Does anyone know if I can install normal 2.5" SATA drives inside an HP DL360 G5 server? Right now it has 6 72GB SAS drives. I am looking for raw storage for my files SAS performance in not required.


SATA2 disks should be compatible with the Smart Array P400i that comes with your server (or any other SAS controller, for the matter), although probably not with stellar performance as others have noted. But keep in mind that not all SATA disks are suitable for use with RAID because of the infamous Time-Limited Error Recovery parameter (TLER for WD drivers, also called ERC by Seagate and CCTL by others). Disks not prepared for RAID configurations will frequently drop from the array.

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  • I have never heard of Time-Limited_Error Recovery parameter, sound like it could be something that might backfire later. I need to check that out. – ianc1215 Jul 31 '11 at 4:49
  • You definitely need to check this out. Some brands (notably Western Digital) do this more than others. I avoid them like a plague. Some did in the the past and not so much now (Seagate, I think). Some disks come this way from the factory but you can reconfigure them with some manufacturer-provided program. You should research each particular SATA drive you intend to buy. OTOH, you could just buy HP SATA drives for your server without problems, but that would be a bit more expensive. – joechip Aug 1 '11 at 7:20
  • So.. I want or I don't want TLER, ERC or CCTL? Because the black drives don't have that feature I believe. I will have to look. – ianc1215 Aug 1 '11 at 14:37
  • For RAID drives you want TLER enabled (otherwise, the drive may take too long upon encountering a recoverable error and be dropped from the array before it's done). See Wikipedia. – joechip Aug 1 '11 at 19:02
  • Ah I see, the drives I was looking at dont have that enabled or as an installed feature. I will have to see if there are other options. Thanks for the clarification. – ianc1215 Aug 2 '11 at 9:25

I've never had any compatibility issues using SATA disks in HP hardware or with Smart Array controllers.

A better solution may be to use midline SAS drives if you have the budget. They'll still run at 7200 RPM, but still have a SAS interface (and queuing, etc.).

I'd recommend the 2.5" Seagate Constellation drives in either 500GB or 1TB capacities, with a SAS-2 interface. They should be around $200 per disk. The SATA interface versions of the same drives will be about $50 less per disk.

The HP ProLiant DL360 G5 server uses a Smart Array P400i RAID controller in most setups. Performance is helped tremendously if you have a battery-backed write cache unit on the controller. See: Incredibly low disk performance on HP ProLiant DL385 G7

Make sure you update the firmware on your internal Smart Array (P400) RAID controller before doing this. See the HP firmware update page for your model and OS.

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  • Any idea what the WD version of the Constellation drives would be? I have had "issues" with seagate drive. granted those were the desktop ones. – ianc1215 Jul 31 '11 at 4:52

SATA drives always work when connected to a SAS controller, by definition.

Minor correction - the SATA drives must be SATA2 or newer (3Gbps) -- from comment below.

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  • Really? I always thought there was a reason you could not use any drive. Well that settles that issue. Thanks. – ianc1215 Jul 29 '11 at 2:52
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    Minor correction - the SATA drives must be SATA2 or newer (3Gbps). – Shane Madden Jul 29 '11 at 3:07
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    HP SA HBAs are picky about the drives they'll talk to and very picky about the drives they'll perform well with (basically only HP drives). Google the drives you want to use and the HBA, see if anyone else has tried the combo and if it works. Also, HP makes 1TB SATA 2.5" drives for less than $480. – Chris S Jul 29 '11 at 3:24
  • You mean HBA as in the RAID Controller? Like the P400i? – ianc1215 Jul 29 '11 at 3:26
  • They are SATA 2 I just checked. Yeah even less than $480 is way too much, this is a personal server I scored it off ebay for less than $1000. The drives I was looking at were around $70/ea. – ianc1215 Jul 29 '11 at 3:43

Few times I had a problem with SATA drives inside Proliant servers where under Linux drives were detected as PATA.

The solution was to turn off Auto mode for hdd in BIOS settings...

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You should be able use any SATA drive, but I'd consult the bare drive model numbers on HP's Hard Drive Model Number Matrix before you buy. That'll give you a strong indication of which drives will work well in your server, and point you to any special firmware.

Old question, I know, but it took me ages to find that list.

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You can use SATA drives, but make sure they are "raid edition" drives intended for use in servers, and not drives intended for use in desktops. "Raid Edition" is Western Digital's name for it: other vendors each have their own name, but this is important; it's not just snake oil and you can run into problems if you get cheaper disks.

Expect to spend about $100 for a 1TB disk of this type:
or $120 for a more recent version with a larger cache:

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  • The only issue with that is the server uses 2.5" drives not 3.5" – ianc1215 Jul 31 '11 at 4:47

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