Third Party Hard Drive for HP Proliant DL185 G5

This document applies directly to the Hewlett Packard Proliant DL185 G5 server.  I have tested this with the twelve front bay configuration and will test shortly with the rear-facing drive configuration as well.  [Edit – Tested with fourteen drive configuration and it checked out just fine.]

When buying a hot-swap SAS or SATA 3.5″ hard drive for use in your new HP Proliant DL185 G5 you can acquire them directly from HP with the drive carrier (or sled, caddy) already attached.  This is the easiest method.  If you are like me and prefer to select your own drives from third party makers (in my case, I want to use low power, high capacity Seagate Barracuda LP drives) then you must purchase your hot swap drive sleds separately.  Finding the correct part number from HP can be quite a hassle.  Even calling them for support can be tricky as almost no one buys this part directly.

If you wish to get your drive trays separately and not through HP you may be in tough shape.  HP does not stock this part and, in fact, is unable to even look up this part number for you.  I spent some time working with HP in the US on this issue and they were able to provide a visual confirmation on the part for me but could not verify the quality or the usability of the third party drives that I was able to find.  So I was stuck taking a risk to see if these drives would work.  For some machines HP can provide a part number and sometimes can even sell the caddy themselves, but not in the case of the 185 G5.  I have taken the time both with HP and with the third party vendors and with the server in-hand to verify these parts so you do not have to do so.

The part that you need to purchase is HP Part Number: 373211-001.  This part is generally priced around $35 USD.  You will need as many as fourteen of them to fully populate the DL185 G5 drive with the two optional large drive bays (twelve in front and two in back) but you can use them individually as well, or course.  I have had good luck and have gotten a good price getting these trays from Discount Technology: DL185 G5 Hot Swap Drive Tray.

Beware of shops attempting to sell you a much lower cost alternative to this part number.  Quite often the lower cost part is actually a drive blank.  A drive blank is simply a plastic air dam that corrects airflow through the server chassis when a drive is not present. Many of these drive blanks should ship with your DL185 G5 when it is new.  They are readily available and very inexpensive but, mostly, useless.

The big advantage of working with third party sleds and drives is that the DL185 G5 can be populated for thousands of dollars less and can house as much as 28TB of storage in a tiny 2U server.  This is possibly the second densest storage unit on the market when used with the Seagate Barracude LP 2TB drives – the densest is the Sun x4500 “Thumper” 4U storage server at many times the cost of the DL185.

Also, when ordering a DL185 G5 you should be aware that if you get the larger twelve hard drive front drive bay that you cannot also have a front loading optical drive and will need to get your optical drive rear facing.  If you get the optional dual hot swap rear facing drive option then you cannot have a rear facing optical drive.  If you choose both of these options you must use a USB-based optical drive in order to boot from optical media.  This is not always obvious when you are attempting to order one of these machines.

31 thoughts on “Third Party Hard Drive for HP Proliant DL185 G5”

  1. P400/512 is highly recommended when connecting all fourteen drives. You really need the extra power when you have that many spindles to control. And really, the extra cost is minimal when you split it up between all of those drives.

  2. Hi,

    What Seagate hard drive model are you using for your configuration? Will it support the seagate 1.5 tb barracuda 7200.99 hard drives?

  3. I am currently using 1.5TB Barracudas but am not sure if they are the 7200.99 model or not. I am sure that the 7200.99 will be fine.

  4. Hi,

    are you saying you had no trouble with the P400 controller and 1.5TB barracuda drives? Are you using array configuration utility for managing all this?

    I’m interested to put this controller in my workstation but have never seen how the smart arrays handle 3rd party hard drives…

  5. Smart Array are considered the best RAID controllers that money can buy. There is no limitation for third party drives, you can use any drive that you want. No reason for the remotest concern there. There is no benefit to using HP-branded drives from a controller perspective. You can mix and match all you want.

  6. THANKS A BUNCH! I just took delivery of a DL185 and it shipped with a bunch of blanks. WTF? I escalated through several levels of support claiming there is no such part. Sure, I’m going to pay HP $100 apiece for 8 160gb disks, when 2TB Hitachi disks run about $130. You, my friend, ROCK. Thanks for this post. This will be good ammunition when I call them and threaten to send this server back. And I’m serious. Every Supermicro server we’ve bought came with a full array of empty sleds, and every one of them are still operating to this day. I have no qualms of switching.

  7. I just got a DL360 G6 and used Seagate 2.5 drives. The drives work fantastic but the server is loud. The server reports the hard drivs are “overheating” while the drives are freezing to the touch. Because of this the server kicks up the fans. Can’t get any support from HP. Does anyone know a utility that can adjust the fan speed or to ignore the Hard drive temp?

  8. They used to only keep twenty or thirty in stock. Thanks to our efforts here and those on SpiceWorks, the “in stock” numbers are now in the hundreds! Thanks everyone for making this item popular so that we can all safely get it for our massive storage arrays.

  9. Thanks for this information. I am looking at this server and the HR drive choices were very expensive. This has saved about $2K.

  10. Hello, Mr. Scott,
    we plan to buy HP DL385 G6 server. Is the bracket with part number 373211-001 good for SAS/SATA drives for this server?

    Does anybody try to put cheap SSD disks to these brackets? Are they visible for controller?

    Thank you for information.

  11. The DL385 of any generation is completely different than the DL185. They use a different chassis with 2.5″ SFF drives rather than the LFF drives so that drive carriers will not work.

    SSD with work fine with these brackets. SSD appears as a SAS or SATA drive so no concerns with visibility to the controller. There is no special SSD controller.

  12. I found this page through Spiceworks. Thanks for the information.

    So what happens to SAM-SD when the DL185 G5 is no longer available? 🙂
    Will there be specs for a SAM-SD 2?

  13. Sadly, the DL185 has left the market and we are now stuck with the DL180 G6. Fortunately, the DL180 G6 still uses these drive trays, I am told. The Intel-based box is not quite as cost effective for this purpose but is nearly so. Fingers are crossed that a DL185 G7 is in the works. We were told that the G6 would be available in February but obviously that did not happen. A 12-core G7 unit would be amazing though.

  14. I am also looking for a work around for the issue of NON HP Hard Drives, in HP Prolian Servers causing the fans to switch into HIGH due to an intentional FAULTY reading on the hard drive temperature by not readin an HP hard drive.

    I can appreciate the ‘supposed’ reliability gained by the quality of the HP Hard Drives however I can NOT justify the price being nearly 3 times as much to get it.

    Please remember when you are building RAID solutions, the idea is to ALLOW for failure with an easy remedy.

    Anyone got a fix, workaround, patch for dealing with HP Management and Hard Drive monitoring, high fan speed?

    Thanks!

  15. I wonder if the drives can easily be plugged in and out (without using a screw)?

    I’d like to install 12 drives and be able to rotate the drives pretty much like tapes – do you think that would be possible?

  16. The drives are hot swap in their trays so they go in and out so there is no way to use screws. That’s just hot hot swap trays work.

    However, the trays are not designed to constantly go in and out. Nor is the chassis. It’s meant for occasional swaps, not regular use. I would not recommend using internal hot swap bays for that type of drive rotation. Look at a dedicated external drive bay that is designed specifically for that purpose and keep the internal drive bays for perm drives.

  17. Even though the included P400 or E200 Smart Array will work ok, you may wish to replace it with a newer model, such as the P410, which supports SATA2 speeds. The drives are out-pacing the controllers though (at least HP’s) – so you may have to settle for a SATA2 controller even if you have SATA3 6Gb capable drives.

  18. If you are buying new you’ll likely want to not get the old G5 but move to the DL180 G6 which has the P410 instead of the P400 anyway. If only the DL185 G7 was to be produced – now that would be one amazing machine.

  19. WARNING! If you have an old G5 model, or acquire one on the cheap from Ebay, be extremely careful with the BIOS updates on these boxes. HP’s update utility will happily flash over a very old BIOS with the latest version, and DESTROY THE MOTHERBOARD! No kidding – I just did it. (Along with several others on HP’s forums.) There are several BIOS updates for these boxes that update the Boot Block, and if you skip those updates – the ROMPAQ will NOT warn you. BTW, the BIOS is not removable, and there are no connectors for offline restoration, and these are cheap machines without backup ROM options – so the server will be permanently junk if you’re not careful. You will need to perform EVERY SINGLE BIOS update sequentially along with the BMC firmware as referenced in the BIOS revision notes to make sure you don’t end up with an expensive metal brick!

  20. Other potential pitfalls you may find using third-party drive trays and disks:

    1.) Those after-market drive trays can be of very questionable quality. Some of ours did not have all the retainer pins holding the front of the tray to the back securely “fastened” (melted) – meaning if you try to pull the handle to remove the drive from the cage, the handle & the rest of the face will break off. As long as you catch it up front, you can use a soldering iron to melt the pins. Please just remember to clean the iron’s tip afterward!

    Your mileage may vary depending on the drive itself. We have tried WD Caviar Black drives and Hitachi, and no matter what we do – some of the bays have flickering amber or blue LEDs. The array says the drives are fine, but we get all this phantom LED activity.

  21. If it makes you feel any better, I did it too 🙁 Let me know if you try that recovery place, their website does not lead to confidence for me. I’m more likely to just buy a replacement motherboard.

  22. I just realized that that recovery place is LOCAL TO OUR OFFICES!!!! I’m totally checking with them to see what they can do.

  23. Okay… Server Back in the rack and running….

    http://aqstech.com/aqslive/?p=1565

    Quoted Rate was $99 Plus Shipping…

    I chose to pull the board and send it alone full CPU / RAM and everything still onboard, just incase they had power to fire it up.

    They didn’t have the power to fire it up but they fixed it and its now running…

    installed a removable bios on the board… quickly from California to NY and back… ~ 2 weeks and ground shipping is all I used…

    Shipping ~$25 + $15 Charge for Fedex Pickup in western NY…

    Well worth the stress relief…

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