HP Hot plug Ultra320 replacement

Posted on 2010-01-05
Last Modified: 2012-05-08
Has anyone ever tried to use a different brand of hard disk in an HP Ultra320 hot plug cradle? The only sizes available from HP are either 146 or 300... nothing higher. I tried putting in my own SCSI drives in the first generation of HP hot pluggable hard drive cradles and it kept on failing. I think they have special firmware to work with their RAID controllers in their hard disks. Does anyone have anyone experience doing this? Any shared knowledge will be greatly appreciated.

Question by:macian82
    LVL 12

    Expert Comment

    The hot plug cradle of HP is proprietary to HP, i.e. not an industry standard, so having alternatives from other vendors or manufacturers that might really work with it, is not nearly possible.

    This applies to other manufacturers as IBM, Dell, ... etc.

    I think you art stuck with HP, unless you choose to use an external scsi storage solution, or got some SAN/NAS solution.

    Author Comment

    I am using HP's cradle but changing the drive.  Has anyone tried this before?

    LVL 46

    Expert Comment

    There is nothing in the firmware that looks for certain make/model of disk drive.  (This assumes you are using a SMART Array controller) under Windows or LINUX.  

    Just be aware that if you just slap in any disk drive that the mode page settings may not be appropriate, so configurable parameters that control retry algorithms, write cache, and S.M.A.R.T. settings won't necessarily be optimal.

    Author Comment


    Have you tried such a setup and if so, did it perform well for you?  Know of anyway the parameters can be copied?


    LVL 46

    Accepted Solution

    I have numerous HP systems running everything from VMS to HP/UX, LINUX, Windows, 32 and 64 bits, even a few integrity systems with Itanium processors. All have U320 (LSI) and some Adaptec-based controllers.  (Well I have some SAS, FATA, and FC products as well, but your question is relating to U320 SCSI)

    Anyway yes, I have tried numerous configurations with HP and non-HP external storage as well.  Did it perform well?  Yes, but everything is relative as HP has numerous part numbers for the same physical device, depending on firmware revision, canister, and sometimes what O/S the product is going into.  They use different mode page settings.

    To copy the mode pages, you need something called a "Mode page editor".  You then query the device you have, and clone settings onto a replacement drive.  If you are using different make/model, then you have to know what to look for.  Mode pages 1, 8, and 1Ch are the important ones.  Look at something called smartmon-ux
    (it is ported to all major operating systems, but you must attach the disk(s) to a JBOD controller on the same or different host so it can talk directly to the disk drives)

    Here is a link to the part of the manual that clones mode pages, but it is rather cryptic if you are coming into this cold.   Basically the idea is to compare mode pages of  the HP disk with the target disk, see what is different and determine if it is important enough to care about.

    The second link actually dumps the decoded mode pages of a HP U320 SCSI disk:)


    Author Closing Comment

    Thanks for the wealth of information regarding this matter... for the small amount of disks that we need, I think we have to keep relying on HP until we upgrade to new servers with 2.5" disks.  I wanted to use larger off the shelf disks for green reasons rather than to save money on the hard drives.

    Thanks again...


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