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I have a Dell Poweredge 1950 with 4 146Gb SAS 10K configured in RAID 10. One of em failed. Is it possible to hotswap it with a 146Gb+ SAS 15K (which i plan to nab from an unused HP proliant) ?

If yes, would it be safer to simply shutdown the server and replacing the drive instead of hotswapping it ?

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They're called hot-plug for a reason, and that's because they're designed to be swapped while on, and it's perfectly fine to do so. Your Dell controller may reject the non-Dell disk, but your mileage may vary (others with knowledge of Dell hardware may offer more info - I'm a HP guy personally). – Ben Pilbrow Feb 16 '11 at 21:24
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Agree with the NO answer from @murisonc. There are some other possible issues. Some drives only will work if specific firmware. HP will likley be different than Dell. It may not impact this older server but does with newer. The drive is just unrecognized. Naturally you would need to use the Dell HD adapter/sled/tray.

In HP and IBM training they always warned about mixing speeds. Dell has been saying that it is OK but they are also out of replacement 10K drives for some of our servers that are under warranty.

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Not only a firmware issue but you will have different connectors at the back of your HP and Dell caddies/drives. – Chadddada Feb 17 '11 at 0:22
@Chaddadda -Many vendors code their controllers so only thir drives work. The connection is why I mentioned using the Dell Tray/sled, etc. This is from Dell regarding drives It is common practice in enterprise storage solutions to limit drive support to only those drives which have been qualified by the vendor. In the case of Dell's PERC RAID controllers, we began informing customers when a non-Dell drive was detected with the introduction of PERC5 RAID controllers in early 2006. With the introduction of the PERC H700/H800 controllers, we began enabling only the use of Dell qualified drives – Dave M Feb 17 '11 at 13:03
Ah yes I missed the, "Naturally you would need to use the Dell HD adapter/sled/tray." – Chadddada Feb 17 '11 at 14:11

Short answer is no.

A 1950 with 4 drives? Are you sure it isn't a 2950?

The drives will not be able to sync up. At best you would get terrible performance and at worst it will just fail to accept the drive. Hot swap is just as safe as shutting down.

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It definately is a 1950 with 4 SAS drives. – Max Feb 16 '11 at 21:40
Could you please explain in what way they can't 'sync up' ? – DutchUncle Feb 17 '11 at 0:18
If it was a dell drive he was swapping in then it would probably rebuild the drive no problem and run the drive @ 10k. – Chadddada Feb 17 '11 at 0:24
I'm not aware of any Dell manufacturing facilities for hard disk drives or RAID controllers? Hard disks are usually made by Seagate or Fujitsu, and RAID cards from Adaptec, LSI or Areca... – DutchUncle Feb 17 '11 at 0:36
The rotational speed of the drive does not change. By sync up I mean that the data will be comming off the drives at differing times. This is due to the different rotational speeds impacting the latency and the seek times. This may or may not confuse the raid controller. – murisonc Feb 21 '11 at 15:01

Max I have operated in such an environment for several years now without any problems whatsoever. I use all Dell equipment with various levels of Perc raid controllers in everything. You can't swap a 10krpm drive in to a 15krpm array, but the reverse has worked just fine on all of my Dell equipment. Not only that but I've used 15krpm drives that are much larger in size than the original 10k disk, and that also worked out very well. The only issue that I've experienced on some systems was that I had to upgrade the controller firmware to the latest version.

If HP and IBM are saying not to do this then perhaps their controllers can't handle it? Worth noting is that my 15krpm replacement drives have always been provided to me by Dell under warranty. The drives are usually iterations of the 10k counterparts (same manufacturer, etc). Perhaps a drive from a different manufacturer wouldn't behave as friendly?

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Indeed, and be wary of vendor FUD. Still, most people seem to like vendor lock-in... – DutchUncle Feb 17 '11 at 0:19

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