Which HP Enterprise SAS Hard Drive do I need?

Posted by HPE Storage Specialist on Aug 18, 2015

From time to time, a customer will need guidance about which type of HP Enterprise 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 Enterprise 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, HPE 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 HPE 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 HPE 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.

SAS Legacy-style drives (G7 and older servers)
- SAS 2.5" SFF Hot Plug Hard Drives
- SAS 3.5" LFF Hot Plug Hard Drives

SAS SmartDrives (Gen8 and newer servers)
- SAS 2.5" SFF Hot Plug SmartDrive Hard Drives
- SAS 3.5" LFF Hot Plug SmartDrive Hard Drives

As always, feel free to contact us if you have any questions!