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Removing old ESXi 5 install

Posted on 2013-01-18
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Last Modified: 2013-01-26
I've setting up a ESXi 5.1 server and initally installed ESXi on the RAID 1+0 array I'm using for VM storage (and the only datastore in the system). I then decided to install it to an internal USB memory stick. This works fine but how do I get rid of the partitions containing the old install so I can use the full array for storage?

ls /vmfs/volumes
lists 5x guids and the datastore.

/etc/init.d # ls /vmfs/devices/disks
naa.600508e00000000081546d64bdb3ad04
naa.600508e00000000081546d64bdb3ad04:1
naa.600508e00000000081546d64bdb3ad04:2
naa.600508e00000000081546d64bdb3ad04:3
naa.600508e00000000081546d64bdb3ad04:5
naa.600508e00000000081546d64bdb3ad04:6
naa.600508e00000000081546d64bdb3ad04:7
naa.600508e00000000081546d64bdb3ad04:8
vml.0200000000600508e00000000081546d64bdb3ad04566972747561
vml.0200000000600508e00000000081546d64bdb3ad04566972747561:1
vml.0200000000600508e00000000081546d64bdb3ad04566972747561:2
vml.0200000000600508e00000000081546d64bdb3ad04566972747561:3
vml.0200000000600508e00000000081546d64bdb3ad04566972747561:5
vml.0200000000600508e00000000081546d64bdb3ad04566972747561:6
vml.0200000000600508e00000000081546d64bdb3ad04566972747561:7
vml.0200000000600508e00000000081546d64bdb3ad04566972747561:8
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Question by:mark_667
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by:Neil Russell
Neil Russell earned 1000 total points
ID: 38792481
delete the array and reconfigure the partitions.
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Author Comment

by:mark_667
ID: 38792534
If you mean reboot the server and reconfigure the array in the RAID management config and then recreate the datastore, I'm trying to avoid that as it takes several hours to rebuild the array. I was hoping I'd be able to delete the partitions using partedUtil and extend the datastore somehow?
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LVL 124
ID: 38792571
the easiest way would be to DELETE the array on the current disks.

I would also remove the disks, and move the order of disks around, so the array structure changes.
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by:mark_667
ID: 38792709
@hanccocka do you mean I'll have to recreate the array and wait hours for it to reinitalise? Is there any way I can just do this in VMWare?
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Expert Comment

by:Neil Russell
ID: 38792722
Hours to reinitialise? What array controller do you have and how many disks?
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LVL 124
ID: 38792739
if you are familiar with fdisk or gparted utils

http://gparted.sourceforge.net/livecd.php

you can remove the partitions manually. But sometimes partition utilities struggle to remove the partitions.
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by:mark_667
ID: 38792898
GParted doesn't look like it can handle VMFS
http://gparted.sourceforge.net/features.php

Could I use FDisk to delete the partitions used by the old install and extend the datastore into the freed space using partedUtil (preferable without losing any of the existing data on there)?
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Accepted Solution

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 1000 total points
ID: 38792957
yes, you can use  partedUtil

see here

http://kb.vmware.com/kb/2002461
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Author Comment

by:mark_667
ID: 38793342
i tried using partedUtil to delete the partitions but ran into a problem with a fwe of them:

partedUtil delete "/vmfs/devices/disks/naa.600508e00000000081546d64bdb3ad04" 2
Error: Read-only file system during write on /dev/disks/naa.600508e00000000081546d64bdb3ad04
Unable to delete partition 2 from device /vmfs/devices/disks/naa.600508e00000000081546d64bdb3ad04

partedUtil delete "/vmfs/devices/disks/naa.600508e00000000081546d64bdb3ad04" 4
Unable to retrieve partition 4 from device /vmfs/devices/disks/naa.600508e00000000081546d64bdb3ad04

partedUtil delete "/vmfs/devices/disks/naa.600508e00000000081546d64bdb3ad04" 7
Error: Read-only file system during write on /dev/disks/naa.600508e00000000081546d64bdb3ad04
Unable to delete partition 7 from device /vmfs/devices/disks/naa.600508e00000000081546d64bdb3ad04

# partedUtil getptbl "/vmfs/devices/disks/naa.600508e00000000081546d64bdb3ad04
"
gpt
121469 255 63 1951399936
7 1032224 1257471 9D27538040AD11DBBF97000C2911D1B8 vmkDiagnostic 0
2 1843200 10229759 EBD0A0A2B9E5443387C068B6B72699C7 linuxNative 0
3 10229760 1951399902 AA31E02A400F11DB9590000C2911D1B8 vmfs 0
~ #
I tried a gparted live CD but it couldn't see the array (I presume because it didn't have the necessary drivers for the card).
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LVL 124
ID: 38793358
it's much quicker to destroy the current RAID (because some partitions are cached and cannot be deleted).
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Expert Comment

by:millardjk
ID: 38796500
If you use a block-level disk editor, you can write zeros to sectors 0x0000-0xFFFF, wiping out the partition table.

You will also want to wipe the last few blocks of the array's volume, as a second copy of the partition table could be lurking there.

If you can boot WinPE (BartPE?) , the free HxD hex editor (for Windows) works well. You might also find a copy of the DOS "Norton Disk Editor" which can do the same thing, but might not work with your array's bios support.
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Author Comment

by:mark_667
ID: 38802368
@modus_operandi, what do you mean? I did split the points.
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