Best (or Worst) Geek Christmas Ever

I was thrilled to discover that Santa Claus left a little unexpected present on my doorstep on Christmas Eve: the two Lenovo ThinkServers that I ordered for! They weren't supposed to arrive until sometime next week.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at:


If bigname server vendors are loosing money selling servers without drives, they should raise their prices, rather than trying to extract money by preventing people from using their own drives. You can try to dress it up if you want, but using a propritary interface for no other reason than to extract extra money from a customer is pretty shady.

To add a 2nd HD to a Tivo I used a series of zip ties to mount the drive. Not appropriate for a production server obviously.

There has got to be a cottage industry making these brackets.

Jeff you should know that if you return the ThinkServers you might be charged a 15% restocking fee.

I had this same problem a while back with another computer manufacture. I called up customer service and was able to get them to send me some drive rails at a minimal charge.

I got a new TV Tuner to work with Linux MCE, but my PS’s wattage is too low to handle it. :frowning:

Time for an upgrade! :smiley:

Shame on Lenovo and other vendors for using these practices. They should at least warn the buyer that he can’t mount his own drives in the server, especially when he’s buying the server without any drives.

@David Magda: interesting stuff, but I wonder how many vendors really do so much QA.

@Rob O.: the Thinkpad (IBM) was anti-Microsoft for a very long time. That’s why your laptop had no Windows key.

@Jeff: as someone else pointed out, I think it’s time for a sysadmin StackOverflow

supermicro fool!

I do like supermicro, but the redundant power (on the RD120) and true hardware RAID (on both servers) was a selling point for me.

Also don’t forget the interposer adapter! I know that you need an SATA-SAS backplane adapter card in the tray to add SATA Drives. But dont know what the need is for lenovo.

The bare SATA drives slide into the connectors fine (I ordered the SATA models, not the fancier SCSI/SAS whatever they’re calling it these days). It’s the fact that the drives are bouncing around loose inside the bays that’s a concern… less so on the 1U, where there are only 2 bays and not 2 x 3.

You can also google for third-party replacement parts

What works against me here is that these are brand new server models, originally introduced in October.

Lee Brandt, ooh, good idea – those are the SCSI ones though.

These look VERY promising, for SATA:

I did order two of the official 160GB drives, which I’ll need to confirm whether the mounts are correct or not, but…


I’ve had this issue before. You call the parts number and just tell them you just want the drive tray. Just figure out its part number and order it by part number. The guy will hassle you, but ultimately sell it to you.


Also, you might be able to buy them from IBM/Lenovo repair partners.

I can’t imagine that they would not sell you the mounts if you raise a stink. They are not going to lose a customer and a sale if thye have half a brain.

Here’s the Lenovo SATA drive caddy from the RD120 manual:

Here’s an IBM SATA drive caddy from eBay

Looks pretty close. I ordered one from the eBay seller to see if they work…

The technojournalists all seem so eager to totally geek out on Lenovo and heap praise after praise upon their products, but yours is not unlike my own experience with Lenovo hardware - two steps forward and one step back. It’s as though they simply fail to follow-through.

For example, everyone raved endlessly about the Lenovo Thinkpad X41 tablet PC when it was released about 3 years ago. But against other comparable products, the X41 felt cheap and plasticy. Worse, the PC’s performance was dismal even with the RAM bumped to 2 GB. But the biggest sin was that the keyboard - the whole reason you’d bother buying a convertible tablet PC (which I don’t recommend) - was pathetic. It didn’t even feature a Windows key, something that every $4 no-name keyboard has had for the past decade. Oh, it had a useless blue button that’d jet you straight over to the Thinkpad website, but no Windows key. And the Function key was exactly where the Ctrl key should be, so every time you tried to do any key combo common to most Windows apps, you’d be invoking some setup function instead. All of this, yet the rags couldn’t say enough wonderful things about the X41.

This is typically a situation where I would send a product back. Inhibiting the freedom the choose alternatives is a sad way of doing business.

Just got off the phone with Lenovo 24 hour server support @ 1-800-426-7378.

Per the tech rep I talked to, Lenovo does not offer drive trays, you must buy drive/tray assemblies. I confirmed this with him verbally several different times, to make sure we understood each other.

Now I’m trying to figure out which will be more painful: buying $800 worth of drive trays, or returning/rebuying servers…


Sorry, it looks like you might be out of luck. Lenovo’s FRU numbers (atleast the ones published in the hardware maintenance manuals) are for the hard drive including the cage.

I’d say give ebay a shot.

Also, has stuff every now and then. They’re a refurbished lenovo dealer. It’s mostly for last generation’s stuff though, otherwise its pretty good. You can place orders for anything that they don’t have on the site.

Good luck, and I feel your pain.

We have been bitten by the same thing with HP servers. The premium on a drive that appears to simply be a standard Seagate unit with a little HP sticker is insane. Wound up buying the cheapest HP drives with trays and swapping out the included drive for a standard SATA one.

Not in a hurry to buy HP again.

This blog is popular enough to make some of the Lenovo representatives to reconsider and suddenly offer you the trays for free or for a very small amount.

Considering the image damage that they would be caused by this blog post that’s how I see it…