replacing 750gb drives with 2TB drives in Promise Vtrak

bartbroek's picture

I'm thinking of buying a second hand Promise Vtrak E and J class unit ( apple part TQ8110LL/A and TQ812LL/A) for use in a xsan environment as replacement for my xraids. I think the Promise modelnumber is J or E 610s.

I was wondering if it is possible to upgrade the drives from 750 GB to 2TB and which drive models are compatible with these units. Promise told me there is no updated replacement list for mac units after firmeware 2.5.

Has anyone a good suggestion for a replacement drive model?

Thanks in advance,


Sam Edwards's picture

There are a bunch of drives listed for the latest firmware here:


Operate a small xSan in a road case.

arls1481's picture

I've been replacing old 750GB disks that PDM marks as failed in my e610's with off-the-rack 1TB WD Caviar Blacks that we've got laying around the shop for a while now. Have yet to have an issue. I do a full single pass block erase on them before I add them to a LUN and they seem to work just fine.
I'd wager that the sub-system wouldn't bat an eyelash using 2TB or even 3TB drives if you stuffed em in there.

mikeg23's picture


Has anybody put a 3TB or even a 4TB drive in a promise e series?

Sam Edwards's picture

Hey Mike,
If you look on page 6-9 of the PDF above you can see that promise has tested and certified several 3Tb drives for use with the latest firmware for the E-class chassis.

Operate a small xSan in a road case.

Johnny_0_o's picture

This looks like a nice upgrade and should work for the x10 series but would it work too for the x30?
I am wondering if I could do something similar to this thread and replace 2 drives with SSD's for a raid1 metadata LUN.

What do you guys think, that would free up 2 drives as cold spares and could possibly improve the performance of the Xsan for relatively cheap.

mikeg23's picture


Sorry, should have been more specific, need SATA rather than SAS, they have cleared a single 3TB SAS drive but max out at 2TB SATA drives.

Having done the maths I'm planning to go with a 2TB drive upgrade since they are down to around £160 each a big upgrade to around 200TB is within our budget.

Dont feel like chancing drives which they haven't certified, other areas yes but much too big a risk if it went wrong.

We upgraded two of our eight Vtrak's last year from the original 750Gb's to 1.5Gb's (biggest certified drive at the time) and it worked a treat.

Thanks for response

xsanguy's picture

Unfortunately just confirmed that SATA 3TB (Seagate) and SATA 4TB (hitachi) don't work (well they work, but come up as 2TB.) in the E-class.

Supposedly both the Hitatchi HUS723030ALS640 3TB SAS and the Seagate Constellation ES2 3TB Seagate is certified. No idea why it's essentially identical brother (the 3TB Barracuda with SATA board) is not being recognized as a full 3TB.

There's a 2.2TB barrier with some SATA gear, but if the SAS drives can break it, shouldn't everything?

  • bump* for other real world experiences.
Johnny_0_o's picture

Wouldn't that be the GPT partition table instead of the MBR that causes this issue? It is the case with windows osx and linux so it is probably the same thing with the controler that was not originally made to support anything but the traditional master boot record. I am wondering if they could come up with a firmware fix of some sort.

maxscience's picture

johnny are you sure? The partitions of my promise E-610 are GUID not MBR.... When those units came out there were already Intel Macs and Xserves so the GUID partition table was the preferred choice.

What do you guys recommend as the best 2TB SATA drive for the Apple version of the E-610 Promise unit?

xsanguy's picture

Strangely, the absolute best 2TB drive may be a 3TB drive. Seagate 3TB barracudas seem to be quite reliable, and very very fast. Only 2TB will be recognized, but it will be the fastest part of the drive, out-performing any other 2TB drive made.

maxscience's picture

The barracuda is a desktop class dive... Shouldn't it be wiser to use Enterprise drives? I was thinking about the Seagate Constellation ES.3 2 TB with 128MB cache. ST2000NM0033
It has a reported failure rate way lower than other Seagate drives.

Any experience on the drive and SATA 3 drives in general with the Apple-branded Vtrak E610?

xsanguy's picture

The 3TB barracudas, consumer drives though they may be, have less than a 1% annual failure rate in my real-world experience (I have over 5000 of these drives in production) Their warranty isn't as good (3 vs 5 years) and of course you lose the dual-porting (so need AAMUX adapters) *** and you can only use 2TB of the drive***. They're a calculated risk. If you need certification, or more than 2TB/disk, go SAS.

They'll actually get faster than the ES3 2TB SAS drives as they fill up, since you'll be using the outer cylinders only.

I've had a few (14) running in one of my E610s now for 3 months. I like 'em for what they are, but there's a hard limit of 2TB for SATA drives in the E610.

I've also been using Intel SSDs on the E610 for a long time now with great results. (they're on the approved list.)

avguidry's picture

Has anyone tried to upgrade the firmware on the Apple VTRAK e610 to the Promise firmware VTRAK e610? Can it even be done?

dorkbert's picture

avguidry wrote:
Has anyone tried to upgrade the firmware on the Apple VTRAK e610 to the Promise firmware VTRAK e610? Can it even be done?/quoteNo. FW checks for compatibility and will not allow you to FLASH channel code to Apple boxes and vice versa. If you do manage to get it to FLASH, the code will boot into maintenance mode.
Sam Edwards's picture

I just bought an empty, used non-Apple E610FD chassis on Ebay for $300 so that I can swap out the controllers. You can upgrade to just about any drive you want with the lastest firmware. I'm thinking of Costelation ES3 SAS drives. 

I probably won't have time to mess with it until April, when my current project ends. 

Operate a small xSan in a road case.