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DL380 G7: possible to exchange SFF cage for LFF cage?

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AnVal
Occasional Advisor

DL380 G7: possible to exchange SFF cage for LFF cage?

Hello,

 

one of our customers owns a DL380 G7 with a 8-SFF drive cage. He now wants to switch to an LFF cage, but there doesn't seem to be any documentation available whether this is possible or not (and if it is, which parts would be required).

 

The maintenance guide for this server implies that it *should* be possible, but there's no definite information on it.

 

Has anyone tried this or can anyone tell where to look or ask for information?

8 REPLIES
waaronb
Respected Contributor

Re: DL380 G7: possible to exchange SFF cage for LFF cage?

It could be possible... if you head over to the HP partsurfer site you can see that they list spare part #'s for the LFF drive cage (496075-001) but you might also be replacing the SFF backplane with a LFF backplane (496079-001).  I have no idea if the LFF cage includes a LFF backplane, and that part # is just there if that's the only bit you need to replace.

 

I won't say for sure, but those 2 things *might* let you swap out the built-in SFF cage with LFF.  I don't know if all the cabling will still work okay or not.

 

Check out the instructions for swapping out the drive cage for the DL380 G7 and it might help you visualize whether it seems possible or not if you were able to purchase that LFF cage.  It looks like the LFF cage is different than the built-in SFF cage and the option of installing the additional 8-bay SFF cage.  The LFF goes all the way across and replaces the optical drive bay and stuff like that.

 

The drive cages are typically CTO choices... for whatever reason HP doesn't really seem to support or encourage swapping drive cages on existing servers.  They'll tell you to return it and buy one with the desired cage, like they apparently do with the DL380 Gen8 and the 16/25 SFF or LFF options.

 

 

waaronb
Respected Contributor

Re: DL380 G7: possible to exchange SFF cage for LFF cage?

By the way, the easier and supported option would be for the customer to simply add the optional 8-SFF cage.

 

I did that with all my G7's along with the SAS expander and it works great.  Unless that customer has a bunch of LFF drives lying around that they want to use, adding 8 more SAS drive bays should be a nice affordable (and supported) solution.

AnVal
Occasional Advisor

Re: DL380 G7: possible to exchange SFF cage for LFF cage?

Hi there,

 

thanks for your reply!

 

I had a chance to look at the 8-SFF Model and it seems like a vertikal divider riveted to the chassis is preventing a simple exchange of the drive cages. It looks like we will have to switch the entire front panel cage assembly. (Looking at the partsurfer list of parts this will prove to be difficult, as only the drive cage itself is listed as a part.)

 

Yes, the customer has LFF drives "lying around", namely 4TB drives he wants resp. needs to use, and the similar capacity in SFF drives can only be achieved with a 25 SFF cage, which I assume would be much more costly and also require the changing of the front panel cage assembly.

Just returning the server and exchanging it for another model isn't an option, either, since their internal policies prohibit any intact hardware leaving the premises.

waaronb
Respected Contributor
Solution

Re: DL380 G7: possible to exchange SFF cage for LFF cage?

Get an external storage unit paired with something like a P411 or P421 controller. I'm thinking of the D2000 models like the D2600 (12 x LFF).
http://h20195.www2.hp.com/v2/GetDocument.aspx?docname=c04266517&doctype=quickspecs&doclang=EN_US&searchquery=&cc=us&lc=en

I know it's not as nice and compact as having it in the server itself, but if swapping out with the LFF cage isn't an option, there's always external storage.

All HP says is this, so anything you might try to do to upgrade the cage, you'd be on your own:
"NOTE: The 8LFF, 12LFF, and 25SFF drive cage versions are not field upgradeable options from the 8SFF model. "

You could always call HP and just get their sense of if there's any way to do it, even if it meant paying for the new stuff and for a field visit from HP support to have them install it.
AnVal
Occasional Advisor

Re: DL380 G7: possible to exchange SFF cage for LFF cage?

Thank you, waaronb!

 


I will suggest the D2600 to the customer. It will be a bit more expensive, but hopefully the prospect of losing support for the machine will make him see reason.

 

Meanwhile, HP support has finally answered my question, after they initially refused because it was not a supported field upgrade (as you also pointed out). For documentation and future reference for anyone who digs up this thread with a similar problem, I will post HP's reply:

 

"Not possible. The SFF and LFF CTO models do however, share the same base chassis:

 

Component P/N:591190-001 ASSY, CHASSIS, DL380G7, SUP MID

 

But the difference (apart from the drive cage, backplane and blanks) is the rail kit and rail kit mounting positions.

 

Depending on the model (SFF/LFF), the rail kit fixings are positioned differently to avoid interference with the drives.  To attempt a change of drive form factor will void any warranty and would be entirely at the customers own risk.

In addition, the server is registered as an SFF model. This information is critical when diagnosing issues with HP support."

 
 

We will go with trying to convince the customer to choose a supported option.

AnVal
Occasional Advisor

Re: DL380 G7: possible to exchange SFF cage for LFF cage?

For future reference I'd like to add to this topic that in the end we successfully transformed the server from an SFF to LFF cage with the following orderable spare parts:

 

- LFF Drive Cage (496075-001)
- LFF Backplane (602510-001)
- LFF Rail Kit (574898-001)
- Cabel Kit (630309-001, 496070-001, 498426-001)

 

 

The server is running smoothly and without problems.

 

 

However, HP confirmed that this is not a supported procedure and that all parts related to this transformation are excluded from any support contracts this server may be under.

CharlieK_EU
Frequent Visitor

Re: DL380 G7: possible to exchange SFF cage for LFF cage?

Why did you need so much cables ??? Can you describe what cables they were ?

I find this convertion interesting but I'm just wondering if results are worth of costs. You reach only 6 LFF drives after converion, loosing possibility to have aprox. 16 SFF 2.5" drives... Maybe it is better just buy additional external 3.5" disk shelf ?

AnVal
Occasional Advisor

Re: DL380 G7: possible to exchange SFF cage for LFF cage?

Hello,

as I personally have not been present when the conversion was done, I cannot say if all ordered cables were used. Most likely not, as these sets usually contain a choice of cables to cover several different server configurations. Since the conversion changed the chassis length and the backplanes needed to be exchanged and may have connectors in different locations, some of the already present cables maybe needed to be replaced, too.

As for why we chose this option:

We presented the customer with the option of additional cages for SFF HDDs and external JBODs. But they needed high capacity drives (4TB) and a number of those drives were already on site, so to meet their capacity goal, the conversion was the overall cheapest option to meet the customer's requirements. (Largest SFF HDD available was 1.2TB 10k or 1TB 7.2k) Obviously continued coverage by HPE warranty was not needed.