Posted on 2013-01-16
Last Modified: 2013-01-16
We have a Cisco UCS server with 2 drives and using hardware RAID 1. It is running windows server 2003. We know want to run ESXi5 on this server, so the plan to implement this is as follows:

Pull the primary HDD as a precaution just in case we have to put it back, and then blow away the RAID config on the second disk. Load ESXi on the clean second disk.

The question though is this:
If I pull the first HDD, could I put it back with no problems if I had to?

Second question is:
If this works correctly, can I then put the  disk back and reconfig for RAID 1 with the new ESXi hypervisor.
Question by:timgreen7077
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 38783449
Not all RAID controllers will be happy if you do this.  You may never be able to put that disk back in.  Plus what if you have a bad block on the remaining drive ... you get data loss.

You need to check with Cisco if a "foreign" disk can be brought back online in event of worst case scenarios, and then test it, because rule one is not to trust such things unless you test for yourself.  Do so with the 2nd disk failed, good, and having a bad block or two.

Personally, I wouldn't even attempt it.  Sounds like you don't have time or desire to do full testing to insure it will work.
LVL 25

Expert Comment

by:Tony Giangreco
ID: 38783523
I agree with dlethe, you could have data loss. I agree that Cisco should be contacted regarding their raid controller. When your using somene else's software or firmware. it's better to ask first rather than take a chance.
LVL 47

Expert Comment

ID: 38783628
On second thought ... there is absolutely no way that Cisco ran all the failure scenarios like LSI, Dell, HP or any other subsystem manufacturer does.  Even if they tell you it will work doesn't mean they have any liability if it doesn't.  

This is probably using host-based software RAID to begin with, or a fakeraid chip, not some expensive RAID controller.   So it won't work reliably enough to be trusted.

The answer is no.  It won't work.
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LVL 55

Expert Comment

ID: 38783933
Which model UCS server? It's probably got an LSI Megaraid controller in it so you can setup as RAID 0 and then do a RAID level migration after you add the 2nd disk.

Bit of a waste of disks if it supports SD cards, you could use that for ESX instead of disk and then the question doesn't arise and if you want to use the whole of the disks for local data later on you can.

Author Comment

ID: 38783968
its a Cisoc C200
LVL 55

Expert Comment

ID: 38784290
m1, m2 or m3? Since you have Windows on it at the moment you can look in device mangler to see if it has a RAID controller or not since it's optional.

Author Comment

ID: 38784375
Its M2. I will have to look in device manager. Not able to at the moment.
LVL 55

Accepted Solution

andyalder earned 500 total points
ID: 38784670
And look under disk mangler to see if it is software RAID. is the machine but that doesn't tell us if it's hardware, intel chipset (once called fakeraid but not really fake any more) or software RAID.

My answers to your questions for what it's worth...

>If I pull the first HDD, could I put it back with no problems if I had to?

Probably, it would be a really badly designed server if you couldn't. Cisco aren't idiots and their servers aren't badly designed. Of course you could get problems but it's a "RAID didn't work for me" scenario, doesn't happen often but when it does it's shouted about. People don't bother to post "RAID worked" questions so you can't collect accurate statistics.

>If this works correctly, can I then put the [second] disk back and reconfig for RAID 1 with the new ESXi hypervisor.

Much harder to answer since RAID level migration depends on the controller; you'll be running ESX so software and "fake" RAID are out of the equation. Better to bypass that one and buy an SD card for VMware hypervisor to sit on instead.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 38784786
Thanks for your response.

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