When installing [SPARC] Solaris on a non-Solaris disk drive, after completing system identification information, the installer may terminate with the error "One of the following problems exists: Hardware failure Unformatted disk" error. This is due to the lack of proper disk labeling. The user can exit the installer and perform the labeling exercize before restarting the installation.
What's in a Label?
The label is the description to the operating system regarding what is on the media. The media has a table filled with slices, some legacy systems support up to 16 slices, while Solaris supports 8 slices. There are two types of supported labels: SMI and EFI. SMI is used for UFS filesystem while EFI is used for ZFS filesystem.
Slices on a label may be overlapping, where slice 2 holds the entire disk (encapsulating all slices), slice 0 holds the root filesystem (and boot code), slice 1 normally holds the swap slice (to augment physical memory by acting as virtual memory), and other slices can be used for other filesystems such as /var (so a growing log file does not take down a system) or /export/home (so a user's home directory does not crash a system by having data which grows out of control.)
Labeling a Disk:
After a failed installation, the user will drop out to a root "#" prompt. The disks can now be labeled through the "format" command and system rebooted to the cdrom install media. Choose the SMI label, if prompted - this has been tested up to Solaris 10 Update 10.
# format -e
 SMI Label
 EFI Label
Specify Label type: 0
# cd / ; init 0
ok boot cdrom
Non-Sun and non-Oracle disks can be used on older equipment to provide a storage or performance boost when installing Solaris 10. This procedure was used with Solaris 10 Update 10.