From time to time, a customer will need guidance about which type of HP hotplug SAS drive is appropriate for their server or storage unit. There are several ways to determine the correct drive type and we’ll take you through this logic below.
NOTE: All the information in this post is appropriate for HP SATA hotplug drives as well as the SAS drives.
The first thing to check is the physical drive size that your machine is set up to use.
#1 – Does my machine use 2.5 inch SFF or 3.5 inch LFF drives?
First, let’s clarify that LFF stands for large form factor and SFF stands for small form factor.
Physically measure a drive that is currently in your server
The measurements of 2.5″ and 3.5″ refer to the diameter of the round disk inside the drive (not including the housing). Since we can’t (shouldn’t!) open up a hard drive to measure the diameter of this disk, we will measure the width of the physical drive (housing). Make sure to just measure the width of the bare drive, and to not include the hotplug tray.
Here are the dimensions of the different form factors, along with an illustration, showing an example of a large form factor (3.5 inch) hard drive.
2.75″ W x 0.59″ H x 3.945″ D
(69.85 mm × 15 mm × 100 mm)
4.0″ W x 1.0″ H x 5.75″ D
(101.6 mm × 25.4 mm × 146 mm)
How else can I determine the correct size for my machine?
If you don’t have a ruler handy, don’t worry, there is another way to check on which size is appropriate for your HP server or storage array.
In the example illustration above, the 2 TB hard drive shows a spare number of 508010-001. Find the spare number of one of the drives currently in your server, then search our site for that spare number and check the product title and/or description to see if the drive is 2.5″ SFF or 3.5″ LFF. In our example, the hard drive with spare number 508010-001 is a 3.5″ LFF drive.
#2 – Does my machine use SmartDrives?
In 2012, HP developed an advanced hotplug hard drive carrier that is the new standard for its hotplug SAS (and SATA) drives, beginning with the Gen8 model Proliant servers.
Match the drive carrier visually
The easiest way to determine whether your server requires these new SmartDrive model drives, or the ‘legacy’ style drives, is to just visually match up a drive that is currently in your server with the picture below.
What if my server or storage array doesn’t have any drives installed to match up with?
Great question, many of our customers buy servers or storage units “barebones” and come to Global One Technology to populate their machine with drives and memory.
An alternative way to figure out if you need the new SmartDrives is by the model/generation of the Proliant server you use. If your server is an 8th generation (Gen8) or newer model, you will need to use the SmartDrive SAS drives. If you are unsure of the generation of your server, you can use the HP PartSurfer search to look your machine up by part/model number, or serial number.
#3 – Great! Now I know which type I need, how do I purchase?
You can use the links below to shop for HP SAS drives. In each category, in the left column, you can filter the drives by capacity, performance level, speed, and other attributes to narrow down your selections.
Here at Global One, our main purpose is to provide drives, memory, and other server parts to help customers upgrade the capacity and performance of their current servers, but we always have an eye toward the future of technology, specifically in the storage industry.
It seems that technology advances happen fairly incrementally, but once in awhile there will be a breakthrough that has “game-changing” potential.
Today, Intel and Micron announced at a press conference a new chip technology that they claim will be 1000x faster than the current standard NAND flash memory.
Highlights from the press release:
Intel and Micron begin production on new class of non-volatile memory, creating the first new memory category in more than 25 years.
New 3D XPoint™ technology brings non-volatile memory speeds up to 1,000 times faster1 than NAND, the most popular non-volatile memory in the marketplace today.
The companies invented unique material compounds and a cross point architecture for a memory technology that is 10 times denser than conventional memory2.
New technology makes new innovations possible in applications ranging from machine learning to real-time tracking of diseases and immersive 8K gaming.
We’ve recently had some customers inquire about HP’s new 512e drives (sometimes called 4K Sector drives) and decided to create a blog post to answer some common questions.
What does “512e” stand for?
512 = 512 bytes
e = emulation
Okay great, but what does that mean?
The drives currently in production will conform to the new industry standard of 4,096-byte (4k or 4 KiB) sector size. This is eight times the previous standard of 512-byte sectors, which has been the standard size for over half a century. Bottom line here is – the new standard allows for a great deal more data to fit on the same-sized physical media. This is a huge development for the storage industry.
Why are these 512e drives so expensive?
Like any other major technological advancement, it’ll take some time for the market to settle on pricing for these 512e drives. In the meantime, early adopters will pay a bit of a premium until the supply (increased production as a result of increased demand) brings down cost of production per drive.
Are these drives compatible with my current (512-byte) server hardware and operating systems?
Absolutely! That is where the ‘e’ comes in. The drive manufacturers use emulation to produce backward-compatible drives that support all the current hardware and software. More information on this topic here.
What’s the bottom line?
As of now (2015), 99% of our customers are opting to use the legacy drives instead of being early adopters of the new 4K standard, due to the value difference ($ per GB) but anyone that is populating a Gen8 or newer server from scratch (or wants to upgrade ALL of their drives) should certainly consider moving to the new standard.