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Does anyone use Samsung PM863a SSDs in HP DL360 G8 & G9s - specifically in a Windows Server 2016 Storage Space Direct mirrored implementation ? What is your experience of this ?

Having seen other posts about Proliants and 3rd party SSDs on these forums, I am aware of the dangers\limitations of using non-HP disks with Proliants, and the difficulties of getting the right caddies for 3rd party disks, so I'm not interested in any further warnings about these aspects, thanks. Most of these appear to be about using Consumer grade SSDs (e.g. Pro or EVo) as opposed to Enterprise grade (as the PM863a's are) and I should add I have been using Intel 3500 SSDs as mirrored OS disks for the G9 for the past 3 years without caddies and without any issue (except for the loss of monitoring and the constant warning about 'incompatible' disks).

I am stuck with the Proliants, possibly for another year or two, however our Software based SAN hardware is very ripe for replacement, so I would like to move to a hyper-converged solution with Storage Services Direct and using local SSD storage on these Clustered Virtual Hosts. I don't want to buy over-priced HP SSDs, not only because of the cost ( which I believe far outweigh any benefit of the better compatibility with HP servers), but I may want to re-use such SSDs in rolling replacement servers (which won't be HP) in the next year or so.

Am I being unrealistic here ? Ideally I would like to buy new servers too, but don't have the budget for that. Is it more trouble than it is worth ?

IS there a way to utilise the likes of M.2 PM/SM961's into a proliant - like a PCIe adapter card that would take 2 or three of them ?

  • How much usable flash space are you looking for? The reason I ask is because a) I tend not to buy SATA/SAS SSD these days, it's a bit 'old hat' and b) as you know HPE kit hates non-HPE disks. If you only need a few TB or less of space I'd be tempted to just buy NMVe PCIe cards, that way you're getting far better performance and getting around the HPE-lock-in issue - personally I've bought and used Intel P3608's everywhere (even in my home gaming PC!) and swear by them. – Chopper3 Aug 7 '17 at 15:51
  • 5 TB usuable is what I am after. Yeah, I know SATA SSD is getting a bit old hat and Read\Write & IOPS are far better with PCIe NVMe, but it is all about cost and I think I can do SATA SSD cheaper than PCIe NVMe with S2D: I have limited funds at the moment. The other thing with PCIe NMVe is that S2D requires a minimum of 4 NMVe 'drives' - and there are limited slots in the DL360s: withteh G8 only 2 and I need one of them 10GBe NICs ! I may have to bite the bullet and see if I can buy a new server or two - maybe I can re-use the 128GB & 144GB RAM from the HPs in new non-HP kit. – Steve Aug 8 '17 at 6:52
  • I get you points, you can run those SSDs in a HPE server, you just get odd errors/alarms - it'll work - it's really only their disk controller that complains - perhaps you could look into using a different controller, something like and adaptec or similar - obviously it'd have to connect to the disk backplane but that's not a HPE-proprietary connector - you would have to find the right disk caddies though obviously. – Chopper3 Aug 8 '17 at 8:17
  • The anti-HPE tone is a bit frustrating. Use Supermicro if you want to DIY. – ewwhite Aug 10 '17 at 15:10
  • Well I find HPE's increasingly restrictive practices quite frustrating too.. I have used HP\HPE Proliants for almost 17 years now, and watched them introduce mandatory warranty just to get updates and their ever increasing restrictions on the the type of hardware you can plug into successive generations of their Proliants over the years. So no more - I am certainly considering other makes ( DELL, supermicro) - at least they allow quality 3rd party components ( like HP used to - and which I have never had any issues with reliability or stability doing so) . – Steve Aug 11 '17 at 15:46
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Unfortunately, Storage Spaces Direct has hardware limitations which mean that even if you succeed with a workaround for this issue final configuration will not be supported anyway.

If Storage Spaces Direct is not mandatory you can use HPE's native hyper-converged solution https://www.hpe.com/emea_europe/en/storage/storevirtual.html that does basically the same but is more hardware-friendly or use a free alternative like Starwinds https://www.starwindsoftware.com/starwind-virtual-san-free.

  • 1
    Thanks,. Yes, I see Starwinds offer theirrs free. I also have the alternative to use Datacore ( which we currently use) for a hyper-converged solution – Steve Aug 11 '17 at 15:48
  • Datacore spins CPU cycles, it's OK-ish to use it to lower I/O latency on a dedicated hosts, but hyperconverged and Datacore don't mix. P.S. Same is true about any SPDK/DPDK based application. – BaronSamedi1958 Aug 13 '17 at 20:17
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The barrier to entry of using HP SSDs is much lower than it was before. Seriously, you should be using SAS SSDs with this type of equipment. Compatibility is going to be a function of getting compatible and authenticated carriers and good drives. I find that enterprise SAS disks tend to work without issue, while consumer SATA is really just unprofessional and runs the risk of problems:

But shame on you for not using carriers for the Intel drives!!

Otherwise, just test...

This is me testing Sandisk ECO Pro 2TB and Micro 3.84TB SAS SSDs in DL360p Gen8 HP hardware using proper carriers

   unassigned

      physicaldrive 2I:1:7
         Port: 2I
         Box: 1
         Bay: 7
         Status: OK
         Drive Type: Unassigned Drive
         Interface Type: Solid State SAS
         Size: 3840.7 GB
         Drive exposed to OS: False
         Native Block Size: 4096
         Firmware Revision: M014
         Serial Number: ZAT1056F0000822150Z3
         Model: MICRON  S630DC-3840
         Current Temperature (C): 32
         Maximum Temperature (C): 33
         SSD Smart Trip Wearout: Not Supported
         PHY Count: 2
         PHY Transfer Rate: 6.0Gbps, Unknown
         Drive Authentication Status: OK
         Carrier Application Version: 11
         Carrier Bootloader Version: 6
         Sanitize Erase Supported: True
         Unrestricted Sanitize Supported: True

      physicaldrive 2I:1:8
         Port: 2I
         Box: 1
         Bay: 8
         Status: OK
         Drive Type: Unassigned Drive
         Interface Type: Solid State SAS
         Size: 1920.3 GB
         Drive exposed to OS: False
         Native Block Size: 4096
         Firmware Revision: K0A0
         Serial Number: FG00FZKF
         Model: SmrtStorSDLLOC6R020T5CA1
         Current Temperature (C): 28
         Maximum Temperature (C): 48
         Usage remaining: 100.00%
         Power On Hours: 1117
         SSD Smart Trip Wearout: False
         PHY Count: 2
         PHY Transfer Rate: 6.0Gbps, Unknown
         Drive Authentication Status: OK
         Carrier Application Version: 11
         Carrier Bootloader Version: 6
         Sanitize Erase Supported: True
         Unrestricted Sanitize Supported: True

Note: I shouldn't say this, but I just encountered a customer's Gen9 server full of Samsung EVO 850 SSDs in HP drive carriers. It's shitty, but they seem to work without any problems.


I just think you're looking in the wrong places or maybe want to complain about a perceived inflexibility of HP products. There's a reason for the restrictions.

My supplier has these for $200 each. HP firmware Intel DC S3500. Supported, with proper carriers, warranty and not expensive.

enter image description here

  • I wouldn't put EVO or PROs in, but the PM or SM863s look good ! I couldn't get the 'smart' caddies when I bought the G9, but as it has worked fine for 2.5 years without them I just left it as it is.... – Steve Aug 11 '17 at 15:53
  • But you can get the Smart Carriers now. It's risky just having a couple of disks sitting insecurely in the server. – ewwhite Aug 12 '17 at 12:02

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