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HP DL385 G2 SAS HD Replacement

Posted on 2013-11-04
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Last Modified: 2013-11-15
I discovered this morning that one of the 72Gb SAS drives on a HP DL385 G2 server is showing orange and diagnostics confirm that it has failed and been replaced by a hot spare (RAID 5 configuration). The SAS drive is hot plugable so I was planning to pop out the failed drive and replace it with another HP 72 Gb SAS drive from a server that I decommissioned a week ago. The replacement drive is not new and will probably still have RAID configuration /Partitioning information and data on it. Is there anything I need to do to the replacement drive to clear it before I swap it with the failed drive? or will the drive just get completely overridden when it is swapped in?
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Question by:steve352
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Gerwin Jansen earned 250 total points
ID: 39622456
To prevent issues, I'd be sure and empty the replacement drive. I believe this is the general advice when replacing faulty drives in a RAID system.

For example, from http://www.recover-raid.com/failed-RAID-help.html:
Test the subsystem's ability to recover from a drive failure. With all data backed up, remove one of the drives from the subsystem while it's running, and bring it back to full, undegraded operation using a blank hard drive replacement.
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by:steve352
ID: 39622479
Any idea on how to blank/empty a SAS HD that was used in another server?
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by:Craig Beck
Craig Beck earned 250 total points
ID: 39622584
You should be able to wipe the drive by putting it in the server and configuring it as a single drive via the array config software.  That will format the drive.  When that's done, delete that drive's configuration and configure it as a hotspare.
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by:andyalder
ID: 39622896
Q> Is there anything I need to do to the replacement drive?
A> plug it in hot, do not power down to swap. That way the controller will know to ignore what is currently written on it.
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by:steve352
ID: 39624728
So here's what I ended up doing. I used the ACU to delete the logical drive and array that the replacement disk was part of. I then shutdown the server with the bad HD, swapped in the replacement drive, and powered the server back up. On boot up was prompted to rebuild disk (F1) or ignore (F2). Selected F1 - server booted up and disk rebuilt as the new hot spare. A little slow booting up while rebuilding was going on but fine after that. Thanks all for your help.
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by:andyalder
ID: 39624914
You might have got away with it this time but you should never shut a server down to replace a disk if it supports hot-plug.
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by:steve352
ID: 39625234
Andy,

  I understand that hot-plug allows the drive to be replaced on the fly but some of the HP support documents say power off server and some don't. I thought that powering down to replace the failed drive was the more conservative (i.e. safer) option. Your comment seemed to imply that powering down the server wasn't the safest bet. Why do you say that?

Steve
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by:Gerwin Jansen
ID: 39625486
Why the B grade if I may ask?
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by:andyalder
ID: 39626094
Powering down is less safe. You did probably erase the metadata by deleting the logical disk and array from the old box before taking the disk out as spare but what had that step not worked? The controller would have not known which disk had the real configuration and data on it and could have overwritten the wrong one. Swapping live guarantees the newly plugged in disk can be overwritten because it's obvious to the controller that the disk that is plugged in live is the replacement.

Any link to an HP support doc that says power down to fit a replacement disk? Never heard of that before except for the cheaper non-hot-plug chassis.
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by:steve352
ID: 39651274
In the HP ProLiant G2 Server Maintenance manual (http://h10032.www1.hp.com/ctg/Manual/c00778876.pdf) under "Power down the server" in the Preparation Procedures it states "IMPORTANT: If installing a hot-plug device, it is not necessary to power down the server." "Not necessary" implies that leaving the server powered up is optional not mandatory. Later on in the Hot-Plug SAS HD procedure the only caution relates to running the server without a drive or blank inserted. Absolutely no mention of a requirement to leave the server powered up. Would have left server powered up if I had a sense that doing so was mandatory. I appreciate the explanation as to why I should have left it powered up. Thanks for that.
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Author Comment

by:steve352
ID: 39651299
Gerwin - you and Craig contributed equally to give me a complete solution. Together they rate an "A". Maybe I don't understand all the intricacies of Experts-Exchange but I assuming "B" means good but incomplete solution.
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by:andyalder
ID: 39651769
LOL, it does say that but it's under the generic "powering down the server" instructions which are immediately followed by the "Removing the server from the rack" instructions. Did you unrack it too ;)

For reference with ProLiants any "wine" (purple) coloured buttons/levers etc indicate hot-plug (although in the case of disks and PSUs there may not be a redundant one). If you take the lid off one day you can see that the fans can be replaced without shutting down as they have wine coloured handles. Blue levers on the other hand indicate cold-swap, so the PCI card locks are light blue on all but a few special servers.
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