We have two servers (ML530 G2 and DL380G2) w/ identical HP 10K RPM SCSI drives w/ a raid 5. One is decommissioned and the other will be decommissioned shortly. However, one of the drives on the production server had a drive failure. My hope was to take one of the drives from the decommissioned server and pop it into the production server. Both are running RAID 5.

I broke the array on the decomm. server. To my knowledge, that should have wiped out all the volume and partition information. However, I do not know if it is safe to then take a drive from the decomm'ed server and replace the failed drive.

Will the existing array see it as a replacement drive, wipe it and rebuild? Or will it fail because it was used in an array before.

Are there any remnant data that resides on the drives after deleting a raid 5 array?

These servers are 10-15 years old, so we're just trying to keep them alive until we decommission it. I'm not looking to pay a premium to find a vendor that still sells replacement drives for this system.

2 Answers 2


These servers are from 2004 and 2002, respectively (The DL380 G2 is a Pentium 3 system, while the ML530 G2 is a Pentium 4 Xeon server). Both use standard Ultra 3 or Ultra 320 SCSI hard drives. You do not need to do anything special to reuse the disk.

You did not specify which system's disks were going where, but both servers should have Smart Array controllers within a generation of each other. The Smart Array RAID controller will take care of the drive initialization when you add it to the array.

There's nothing else needed to make the used drive work.

  • Great! So the decomm'ed server is the DL380 G2. I just powered it up to kill the array. I'll be using one of the disks from there to replace it with a failed drive in the ML530. In which case I'm going from a newer gen to an older one, but that should be fine right? The drive should technically be blank since I deleted the array.
    – User125
    Oct 2, 2012 at 21:23
  • The newer disk may be Ultra 320. It'll just downshift speed to match the DL380's controller's capabilities.
    – ewwhite
    Oct 2, 2012 at 21:30

It should be fine to put the drive in. Assuming it's still running one of the SmartArray controllers, it should start to rebuild the array on it's own. The array should see it as a replacement - worst case is you go into the array manager and tell it manually start rebuilding the array.

  • Yes the production server has a smartarrray controller on it. I have no issue doing a hotswap with new drives. This is the first time I'm doing it with a drive from a deleted raid 5 array from another server. I didn't know if the drives needs to be completely blank (which I'm assuming it is from the reading i've done about breaking raid 5 arrays).
    – User125
    Oct 2, 2012 at 21:05
  • They don't even really need to be blank.. I've taken drives out of an existing array from a retired server and used them to replace a failed drive.
    – Rex
    Oct 2, 2012 at 21:12

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