All disks are not equal, especially cheap consumer disks without temperature sensors (a.k.a HP DL380 G7 fan speeds running like a 747 on take off)

I’ve recently been enjoying the freedom of a homelab, creating VMs on VMware ESXi and installing all-the-things. I’ve had my HP Proliant DL380 G7 for a couple of weeks now and already accumulated a number of VMs for investigating a collection of things:

Prior to my DL380 arriving, I was pondering what type of disks to put in, and in particular whether I used go with cheap consumer laptop hard disks, more expensive (e.g. WD Red NAS disks), or named-brand HP disks. I went with a pair of HGST 500GB disks to start with, and ran into an issue with the cooling fans spinning up like a 747 taking off.  Googling for “dl380 disk fans” turns up many related posts, and it turns out that some non-HP drives in Proliant servers may not report their internal temperature correctly, resulting in the server thinking the drives are overheating, and cranking up the fans to compensate.

Here’s a couple of screenshots (from the iLO – Integrated Lights Out) showing the fans ramping up to near unbearable noise levels over about 5 minutes:

  • iLO reporting the drives overheating:

  • Only after a couple of mins, but still running faster than probably should be at idle:

  • Starting to ramp up:
  • Getting unbearable now:

If I’d spent some more time reading aound I would have found this excellent article detailing this issue, and more specifically drives known to work in the DL380 and drives known to have this issue. Turns out, most of the WD disks do work, so I replaced the HGST drives with 2 WD Black 750GB drives. Now the server at idle runs with the fans between 10-13% and is actually no louder than a regular desktop.

Back to creating some more VMs 🙂

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