I have a raid array of hard drives in a Sun x4600 that need to be moved out, and another Sun x4600 ready to accept those hard drives.

The problem is: in my limited experience with servers, it seems like hard drives added to a server always get wiped by the raid controller because the controller insists on "initializing" drives before recognizing them as a raid array.

Yes, I have backups.

Is it possible to move a raid array between identical Sun x4600s without wiping the data on them?

Also, I am interested in the general case of preserving data in raid array migration between servers (any two servers, even ones with different raid controllers) so that I'll know what to do if a server dies. What is the typical solution to that (probably common) problem?


Yes, you just need to have the "receiving" RAID card import its configuration from the drives you're moving. It's not well known (at least to storage novices) but these cards not only store their configuration in their on-board NVRAM, but also in several places on each disk.

The exact process varies from card to card, but it's typically a simple procedure. Check the manual for your card and I'm sure you'll figure it out.

With regards to RAID array migration, you're thinking about this in the wrong way. There are far too many possible failure modes to make RAID migration between non-identical servers a tenable approach. Remember, RAID != backup. With a good backup system, the need to do this goes away, and all of the issues that come with array migration disappear as well.

  • My manual tells me how to replace a failed drive, and that's it. No information at all about migrating raid arrays between servers. :( – user1744516 Feb 2 '13 at 20:24
  • @user1744516 - you un-accepted my answer? Ok, whatever. You're going to need to figure this out for yourself. Play around on a test machine until you get it working. – EEAA Feb 2 '13 at 20:37
  • 1
    @user1744516 "Import foreign configuration" is not that hard to find. – Michael Hampton Feb 2 '13 at 20:38
  • Sorry, I just thought un-accepting would attract more attention, which I wanted because I was still lost - no offense intended. – user1744516 Feb 2 '13 at 21:17

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