiple versions out there. i don’t have personal experience with the md1200 though.

There should be a spot for a storage daughter card on the R420 for the internal drives. A perc H710 would be a good choice as it is easier to cross flash than the perc H310. It may or may not come with a battery, which isn’t needed for IT mode.

This should be the right one for an R420

If you need an external adapter the Perc H810 has external ports and can be flashed to it mode.

This is a good guide for cross flashing most dell perc controllers.

They are not difficult to cross flash, just follow the steps.