Apr 24, 2012

How to implement cheap LFF 3.5“ SATA storage on a HP ProLiant ML350 G6 with 2.5” SFF SAS


In a series of bad, hasty decisions, a HP ProLiant ML350 G6 server was bought for file server use at my place of work. The intention was to build a FreeNAS 8 server using cheap 3.5″ SATA drives.

Only the HP ProLiant ML350 G6 unit we got is equipped for 2.5 SAS drives. Smooth.

2.5″ SAS drives are very expensive and not roomy enough for a NAS. We can’t return the (over-specced) machine either so it’s currently serving as an expensive door stop.

Someone suggested that I buy a device like the “MicroStorage Multi raid box 5hdd SATA Hdd”, an ESATA drive enclosure and an ESATA controller for the server. Only this device is out of stock everywhere in Northern Europe and apparently no longer manufactured.

The ProLiant ML350 G6 does have five bays for optical drives and I could probably find some parts to make 3.5″ SATA hdds fit in there.

Any suggestions as to what I should do to get a functioning file FreeNAS server out of this?

EDIT: Our reseller bluntly claimed that the ML350 G6 SFF can’t be converted to support LFF drives when I explicitly asked about something I thought was a drive cage replacement spare part mentioned in a manual. This answer suggests otherwise.

Asked by nybergh


Get “cheap” 2.5″ SATA drives, they work in SAS enclosures. If you’re using a Pxxx series controller (the norm in HP servers) it might not work with just any drives, and is guaranteed to not run at optimum (HP uses custom firmware on their drives to get the most out of them). I really could not recommend one particular drive over another, though I’ve had good luck with Seagate and Western Digital drives and Pxxx SA Controllers.

If you’re willing to spend a bit more (usually worth it) you can even get HP 2.5″ SATA drives and they’ll run as intended with the Pxxx SA Controller; and be warrantied under the server’s warranty.

HP 2.5″ SATA Drives:

Answered by Chris S

Related posts:

  1. Maximum single SATA disk size in Proliant ML350 G6
  2. SATA drives in HP ProLiant server?
  3. Nearline SAS on SATA controllers
  4. SAS to SATA adapter?
  5. Can SAS drives be used with SATA controllers?

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