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Problem with 72GB Harddisk in Proliant 5500

Ayman Altounji
Valued Contributor

Problem with 72GB Harddisk in Proliant 5500

We had (terrible) problems after placing a 72 GB disk in a Compaq Proliant 5500 with a Smart Array 3200 controller.
After replacing a 36 GB disk for a 72 GB disk another 36 GB disk crashed which results in a crash of the total array-configuration !

According to Compaq Support (the Netherlands) the problem was caused by the fact that the 72 GB disks cannot operate at Ultra2 speed, in spite of that they should run at Ultra2 speed because the 36 GB disks are already operating at Ultra2-speed.
Although the Smart Array Controller 3200 is an Ultra3-controller, the drive-cage of the Proliant 5500 is only operating at Ultra2 speed. Therefore the disks in this server should only operate in Ultra2-mode.
The Compaq-website is NOT indicating that there are any problems with these disks in Ultra2 environment. Actually, the website describes: "Ultra3 hard drives are being offered in an improved hot plug drive carrier and can be used interchangeably in Compaq Ultra2 or Ultra3 capable systems" (http://www.compaq.com/products/servers/proliantstorage/drives-enclosures/hotplug-ultra3/index.html).
In the Hard Drive Compatability Table (ftp://ftp.compaq.com/pub/products/storageworks/drives/HotPlug.pdf) is only mentioned that the 72 GB disks requires an Ultra3 controller and/or cabling to run at Ultra3 speeds. This is also indicated for the 36 Gb disks, which we always used without any problems in this server (of course in Ultra-2 speed).
The information at the Compaq-site is misleading and the feeling to rely on this array configuration is strongly decreased.
Does anyone have a suggestion or additional information ?

Used configuration:
Compaq Proliant 5500
Smart Array Controller 3200
Hot Pluggable 72 GB 10K (partnr 232432-B22)
Hot Pluggable 36 GB 10K (partnr 176496-B22)

Regards,
Arjan van den Noort
2 REPLIES
Ayman Altounji
Valued Contributor

Re: Problem with 72GB Harddisk in Proliant 5500

The 3200 is not an Ultra3 controller. However, this should not make a difference since the 72GB drives can negotiate Ultra2 speeds.
Ayman Altounji
Valued Contributor

Re: Problem with 72GB Harddisk in Proliant 5500

I agree with you, you should be able to use the 72 GB drive behind an SA3200 controller, even though it has different bus speeds. Could you just be experiencing bad luck with another drive crashing as you were replacing a drive? Did you replace one member of RAID5-set? Was your intention to replace them one by one with 72 GB drives to eventually expand the size of the entire set?
I usually go for the safer approach of backing it all up, rebuildning with a new set and restoring.