SUMMARY: basic hard drive questions

From: Ross Helfand (OMSD) (rhelfand@Census.GOV)
Date: Wed May 27 1998 - 12:50:43 CDT

Sorry about my first SUMMARY. I inadvertently sent it out html formatted.
Here it is in plain text:

Original Question:

> Managers,
> I have a few questions regarding hard drives. I'm going to be ordering
> spare drives for our servers and Storage Arrays, and I want to know
> whether it's best to order the drives from Sun or from another
> manufacturer.
> I understand that performance and capacity will vary - I'm not looking
> for that type of information. Not too long ago we ordered Seagate SCSI
> drives to replace some bad drives in one of our SSAs. Well, it had the
> wrong type of connector on it, and was useless to us. Then we found we
> could order Seagate drives with the Sun type of connector (I have no
> idea what the technical term for this is!). If we order Seagate (or any
> other manufacturers) drives, do we lose anything that Sun would have
> provided? Partitioning? Format? Firmware revisions? format.dat
> entries? This is the type of information I'm looking for.
> Please be patient with me - I'm still a beginner!
> Thanks!
> Ross Helfand
> Census Bureau


Thanks very much to the following people:
Charles Roten <>
"Scott F. Woods" <>
"Coffindaffer, Virginia" <>
Jeff Wasilko <>
Sean Ward <>
Janet Hoo <Janet.Hoo@Ebay.Sun.COM>
Phillips Nguyen <>
Loring Safford <>
"O'Neal,Chris" <>
"Marco Greene" <>
Seth Rothenberg <>
Tim Carlson <>
Steve Lund <>
Rich Kulawiec <>
Jon Wallace <>
"Rose, Robert" <>
"Peter L. Wargo" <>
Phillips Nguyen <>

I received a lot of replies, and a lot of great information. First of
all, the drives I want have an "SCA-80" type of connector. SCA stands for
Single Connector Assembly, which means that power and data are built into
a single, 80 pin connector.

Quite a few people said they have been using 3rd party drives for years
without any problems. Partitioning is controlled by the administrator in
the format utility, so that really isn't an issue. The format.dat entries
are readily available, and in fact the Sun-Manager's FAQ contains the
location of a supplemental format.dat file that is maintained by John
DiMarco and contains just about every hard drive known to man. Mounting
brackets are an issue, but can be purchased separately or exchanged from
the drive I'm replacing.

Many of the people suggested that we use Sun drives, especially if we have
a Sun support contract (which we do). People mentioned that Sun reps
would tell them to replace a non-Sun component, even if it obviously had
nothing to do with the problem.

I'm still a little confused on the firmware/PROM issue. A few people
mentioned that Sun made changes to the PROM of their hard drives, and if I
bought non-Sun drives, I would lose the ability to upgrade firmware. I'd
be interested on hearing more about this, if anyone has further

We'll probably stick with the Sun drives, just to minimize headaches with
support, but I really appreciate everyone's responses. I feel like I have
a much better grasp on the subject.

Thanks again!
Ross Helfand
Census Bureau

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Fri Sep 28 2001 - 23:12:40 CDT