The story about a server and 10 sad HDDs

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artofserver proxmox hgst seagate

This is a story about a few weeks in March of this year.

I was able to get my hands on a cheap Dell Poweredge R720 server and I needed disks for storage.

I found 10 SAS Seagate Savvio for a reasonable price, bought them, and here is where to story starts.

I popped those disks in, the lights on the server were, let’s just say, behaving not normal.

After this I tried to find the disks inside iDrac, I was able to see them but not to use them. I tried to create a RAID with them it failed. Using mkfs.ext4 gave this error:

Input/output error while writing out and closing file system

This is when I thought oh hey this is second-hand disks there is an old raid config spooking me. So I did start the oh so much fun task of zeroing all the disks. It took some time to zero 10 900 GB disks.

This however did not help.

This is when I got desperate, I posted on Reddit, the FreeNAS forums, mailed fohdeesha, found ArtofServer of Youtube, and asked him. The census I got was that Seagate disks and Dell don’t play nice together. But more than one responded told me that the disks were DOA.

The end goal of it all was to build a zpool for Proxmox. Thus a hardware raid card is a no-go. After a lot of searching and asking around, I found this site:

I had an H710-D1 in my server. I remove all the disks and started to flash my card it succeeded. Popped the disks in again.


Booting on a Linux boot USB to use gparted was a failure, I was only able to use 4 disks out of 10. Checking the logs this was what I found on 6 out of 10:

[97355.830253] sd 0:0:9:0: [sdj] tag#8999 FAILED Result: hostbyte=DID_OK driverbyte=DRIVER_SENSE

[97355.830277] sd 0:0:9:0: [sdj] tag#8999 Sense Key : Hardware Error [current]

[97355.830282] sd 0:0:9:0: [sdj] tag#8999 <>ASC=0x81 ASCQ=0x0

[97355.830286] sd 0:0:9:0: [sdj] tag#8999 CDB: Write(10) 2a 00 34 63 f3 b0 00 01 d0 00

For me that says disk is broken, the seller of the disks did not agree.

So what did I do now?

Well, I reflashed the Dell raid card to be a Dell FW, still, a no-go.

I remounted the disks to be inserted into my old HP DL380 G6 server, it has 8 disk slots. Filled them, 6 disks got an orange LED 2 got green. Inside the server, it only saw 2 disks.

This is when I found the most awesome youtube channel of ArtofServer and all the help he gave without a doubt made me buy a pre-flashed H710 for his store.

This is when I called the seller and said what Captain Haddock would have said.

After a few calls, he agreed to send me 10 new disks HGST this time. It took almost a month to get these new disks.

I swapped the raid-card, put the new disks in, went into Proxmox, and there I saw 10 disks!

Within an hour after receiving the new disks I had a 10 disk HGST zraid1 pool up and running.

It was such a relief.