Thank you, I read this thread and appear to have fixed my problem with the install by:
Deleted existing HP disk array partitions using HP configuration utility during BIOS boot and setup, prior to starting SUSE install
Old partition setup was partition 1: 2 disks, raid level 1+0,and partition 2: 4 disks raid level 5. SUSE 11.3 on partition 1
Creating new partition setup (of HP array) using the same utility: partition 1: 1 disk, no raid,and partition 2: 5 disks raid level 5
SUSE 12.1 now recognizes the disks and is installing without errors. SUSE 12.1 on partition 1, /data on partition 2
I assume that this means that the 12.1 installer simply handles “bare metal” installs better than upgrades in place.
UPDATE: Install as above actually failed to boot properly. The following finally worked:
Deleted existing HP disk array partitions using HP Asmart Array configuration utility during BIOS boot and setup, prior to starting SUSE install
Created new partition setup (of HP array) using the same utility: partition 1: 1 disk, no raid,and leaving other disks unallocated
SUSE 12.1 now recognizes the single disk and installs without errors.
After the SUSE 12.1 install, reboot and use HP Smart Array configuration utility again to create a second partition, 5 disk, RAID 5
Using SUSE Yast Partition tool create a new LV on this new array mount as \data
All seems to be working well so perhaps it is just the installer that has issues with the HP Smart Array card.
This might have something to do with how a disk with an existing openSUSE partitioning scheme might be difficult to read.
I recently installed new on a similar vintage machine (DL380 G4) with only existing Windows formatted partitions which I blew away without any anomalies… Everything installed from the 12.3 DVD as expected without special issues.
Only issue I ran into <afterwards> is the squirrelly GPU with its historically poor device driver which little can be done. So, I manage this machine completely from the CLI.