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New disks refresh old HP 3000s

SeagateBarracuda An upcoming feature for next month's print edition of the 3000 NewsWire will examine older HP 3000s still running today. (If you've got a '90s-vintage 3000 still running, I'd like to talk to you soon.) More than a few of the oldest of these systems are doing duty in software support labs. Whether a support or a production system, very 3000 needs ready replacements for disk drives, but the Series 9x7 3000s reach back to the middle 1990s. Disks running more than a decade are on borrowed time, so replacements need to be available.

The community has located a resource for 9x7 disk drives. The suppliers don't advertise these as HP 3000 disk drives. But the Seagate ST318416N is an 18GB drive you can purchase for about $200 online. The drives are listed as new, but they will slip into a 9x7 because the ST318416N is an accepted device on the IODFAULT list. (Paul Edwards tells us it's the IODFAULT.PUB.SYS list.)

We heard of one site that was buying a dozen of these drives as replacement parts to keep their 9x7s fitted with internal drives. But there's no reason you cannot skip past an internal drive and use external devices instead.

It bears a mention that buying 18GB for $200 is a lot more expensive than the 500GB drive you can purchase for $150 for your PC. But paying $50 extra for 482 GB less storage is still a bargain compared to replacing a server that isn't broken, but needs backup storage devices.

9x7 Seagate called these drives Barracudas. There's more of these fish in the sea in 2009 than we ever would have thought possible 15 years ago, when those 9x7s were new. We also had no idea back then that something called the Internet would make finding and buying these internal drives a simple matter of searching "Seagate ST318416N" in something called Google.

In what seems like another era, HP told customers that parts for HP 3000s would be costly and difficult to find, another reason to migrate. Hardware vendors such as Genisys or Bay Pointe Technology specialize in 3000 components and devices. And when a garden-variety disk vendor such as AllHDD can supply new internal devices that have passed HP's blessing -- because it's on the IOFDATA list -- keeping old 3000s useful seems cheaper and easier than HP imagined.