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I have a Raid 5 array made up of three HP brand 10k rpm SAS-6G drives with 146 gb size. One of the drives is telling me from its LED that it needs replacement. When I ordered a replacement I found that it was the last one in stock and my drive is discontinued now.

My question involves what would happen if I bought a larger sized disk of another brand? I would hope that I could throw in another larger drive and the array controller would partition it up to the original disks size and just waste the extra? Is that what will happen?

I also read that it is not wise to mix your array with different manufacturers components. Is this the same case when you use the same manufacturer but end up using a larger sized drive?

I've not had a drive go out on me in the past so I wanted to ask here before I started playing with equipment. I was lucky there was a HP brand replacement.

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If the LED is your first indication of trouble you should make sure that you set up proper alerting. –  John Gardeniers Sep 4 '12 at 22:58
    
You make a very good point John. Alerts are set up through Insight but the smtp relay has a 550 error issue currently so I wouldn't have gotten the alert out of the network. –  TWood Sep 6 '12 at 17:14

4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Is your server less than 3 years-old? If so, you should be able to resolve this through HP warranty. Your server's standard warranty covers internal disks. If not, the part you need, HP Part #507125-B21, is readily and easily available. Do the right thing and replace with the like-part. These are stockpiled in parts warehouses and can also be found on eBay.

However, you should know that when HP doesn't have the exact part available as a spare for repair, they will substitute a larger drive (like a 300GB 10k disk). It works fine.

Also, HP sources parts from multiple manufacturers; Seagate, Western Digital, etc. It's really about matching the "Spare Part #". Manufacturer doesn't matter.

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slightly older than three years but i'm having someone check on that. I used the spares number that was on the front of the disk drives, 507283-001. This was also the number listed in the proliant dl380 g7 part sheets on HP's site. Where did you find that alternate number at? Is there a special HP spares site I need to order from because cdw had nothing under the hp part # and amazon only had 1 drive available. –  TWood Sep 5 '12 at 14:50
    
The part number is well-known, but also listed in the RAID controller and server Quickspecs. Search the Google for "507125-B21" and order away. These disks are available. –  ewwhite Sep 5 '12 at 15:44
    
507125-B21 is the correct drive. It's not listed in that quickspec though. Or at least anywhere I can find. I suppose I should have just searched for this item with drive specs in my query instead of just going with the old part number. Thanks for your help ewwhite. –  TWood Sep 6 '12 at 17:24
    
@TWood Quickspecs get updated over time. The 146GB 10k disk has gone out of production. Just search for the base part number, "507125" or the SmartBuy part number, "507125-S21". You never mentioned your specific server model (a good idea for future questions), but let's assume a DL380 G6. Those Quickspecs will show more detail. –  ewwhite Sep 6 '12 at 17:38

I've used Western Digital and Seagate drives to replace my HP branded drives that have failed. The controller should do just as you're predicting. Utilize exactly as much space as it needs and just blow the rest out. I'd recommend staying as close to the spec of your current drives as possible though, different speeds and specs can occasionally cause weird issues down the line.

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Sometimes, you can use a larger disk but with a couple of penalties: (1) loss of excess size and (2) possibly change in access time since the new drive will be of different access speed than others in the array.

Although you might be able to use disks of a different manufacturer, this might be bad as some manufacturers use some special drive firmware. It could also void your warranty or any service agreement. I know that netapp is particularly sensitive to having you use "netapp" approved drives.

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Some interesting stuff here.

Please don't just replace the HDD in the cradle with any old drive - as mdpc states above, the HP branded drives have HP firmware on them. So much so, that the HP Smart Array adapters interrogate the drives and inform you when firmware updates are required. You also run the risk of the adapter deeming the array as being bad. I would not want to be talking to HP Support about loss of data when they ask for a firmware / system level software version dump from you.

Moving on, you should be able to get a replacement disk through the channel using the spares number (as ewwhite says).

Failing that, insert a larger, HP branded disk of the same bus type and rotational speed.

Reading between the lines, I'm guessing you don't have a hardware maintenance break-fix arrangement in place?

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I hadn't planned on gutting the cradle with another drive but I had not considered the possibilty of confusing smart array with mixed firmwares. And yeah, no hardware maintenance break-fix arrangement. I barely have an IT budget much less something as involved as that, lol. Thanks for your thoughts. –  TWood Sep 5 '12 at 14:38
    
Ouch - shame about the break fix contract, or lack of. There are a number of non-HP companies out there that do quite competitive hardware maintenance (e.g.: Calyx). –  Simon Catlin Sep 5 '12 at 20:17

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