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Seagate Cheetah Hard drive sizes

Posted on 2009-05-10
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I am running a Dell server with RAID 1 (mirror) configuration which has three logical drives set up ( 6 hard drives in all )
One of the HDDs failed so I needed to swap it out. All the hard drives are Seagate Cheetah 36.7GB. Luckily I had a Seagate Cheetah 36.7GB HDD and swapped out the failing drive, but when I attempted to rebuild it within the Perc 3D RAID controller console it informed me that it couldn't use it as the new drive was too small !
Further details viewed through the console revealed that all 6 original drives were 34,938 MB and the new drive was 34,678 MB !
The original drives are ST336754LC models and the new drive was a ST336753LC.
As they are both described by Seagate as 36.7 GB HDDs I called their technical support for advice. - unfortunately the guy was completely useless but the upshot was that I had to use the exact same model.
Thus I purchased a new Seagate Cheetah 36.7 GB drive same model type ST336754LC and guess what it shows up in the Perc 3D RAID controller as too small and displays the exact same size as the original 3LC spare we had which is 34,678 MB !! - which is exactly 260 MB less in each case ??
Any ideas anyone on what's going on ?
Thanks in advance.
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Question by:ensite31
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15 Comments
 
LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 24347565
I would suggest you purchase another larger drive - any size greater than or equal to the sizes you used should be fine.
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Author Comment

by:ensite31
ID: 24347673
Hi leew - thanks for the feedback - we did consider buying a 70GB SCSI just to get round the problem but would much rather maintain same drive type throughout the system and cant understand why exact same model type isn't compatible !
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althakar earned 1000 total points
ID: 24347789
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Author Comment

by:ensite31
ID: 24347871
Hi althakar - I'll try that tomorrow when I get back to the office - 'tho I would think these HDD's would ship from Seagate in a virgin state - thanks also for the link to the tool
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LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 24349269
There is no reason to maintain the same drive type throughout the server.
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Author Comment

by:ensite31
ID: 24349446
Hi Leew - we may end up doing just that if we cannot find the answer to this irritating problem - there is one big reason to use this same drive tho' - we just spent £130 ($200) on a new drive so getting an answer & being able to use this drive is important - I've logged a "support case" with Seagate so I'll post what they come back with - meantime if you have any ideas please post them - appreciate your input - thanks
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LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 24350087
Drives DO vary in size.  It's a simple fact.  You have a different model drive - so it's quite probable that the geometry of the new drive IS smaller.
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Author Comment

by:ensite31
ID: 24350118
Hey Leew - sorry - maybe the way I described the problem - ALL drives are same model type - The original drives are ST336754LC models and the new drive as recommended by Seagate "technical specialist " was also a ST336754LC - I would have thought it would be identical ??
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LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 24350163
You stated in the question:
The original drives are ST336754LC models and the new drive was a ST336753LC.

Those are different.  The tech person could have been wrong if they are not the same exact model.

Otherwise, I would do as suggested and try a low-level format.
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Author Comment

by:ensite31
ID: 24350193
Leew - the drive we had as a spare (which was new) was a ST336753LC - when I talked to the Seagate "expert" (for want of a better word) he said - "you have to have exact same model" - so bought a new ST336754LC and it still shows the same issue - !! - hence the post
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LVL 56

Assisted Solution

by:andyalder
andyalder earned 1000 total points
ID: 24353726
It's not uncommon for the same model drive to be different size, the manufacturer comes out with new firmware and a different sparing algorithm and a few hundred spare sectors get added to the spare pool and you loose that amount of usable space.

You may be able to set the drive size to the correct value using seatools, the SCSI command set allows you to re-size disks both by the size they report and by the amount of space they physically have. You may be able to do this through the low level format tool that althakar posted but I'd rather do it through seatools under the instructions of the manufacturer since it's their parameter change that's caused you the problem. They probably shrunk the usable size to avoid using the very innermost track but should be able to grow it to allow that track to be used if needed.
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Author Comment

by:ensite31
ID: 24353820
Thanks andyalder that makes good sense, appreciate your time to post, I got a reply from Seagate support and they have basically said same - their response posted below - I'll let you know how I get on. I really didn't think replacing a drive would be this difficult !

Thank you for contacting Seagate.  I have provided a link below to our SeaTools utility which will allow you to set the Max Capacity of the drive.  I would try that first and then what I would recommend is contacting your computer manufacture for any possible updates for your system.  Also the SCSI RAID controller might have updates available.  Let me know if this helps.  

I am showing that the Serial number you identified was sold as a system component. Please contact your place of purchase for further service. Seagate sells many drives to direct OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) customers. These products are usually configured for the OEMs only, as components for their systems. You must contact your place of purchase for any warranty or firmware support on this drive.

http://download.seagate.com/seatools/registration.nsf/eula/desktop
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LVL 56

Expert Comment

by:andyalder
ID: 24354100
OEM makes a lot of sense, HP for example set the size on all their disks to be the same size irrespective of who they source them from. This gives them compatibility for spares. They obviously can't set them bigger than max size so they set them a little bit smaller. (they also put their own firmware on them but that's a different matter).

I'd like to see if the original disk (or the running one in the server) is also OEM'd to the same manufacturer this one is OEM'd to.
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:Hoard
ID: 24486789
As much as I wish I had another answer; I would have to agree with ensite31. I think you're only option is to get something bigger.
As he stated previously; on any of the Dell PERC3/4/5/6 raid controllers as long as a replacement drive is the same size or larger and the same speed or greater it will work great.
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