Reusing RAID 5 Array Hard Disks

We had a new ESXi host to install recently with the latest 4.1, but the server didn’t have a disk (yet) for us to install it on. Fortunately, our Fiber Channel SAN had a spare LUN with some extra drives that we could use. I destroyed the LUN and the virtual disk and pulled out a spare drive to stick it into the new server. Simple enough and now we can install ESXi.

Well, not quite… [more]

When we started the installer, it would always hang on loading the storage drivers. No matter what version of ESX or ESXi we attempted to install, the application would hang before the software even had an opportunity to start installing and always at the storage drivers. After some discussion with one of the other engineers, I had an epiphany. Maybe that drive still had some remnants of the old RAID 5 array and the server was looking for the remaining disks. I booted the server to a SmartStart CD, fired up the Array Configuration Utility, destroyed and recreated the array, and attempted the reinstall of ESXi. Success!

Moral of the story: When repurposing a hard drive that was formally a part of an array, make sure to actually wipe the disk clean instead of simply destroying the array to completely verify that there are no longer any remnants of the former array configuration.

 

General RAID 5 hard drive