Adding a drive that came from another HP Smart Array array to replace a failed drive

Posted on 2011-10-15
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Have a Proliant ML350 G5 with embedded E200i Smart Array controller.  Server has 3 72GB SAS drives configured in a RAID5.  One drive failed and the array continues to run.  I don't have a new, clean spare on the shelf and I don't want to wait until Tuesday to get a third drive back in this -- and Tuesday's probably the earliest I'm going to be able to get a new replacement.  However, I have three drives of the same type that were pulled from another server.  They weren't erased; they were working when pulled.  I'd like to take one of those drives and plug it into the slot where my drive failed and rebuild the array NOW.  

However, it seems like the last time I tried something like this, the array controller knew that drive I was trying to use was part of another array, wouldn't let me use it, and wouldn't let me erase or change it from inside HP Array COnfiguration Utility.

Can't afford to kill the array that's working... So, before I try to plug one in, I'm looking for guidance on whether or not I can expect this to work, or am I going to have find a way to erase that drive before attempting to use it....  Thanks.  
Question by:mweaner
    LVL 89

    Expert Comment

    by:John Hurst
    You can put a "clean" drive in, of course, but the working drive will not work because it thinks it belongs somewhere else. So I would not attempt this. ... Thinkpads_User
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    Use some tool that will overwrite the whole disk with data. No metadata can survive this. In Linux you just can "cat /dev/zero > /dev/hd<target>" to achieve this.
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    This is a risky way to work but...
    On BOIS Array Setup
    Perform a low Level Format of the disk that want to use (perhaps you need to put in offline)
    Replace the damage disk with this one

    Other way to do this (less risky)
    Remove the damage disk and put the replacement
    On BIOS Array Setup
    Perform a Synchronization of the array.

    Notice: Working with arrays on Production environment could DESTROY all your information.

    -hope helps-
    LVL 55

    Expert Comment

    All you have to do is add it hot, then the controller ignores the metadata. You must have added it with the server turned off last time.

    You cannot easily clean the metadata off it without removing it from the controller although you could remove your current disks, put this one in and delete any arrays on it using the ACU. A lot of messing about for nothing. The ACU and ORCA don't have an option to erase a disk.
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    andyalder is right - if the replacement drive is the same type, just swap it with the failed drive "while the system is running".  It will rebuild.  I have done this a number of times with "dirty" disks.

    Accepted Solution

    Thanks for all the comments and suggestions.  I was able to find a clean drive and rebuild with it.

    Author Comment

    I've requested that this question be closed as follows:

    Accepted answer: 0 points for mweaner's comment http:/Q_27398683.html#37018210

    for the following reason:

    Appreciate all the comments on the advisability of using a &quot;dirty&quot; drive and how (or why/how not to), but at the end of the day, was able to find and use a clean drive faster than I'd expected...and that resolved the issue
    LVL 55

    Expert Comment

    I can't see how you can accept your comment that you found a clean drive as being the answer to "how do I use a dirty drive".
    LVL 55

    Expert Comment

    No worries, I'll just add them to my blacklist.

    Featured Post

    How to run any project with ease

    Manage projects of all sizes how you want. Great for personal to-do lists, project milestones, team priorities and launch plans.
    - Combine task lists, docs, spreadsheets, and chat in one
    - View and edit from mobile/offline
    - Cut down on emails

    Join & Write a Comment

    Hyper-convergence systems have taken the IT world by storm and have quickly started to change our point of view of how the data center should and could be architected. In this article, I’ll explain the benefits of employing a hyper-converged system …
    Learn about cloud computing and its benefits for small business owners.
    This video discusses moving either the default database or any database to a new volume.
    Here's a very brief overview of the methods PRTG Network Monitor ( offers for monitoring bandwidth, to help you decide which methods you´d like to investigate in more detail.  The methods are covered in more detail in o…

    734 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    24 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now