I'm looking to buy some extra disk space for a HP ML 350 G5 server. It is for simple file-serving - not OS/system stuff. HP harddisks are insanely expensive, so I'm tempted to buy some other brand instead. I have heard that they sometime use special firmware on their disks, but I suspect that might just be HP spreading rumors to sell disks.

Does anyone have experience using non-HP disks? Any features not working, or not being able to build the RAID at all?

I'm looking at 2.5" SAS Seagate drives - Constellation 500 GB (7.2k) or Savvio 600 GB (10k).

  • Which controller do you have?
    – Chopper3
    May 19, 2010 at 21:26

2 Answers 2


Non-brand disks usually work perfectly in brand servers. On some server models, management tools can complain about "non original disks" (I saw this happen on IBM servers), but apart from this, there are no technical issues in using them.

The server's vendor will probably not support such a configuration, though.

BTW, "brand" disks are usually nothing more than standard disks with a different label on them.

  • +1 for probable lack of support. There's a reason the HP disks have special firmware, and it's because they're tested and verified to work with the various RAID controllers. If there were any issues with the server, I would say HP (or your third party support) are well within their rights to refuse support to you, as there's every chance they're wasting their time because there's a bug in the controller or disk firmware which is actually causing your issue. May 19, 2010 at 20:16
  • Agreed on testing and validation, but prices are really insane when buying "original" parts that are techinally identical to off-the-shelf ones :-(
    – Massimo
    May 19, 2010 at 20:17
  • 1
    Oh I totally agree - it's almost extortion! But if I have data on those disks which is critical to business, I'm cool paying the extra money for the peace of mind that comes with the testing/validation and support from the vendor. May 19, 2010 at 20:21
  • yes the drives are technically identical however the ones you buy that are not from the vendor were likely rejected by the vendor from the manufacturer. The specs on vendor drives are not equivalent to OEM vetted drives. Also understand that as Ben mentioned you will be invalidating your support agreement/warranty with the vendor.
    – Jim B
    May 19, 2010 at 23:38
  • Thanks. I will go for the non-brand ones. We have never used the support/guarantee for any of our hardware anyway, so I won't spend money on it. May 20, 2010 at 9:22

be careful of the server you buy - the mainstream servers(e.g. dl350/360/380, mlxxx etc) need hp caddies for the disks. ml110/115 and others can use standard disks without caddies. you can buy the caddies from international 3rd parties you lose the ability to apply firmware updates to the drives themselves. this is rarely needed although there were some serious issues just over a year ago. very unlikely to be needed though - check the manufacturer part code carefully as there are lots of variations in the models - cheapest options involve lff or large form factor disks ie standard 3.5" sas disks are over-hyped and much more expensive. p410 or greater raid controller is recommended and also battery backed write controller which ar often overlooked but very important for increased performance and reliability

  • We would never apply new firmware anyway, but good point (small firm - we don't have anyone capable of doing it :-) Luckily the server came with caddies in all the 2.5" SAS slots. May 20, 2010 at 9:18

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