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Best practices for adding disks to an existing shelf or cluster

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This guide outlines the process of nondisruptively adding a disk drive to a powered-on NetApp disk shelf, even during I/O operations. It covers steps from disabling automatic drive assignment and grounding oneself, to inserting the drive and verifying its successful installation.

  • Health check, verify that all other components in the system are functioning properly. If not, contact technical support.
  • Compatibility, ensure the disk drive you are installing is supported by your specific disk shelf model. Refer to the NetApp Hardware Universe.
    • You cannot have exceeded the maximum number of drives supported by your HA pair after adding the disks.
  • Disk Qualification Package (DQP) should be the latest revision. This allows your system to recognize and utilize newly qualified disk drives. Download Disk Qualification Package.
    • DQP notifies you of noncurrent drive firmware.
  • Firmware, have the current versions of disk shelf (IOM) firmware and disk drive firmware on your system. Download Disk Drive Firmware and Download Disk Shelf Firmware .
  • Self-encrypting disk (SED), follow the instructions for adding an SED in the ONTAP documentation for your version of ONTAP. See NetApp encryption overview with the CLI.
  • Partially populated or empty shelves, be sure to physically add the disks by splitting the total and adding the disks equally from each side working inward. 


  1. Take steps to avoid electrostatic discharge (ESD): Keep the disk drive in the ESD bag until you are ready to install it.
  • Always wear an ESD wrist strap grounded to an unpainted surface on your storage enclosure chassis.
  1. Handle disk drives carefully: Always use two hands when installing or carrying a disk drive to support its weight.
  • Place disk drives on cushioned surfaces, and never stack disk drives on top of each other.
  • Be careful not to bump disk drives against other surfaces. .
  • Keep disk drives away from magnetic devices.



  1. If you want to manually assign drive ownership for the new installed drives, you need to disable automatic drive assignment if it is enabled. This is necessary if drives in the shelf are owned by both controller modules in the HA pair.

    1. Verify whether automatic drive assignment is enabled by entering the command storage disk option show on either controller module.

      • If automatic drive assignment is enabled, the output shows on in the Auto Assign column (for each controller module).

    2. If automatic drive assignment is enabled, disable it by entering the command storage disk option modify -node node_name -autoassign off.

      • You must disable automatic drive assignment on both controller modules.

  2. Insert the drive:

    1. With the cam handle in the open position, use both hands to insert the drive.

    2. Push until the drive stops.

    3. Close the cam handle so that the drive is fully seated into the mid plane and the handle clicks into place.

      • Be sure to close the cam handle slowly so that it aligns correctly with the face of the drive.

  3. Verify that the drive's activity (green) LED is illuminated.

    • When the drive's activity LED is solid, it means that the drive has power.

    • When the drive's activity LED is blinking, it means that the drive has power and I/O is in progress.

    • If the drive firmware is automatically updating, the LED blinks.

  4. If you are adding another drive, repeat step 2. Be sure to add the drives evenly from each side of the shelf working inward.

  5. If you disabled automatic drive assignment in step 1, manually assign drive ownership, and then reenable automatic drive assignment if needed:

    1. Display all unowned drives: storage disk show -container-type unassigned 

    2. Assign each drive: storage disk assign -disk disk_name -owner owner_name. You can use the wildcard character to assign more than one drive at once.

    3. Reenable automatic drive assignment if needed: storage disk option modify -node node_name -autoassign on. You must reenable automatic drive assignment on both controller modules.


For specific instructions related to your disk shelf model, please refer to the appropriate guide listed below.

Disk Shelf Model


NetApp provides no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or reliability or serviceability of any information or recommendations provided in this publication or with respect to any results that may be obtained by the use of the information or observance of any recommendations provided herein. The information in this document is distributed AS IS and the use of this information or the implementation of any recommendations or techniques herein is a customer's responsibility and depends on the customer's ability to evaluate and integrate them into the customer's operational environment. This document and the information contained herein may be used solely in connection with the NetApp products discussed in this document.


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