How to Find and Install Compatible Disks for Your RD650 Lenovo Thinkserver

Question:

What are the options for upgrading the storage capacity of an RD650 Lenovo Thinkserver with 2TB disks or higher? The server and its officially supported disks are EOL since 2016, so I am not sure if there are any newer disks that are compatible with it. Any guidance would be appreciated. Thank you.

Answer:

How to Upgrade the Storage Capacity of an RD650 Lenovo Thinkserver

The RD650 Lenovo Thinkserver is a rack server that offers high performance, scalability, and reliability. It was launched in 2014 and reached its end-of-life (EOL) status in 2016, meaning that Lenovo no longer provides technical support, firmware updates, or spare parts for this model.

One of the challenges that users of this server may face is finding compatible disks to upgrade their storage capacity, especially if they are looking for disks with 2TB or higher. The RD650 Lenovo Thinkserver supports both 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch disks, with a maximum of 26 bays for the former and 74 bays for the latter. However, not all disks are compatible with this server, and the officially supported disks are mostly EOL as well.

In this article, we will explore some of the options for upgrading the storage capacity of an RD650 Lenovo Thinkserver with 2TB disks or higher, and provide some guidance on how to choose and install them.

The safest and easiest option for upgrading the storage capacity of an RD650 Lenovo Thinkserver is to use Lenovo qualified disks, which are tested and certified by Lenovo to work with this server. These disks are also covered by Lenovo’s warranty and support services, which can provide peace of mind in case of any issues.

However, the downside of this option is that the Lenovo qualified disks are limited in availability, variety, and capacity. According to the Lenovo ServerProven website, the largest capacity disk that is qualified for the RD650 Lenovo Thinkserver is a 3.5-inch 8TB SATA HDD, which has a part number of 4XB7A14054. This disk is still available for purchase from Lenovo’s online store, but it is quite expensive, costing around $1,000 AUD.

Other Lenovo qualified disks that have 2TB or higher capacity are mostly EOL or discontinued, such as the 3.5-inch 6TB SATA HDD (4XB7A14053), the 2.5-inch 4TB SAS HDD (4XB7A14052), and the 2.5-inch 2TB SAS HDD (4XB7A14051). These disks may be hard to find or have inflated prices from third-party sellers.

Therefore, using Lenovo qualified disks may not be the most cost-effective or feasible option for upgrading the storage capacity of an RD650 Lenovo Thinkserver, especially if you need more than 8TB of additional space.

Option 2: Use Third-Party Disks

Another option for upgrading the storage capacity of an RD650 Lenovo Thinkserver is to use third-party disks, which are disks from other manufacturers that are not officially qualified by Lenovo. These disks may offer more variety, availability, and capacity than the Lenovo qualified disks, and may also be cheaper.

However, the downside of this option is that the compatibility and reliability of these disks are not guaranteed by Lenovo, and may vary depending on the disk model, firmware, and vendor. Using third-party disks may also void the warranty or support contract of the server, and may cause issues with the server’s RAID controller, BIOS, or management software.

Therefore, using third-party disks requires more research, testing, and caution before purchasing and installing them. Some of the factors that you should consider when choosing third-party disks are:

  • The disk size: The RD650 Lenovo Thinkserver supports both 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch disks, but you need to make sure that the disk size matches the disk bay size of your server. For example, if you have a 3.5-inch disk bay, you cannot use a 2.5-inch disk, even with an adapter. Conversely, if you have a 2.5-inch disk bay, you can use a 3.5-inch disk with an adapter, but you will lose some of the disk bays due to the larger size of the disk.
  • The disk interface: The RD650 Lenovo Thinkserver supports both SATA and SAS disks, but you need to make sure that the disk interface matches the disk backplane interface of your server. For example, if you have a SATA backplane, you cannot use a SAS disk, even with a converter. Conversely, if you have a SAS backplane, you can use a SATA disk, but you will lose some of the performance and features of the SAS disk.
  • The disk capacity: The RD650 Lenovo Thinkserver supports disks with up to 8TB capacity, but you need to make sure that the disk capacity is compatible with the server’s RAID controller and BIOS. For example, some older RAID controllers or BIOS versions may not support disks larger than 2TB or 4TB, and may require firmware updates or configuration changes to recognize them. You should also check the maximum number of disks and the maximum total capacity that your server can support, and plan your upgrade accordingly.
  • The disk performance: The RD650 Lenovo Thinkserver supports disks with different speeds and cache sizes, but you need to make sure that the disk performance meets your needs and expectations. For example, if you need high-speed data transfer or low-latency access, you may want to use SSDs or 15K RPM HDDs, rather than 7.2K RPM HDDs. You should also consider the power consumption and heat generation of the disks, and how they affect the server’s cooling and power supply.
  • Some examples of third-party disks that have 2TB or higher capacity and may work with the RD650 Lenovo Thinkserver are:

  • Seagate Exos 7E8 8TB 3.5-inch SATA HDD (ST8000NM0055): This is a high-capacity, enterprise-grade HDD that offers 7200 RPM, 256 MB cache, and 6 Gb/s SATA interface. It costs around $300 AUD, which is much cheaper than the Lenovo qualified 8TB disk. However, it may not be compatible with some older RAID controllers or BIOS versions, and may require firmware updates or configuration changes to work with the server.
  • Western Digital Ultrastar DC HC510 10TB 3.5-inch SAS HDD (HUH721010AL5200): This is a high-capacity, enterprise-grade HDD that offers 7200 RPM, 256 MB cache, and 12 Gb/s SAS interface. It costs around $400 AUD, which is slightly more expensive than the Seagate disk, but offers more capacity and performance. However, it may not be compatible with some older RAID controllers or BIOS versions, and may require firmware updates or configuration changes to work with the server.
  • Samsung 870 QVO 4TB 2.5-inch SATA SSD (MZ-77Q4T0BW): This is a high-capacity, consumer-grade SSD that offers 560 MB/s read, 530 MB/s write, and 6 Gb/s SATA interface. It costs around $500 AUD, which is more expensive than the HDDs, but offers much faster speed and lower latency. However, it may not be compatible with some older RAID controllers or BIOS versions, and may require firmware updates or configuration changes to work with the server.
  • Option 3: Use External Storage Devices

    A third option for upgrading the storage capacity of an RD650 Lenovo Thinkserver is to use external storage devices, such as USB flash drives, external HDDs, or NAS devices. These devices can provide additional storage space without opening the server or replacing the internal disks. They can also be easily moved, shared, or replaced as needed.

    However, the downside of this option is that the external storage devices may have lower performance, reliability, and security than the internal disks. They may also consume more power, occupy more space, and require more cables and adapters. Using external storage devices may also affect the server’s backup and recovery processes, and may require additional software or configuration to work with the server.

    Therefore,

using external storage devices may not be the best option for upgrading the storage capacity of an RD650 Lenovo Thinkserver, especially if you need high-performance, high-reliability, or high-security storage. Some of the factors that you should consider when choosing external storage devices are:

  • – The device type: The RD650 Lenovo Thinkserver supports various types of external storage devices, such as USB flash drives, external HDDs, or NAS devices, but you need to make sure that the device type matches the server’s available ports and interfaces. For example, if you have a USB 3.0 port, you can use a USB 3.0 flash drive or HDD, but not a USB 2.0 device. Conversely, if you have a USB 2.0 port, you can use a USB 2.0 device, but you will lose some of the speed and features of the USB 3.0 device.
  • – The device capacity: The RD650 Lenovo Thinkserver supports external storage devices with various capacities, but you need to make sure that the device capacity is compatible with the server’s operating system and file system. For example, some older operating systems or file systems may not support devices larger than 2TB or 4TB, and may require updates or formatting to recognize them. You should also check the maximum number of devices and the maximum total capacity that your server can support, and plan your upgrade accordingly.
  • – The device performance: The RD650 Lenovo Thinkserver supports external storage devices with different speeds and features, but you need to make sure that the device performance meets your needs and expectations. For example, if you need high-speed data transfer or low-latency access, you may want to use SSD
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