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I'm trying to find out if Non Hot Swap drives can be plugged into Hot Swap slots on a HP DL180 G6 server. I've been searching around but haven't found the answer I am looking for. I also can't find the manual for the server before we buy one.

Reason for this is because HP drives cost like they have gold in them. I can get 2TB WD black's for like $150 locally. The question is, will 2TB WD black's work?

Yes we are saving money and no this will not host mission critical data. It will only store videos.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

For modern drives (SAS / SATA), HP's "Hot swap" and "Non-hot swap" drive designations refer to the type of drive caddy (** and controller) used, rather than anything particular about the drive. All SATA and SAS drives are electrically hotswappable. (For SCSI and IDE disks, there was a real difference - only SCA SCSI disks were hotswappable, nothing else was)

So, if you have the correct disk caddies already, you can physically and electrically put in third-party drives just fine.

Whether the controller in your DL180 G6 will support a 2TB drive or not is another question, and one I don't know the answer to. It may require specific firmware on the drives, for example. Sorry I can't help you there.

As a side point, I've seen a lot of issues with non-RE ("RAID Edition") class WD disks when used in hardware RAID controllers. The RE disks have a feature called Time-Limited Error Recovery (TLER) (datasheet for RE4 disk), which basically means the drive gives up a lot earlier when it encounters some errors. Without this reduced error timeout, the disk stalls for longer, which results in the array controller thinking the disk is having a problem and subsequently removing it from the array. Your mileage may vary on this point - but if you find that the disks are being ejected from their RAID set without any obvious reason, you might be seeing this issue.

Updated to add: I think I still wasn't clear in my comment. There is no physical or electrical reason why you can't use any non-HP SAS or SATA disks in this system, because all SAS and SATA disks are hot-swap anyway.

Even the HP "non-hot swap" disks are technically hot-swappable, however the disk controller or back-plane in the HP systems with NHS disks may not support hot-swapping.

So, barring an unforeseen controller/firmware limitation, you should be fine.

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Hi, thanks for the great answer. I do know about the TLER "error" but I'm not that concerned about that because an RE3 still costs WAY less than HP drives. Anyhow, are you saying that because the drive caddy is a Hot Swap version, I will not be able to plug in a Non Hot Swap HDD? Did I understand that correctly? – Jared Jul 18 '11 at 7:48
I'm saying that there is no electrical or physical difference between "hot swap" and "non hot swap" HP disks, because ALL SAS and SATA disks are physically and electrically hotswappable. – Daniel Lawson Jul 18 '11 at 8:02
Alright. great, thanks! – Jared Jul 20 '11 at 2:56

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