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We have lots of 2.5'' SAS drives from a decomissioned EMC AX4 array (Seagate Savvio 10k.3), and would like to install on HP Proliant 360pG7. Proliant does not detect those drives, is there something we are missing or is this hopeless?

Let me clarify: we don't want an HP supported solution, we would like to know if it is possible for the disks to work. These servers are for dev/testing.

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    Why the vote down, this is a valid tech question. – sivann Nov 11 '15 at 10:49
  • It's voted down because this community does not handle unsupported hardware. – Jenny D Nov 16 '15 at 10:18
  • @JennyD I strongly disagree This shouldn't be a community for rich companies with big budgets. Some of us work with big retraints. Moreover since when a hack is by definition a bad thing? If buisiness risks are taken into account, using tech in an "unsupported by the vendor" way, is a perfectly valid option that one should consider. After all this is a technology forum, not a presales one :-) Unsupported does not mean unauthorized. – sivann Nov 16 '15 at 10:36
  • If you disagree with the current rules for what is on-topic and not, please post on Meta Server Fault with a suggestion for change. But as long as there is a specific close-reason for unsupported systems, people will keep using it. – Jenny D Nov 16 '15 at 10:42
  • @JennyD thank you for your input, where is the clause that this forum is not about unsupported systems? I can only find a clause about unauthorized (i.e. illegal) which makes perfect sense. – sivann Nov 16 '15 at 10:51
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You can make this work with some effort. Normally, I'd be all like, "Use HP drives", but the fact that you're using a G7 ProLiant means that many of the firmware restrictions don't apply from either side.

Gen8 ProLiant servers are a totally different story.

So, in this case, it's just a formatting issue. The AX4 disks are formatted in 520-byte sectors, versus the 512-byte sectors you'd get on normal PC or server-class drives.

You'll want to attach the drives to a SAS HBA (not the HP Smart Array controller), and if you have access to a Linux system or Live CD, the sg3_utils package contains the tools to do this properly. An example of the process is here.

sg_format –format –size=512 /dev/sdX 
# Where sdX is the drive identified in the output of sg_scan -i

Is this worth the effort?

  • HP G6/G7 SAS disks are cheap on the used market.
  • This process takes 10-20 minutes per drive, depending on the size. What's your time worth?
  • The EMC disks may be worth more to someone who needs EMC disks, as it's not possible to format normal drives for EMC use.
  • Plus they'd have to buy HP disk caddies too of course. – Chopper3 Nov 11 '15 at 13:01
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    Thank you for this info. We have a SAS HBA but I agree it may indeed not worth the effort. – sivann Nov 11 '15 at 14:22
  • I tested this today, and i am able to see the drives in my G8 servers. However, the command is a little different: sg_format --format --size=512 --six -f /dev/sg<ID> we have like 5 shelves with 24 900 GB drives in each, so we'd like to use them. – dotps1 Aug 4 '17 at 19:18
  • just thought i'd add, i found an sg_format.exe for windows, so i am actually formatting the entire shelf in tandem with powershell jobs: (1..25) | %{ Start-Job -ScriptBlock { C:\sg_format.exe --format --size=512 --six -v "PD$($args[0])" } -ArgumentList $_ } – dotps1 Aug 7 '17 at 13:25
  • Last comment, i swear, you can check the status of the jobs with .\sg_format PD1 -v the verbose output will tell you the current status of the formating. – dotps1 Aug 7 '17 at 14:26
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is there something we are missing or is this hopeless?

They're not supported, HP puts a specific firmware on their disks that provides a lot of additional diagnostic data over an off-the-shelf disk. This site is built for professional sysadmins, we like to build supportable solutions so I'd avoid trying to do what you're attempting.

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    And the reverse possibly also holds true: EMC loading custom firmware on the drives they ship, which may prevent them from being usable in other systems. – HBruijn Nov 11 '15 at 10:21
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    @sivann I don't care whether this server is for testing (which you didn't mention anyway) - this site is for people looking to build supportable systems, not hacks – Chopper3 Nov 11 '15 at 10:25
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    As far as I am concerned this question is also interesting to me, as solutions are sometimes not supported and sometimes you need to do workarounds. Although there seems to be no solution, the above answerers helped to understand this topic better. – Hartmut Nov 11 '15 at 10:40
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    Its a valid question, and i agree that its not always possible or desirable to work within the strictures of a support contract, especially in this case as nobody like paying for Lab environments – Dan Nov 11 '15 at 11:32
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    Oh, this can work, but may not be worth the effort as HP disks can be found readily on the used market at low prices. See my answer for the process to force these drives to work, though. – ewwhite Nov 11 '15 at 13:03
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Having worked with HP servers since G2 days I just thought I'd throw my two pence worth in.

I have done a lot of unusual things with HP servers for Dev and training purposes. A HP SAS crontroller (especially the P400-800 series) will work with any SAS or SATA disk type, it does not have to have any special HP firmware on. The array configuration tool will even let you config and monitor the disks too.

I have filled a G5 with OCZ solid state disks just to see how many VMs we could host in our training lab, I've also attached the MSA trays filled with disks off ebuyer to create a giant NAS for Backing up Dev environments and VM images.

This is not hacking, non of the HP firmware or code was changed, and as previously mentioned the controllers support these disks on stock HP firmware.

If someone has a load of old hardware they could make something useful out of then fair play, I found this as I now have a couple of trays of 2TB EMC disks that I was going to dispose of.

This would be unsupported by HP. This is not something that you would do with your live environment without accepting the significant risk (it may be ok for static data that you have a regular backup of, like a DML or Media server). It is also worth noting here that a second hand disk off eBay is probably worse than a new disk that has been purchased and put in a HP caddy as you don't know the history of the disk.

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Unlikely to work, HP puts its own software onto the disks to keep people coming back to them for legit parts.

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    More specifically what Chopper3 said. – Dan Nov 11 '15 at 10:15

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