How to Configure Raid on a Dell PC

How to Configure Raid on a Dell PC



The following article provides information on how to identify if your system will run as a RAID system and how to configure it as RAID.


Table of Contents:

  1. Are you looking to configure RAID on your Dell PC?
  2. Can your system support a RAID Configuration?
  3. How to configure RAID on your System
  4. Use this method when you will reinstall the Operating system
  5. This method is when you want to migrate your existing operating system

Are you looking to configure RAID on your Dell PC?

Here are some steps that will enable you to identify if a Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) solution is possible on your system and then some steps taking you through how to accomplish setting RAID up, if your system will support it.

Note: Please remember that RAID as discussed in this article will not survive the removal or replacement of the CMOS battery.

Please follow the guides below...


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Can your system support a RAID Configuration?

Most Desktops and some notebook systems currently shipping, can support a RAID configuration.

You will need to have two Hard Drives of equal size and capacity installed.

This type of RAID does not involve a hardware RAID card and instead utilises the BIOS along with the Intel Chipset and matrix storage software on older systems or with the Intel Rapid Storage Technology on our newer models to create a type of Software controlled RAID. This type of RAID configuration will only support RAID0 and RAID1.

Mirrored and Striped.
  1. Is your system capable of having more than 1 Hard Drive installed?

    1. No, then I'm afraid RAID isn't going to be possible on your system?

    2. Yes, then proceed to the next step.

  2. In your BIOS is RAID an option against the SATA Operation Mode?

    You can get to the BIOS on a Dell system by tapping the F2 key at the Dell splash screen.

    1. No, then I'm afraid RAID isn't going to be possible on your system without purchasing additional hardware.

    2. Yes, then proceed to the next step.

  3. On the Dell Support Site under Drivers and Downloads for your Service tag. Under the Chipset category can you see the Intel Matrix Storage software or under the Serial ATA or Storage category can you see the Intel Rapid Storage Technology install listed?

    1. No, then I'm afraid RAID isn't going to be possible on your system without purchasing additional hardware.

    2. Yes, then proceed to the next step to be taken through the configuration process.


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How to configure RAID on your System

You will need to have two Hard Drives of equal size and capacity. You will need to have decided if you want to use RAID0 or RAID1. We recommend RAID1.

RAID0

Striped Disk Array with no Fault Tolerance - Provides data striping - spreading out blocks of each file across multiple disks, but no redundancy. This improves performance but puts all data at risk in the event of a disk failure. The drawback to this method is if one drive fails, then all data in the array - both disks are lost. The only benefit to this method is it speeds write times to the drive which makes your system quicker and it keeps the full size of the disks.

RAID1

Mirrored Disk Array - Provides redundancy in case one of the two drives fails. This allows for all data to be duplicated on the fly but is not as fast as a RAID0. If a disk fails, the data can be recovered from the second disk. The drawback is you half the size of your total capacity and it's slower to write and it does it to both drives. The benefit is if one disk fails you still have all your data and can rebuild from the surviving disk.

RAID 0 (Striping) RAID 1 (Data Mirror)
Description: Offers performance benefits over a single hard drive configuration. This is ideal for users who work with large files or require fast data access. Offers backup integrity by having the same data on two drives. If one drive fails, the data is still intact on the other hard drive. This is ideal for applications where data integrity is of utmost importance. Since the identical data is housed on both drives, the storage capacity for the entire array is equivalent to the size of the smallest drive in the array.
System:
Computer
Sees:
2 x 320 GB = 640 GB 320 GB
Characteristics: RAID controller breaks the data into blocks and distributes the pieces to both drives simulataneously. RAID controller writes the same data to both drives.
Customer
Benefit:
RAID 0 offers performance benefits over a single hard drive configuration. This bundle is ideal for early adopters and power users that manipulate large files or require fast data access. RAID 1 offers data integrity by having the same data on two drives. If one drive fails, the data is still intact on the other hard drive. This bundle is ideal for applications where the data integrity is of utmost importance. This should not be considered a data backup however.
Benefits:
  • High performance and capacity for storage-intensive applications:
  • Digital Video and Audio
  • Photoshop and photo-editing applications
  • Publishing and graphics
  • Gaming applications
  • Multitasking
  • Gets the most out of the computers performance.
  • Create fail-safe storage for important data:
  • Secure Data
  • Easiest system recovery
  • Any application where data is impportant and the storage sysstem is at risk of fsilure
  • Data Protection
  • Protect the data that is important such financial records, small business records, or medical files
  • Provides the easiest means of data redundancy.
  1. Enter System Setup or BIOS by tapping the F2 key at the Dell splash screen.

  2. Navigate to the category that contains the SATA Operation mode.

  3. Select the SATA Operation Mode.

  4. Change the mode to RAID On if it wasn't already set and apply or click yes.

If the setting was changed from RAID Autodetect/ACHI or RAID Autodetect/ATA to RAID On. If it wasn't then leave it as set.

SATA OPS

  1. Press Esc to bring up the exit from BIOS screen.

  2. Select Save and Exit, to exit System Setup and resume the boot process.

  3. When the SATA Operation field in System Setup has been set to RAID On the system will display a RAID BIOS message after the Dell splash screen shows during POST - before Windows starts. The message below is what is displayed if no RAID volume is created.

  • Intel(R) Matrix Storage Manager option ROM v5.0.0.1032 ICHx
    Copyright(C) 2003-05 Intel Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


  • RAID Volumes:
    None defined.

  • Physical Disks:
    Port Drive Model Serial # Size Type/Status(Vol ID)
    0 TOSHIBA MK5061GS 80JDT04XT 465.7GB Non-RAID Disk
    1 TOSHIBA MK5061GS 80JDT04WT 465.7GB Non-RAID Disk

  • Press <CTRL-I> to enter Configuration Utility...

  1. Enter System Setup or BIOS by tapping the F2 key at the Dell splash screen.

  2. Navigate to the System Configuation.

  3. Select the SATA Operation Mode.

  4. Change the mode to RAID On if it wasn't already set and apply.

BIOS Sata Ops

  1. Select Exit, to exit System Setup and resume the boot process.

  2. When the SATA Operation field in System Setup has been set to RAID On the system will display a RAID BIOS message after the Dell splash screen shows during POST - before Windows starts. The message below is what is displayed if no RAID volume is created.

  • Intel(R) Rapid Storage Technology - option ROM - 10.5.0.1034
    Copyright(C) 2003-11 Intel Corporation. All Rights Reserved.


  • RAID Volumes:
    None defined.

  • Physical Disks:
    Port Drive Model Serial # Size Type/Status(Vol ID)
    2 WDC WD1600AAJS-7 WD-WMAP9D045721 149.0GB Non-RAID Disk
    3 WDC WD1600AAJS-7 WD-WMAP9D046479 149.0GB Non-RAID Disk

  • Press <CTRL-I> to enter Configuration Utility...


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Use this method when you will reinstall the Operating system

  1. On Start Up you must press the Ctrl+I keys to enter the Intel RAID Option ROM utility.

BIOS Sata Ops

Note: Although any size drives may be used to create a RAID configuration using the Intel RAID Option ROM utility, ideally the drives should be of equal size. In a RAID0 configuration, the size of the configuration is the size of the smallest drive multiplied by the number of drives used in the configuration. (only 2 possible here.) In a RAID1 configuration, the size of the configuration is the smaller of the two drives used.

Creating a RAID0 or a RAID1 Configuration

Note: Any data on either hard drive is lost when creating a RAID configuration using the following procedure. Back up all data to another storage device before continuing.
Note: Use the following procedure only if reinstalling the operating system. Do not use the following procedure to migrate an existing storage configuration to a RAID0 configuration.
  1. Select Create RAID Volume and press ENTER.

  2. Enter a RAID volume name or accept the default and press ENTER.

  3. For RAID0 select RAID0 (Stripe) and press ENTER or for RAID1 select RAID1 (Mirror) and press ENTER.

  4. Select the two drives that will constitute the RAID configuration and press ENTER.

    1. For RAID0 change the stripe size and press ENTER

    2. For RAID1 skip this step.

Note: For RAID0 select the stripe size closest to the size of the average file to be stored on the RAID volume. If this is not known then choose 128 KB as the default stripe size.
  1. Select the desired capacity for the volume and press ENTER.

    Normally you would go with the default size as its the maximum available size.

  2. Press ENTER to create the volume.

  3. Press the Y key to confirm creating the RAID volume.

  4. Check that the correct volume configuration is displayed on the main Intel RAID Option ROM utility screen.

  5. Select Exit and press ENTER.

  6. Install the operating system.

Warning: Any data on either hard drive is lost when creating a RAID configuration using the following procedure. Back up all data to another storage device before continuing.
Note: Use the following procedure only if reinstalling the operating system. Do not use the following procedure to migrate an existing storage configuration to a RAID0 configuration.
  1. Power on your system and repeatedly press F12 at the Dell Logo to open the boot menu

  2. select device configuration using the arrow keys (figure 1)

    Figure 1: boot menu

  3. Select Create Raid in the Intel RAID menu (figure 2)

    Figure 2: Intel RAID menu

  4. choose a Name for your RAID volume. Select the next entry with the arrow keys (figure 3)

    Figure 3: Create RAID menu

  5. Select the RAID Level you want to create (figure 4)

    Figure 4: Select RAID level

  6. You can select a disk for your RAID volume by highlighting it and pressing spacebar or enter and selecting X (figure 5)

    Figure 5: Select RAID member disks

  7. Choose the volume and stripe size and select Create Volume to finish. The RAID Volume is now shown in the Main screen. (figure 6)

    Note: For RAID0 select the stripe size closest to the size of the average file to be stored on the RAID volume. If this is not known then choose 128 KB as the default stripe size.

    Figure 6: RAID-Volume created

  8. you can now install the operating system


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This method is when you want to migrate your existing operating system

If the computer has already got one hard drive that already has the operating system installed on it and you are fitting a second drive, which you want to configure as RAID without losing the existing data, then use the migrating option in the Intel Matrix Storage Manager in your Operating system.

  1. Click the Start button and go to All Programs\Intel Matrix Storage Manager\Intel Matrix Storage Console to launch the Intel Storage Console.

  2. On the Actions menu you want to select Create RAID Volume From Existing Hard Drive to launch the Migration Wizard.

Note: If an Actions menu option is not displayed, the computer is not set to RAID-enabled mode.
  1. Click Next on the Migration Wizard screen.

  2. Enter a RAID volume name or accept the default.

  3. Choose from the following options:

    1. For RAID0, select RAID0 as the RAID level from the drop-down box, select the appropriate stripe size from the drop-down box and click Next.

    2. For RAID1, select RAID1 as the RAID level from the drop-down box, go on to the next step.

  4. On the Select Source Hard Drive screen double-click the hard drive from which to migrate your data and click Next.

Note: Select the hard drive that is to be used as the source drive. (it should be the hard drive containing the data or operating system files that are to be migrated to the RAID volume)
  1. On the Select Member Hard Drive screen double-click the hard drive to select the member drive on which to span the array and click Next.

    1. For RAID0, on the Specify Volume Size screen, select the desired volume size and click Next.

    2. For RAID1, go on to the next step.

Note: In the following step, all data contained on the member drive is lost.
  1. Click on Finish to start migrating or click Back to make changes.

The PC can be used normally during the migration process.

If you are having any issues with this I would recommend contacting your Technical Support. If you already have RAID configured and are looking for a Troubleshooting guide then please check out the article linked below.

If the computer has already got one hard drive that already has the operating system installed on it and you are fitting a second drive, which you want to configure as RAID without losing the existing data, then use the migrating option in the Intel Rapid Storage Technology in your Operating system.

  1. Click the Start button and go to All Programs\Intel Rapid Storage Technology\Intel Rapid Storage Console to launch the Intel Rapid Storage Console.

  2. Select the Create button from the top menu.

  3. Click Select and choose from the following options then click Next:

    1. For RAID1, select Real-time data protection (RAID1).

    2. For RAID0, select Optimized disk performance (RAID0).

  4. Click on Configure and:

    1. Enter a Volume Name.

    2. Select the disks to create RAID on.

    3. Select the drive you want to migrate the operating system from.

    4. Then click Next.

Note: The hard drive marked (system) is the one to be used as the source drive. (That is the hard drive containing the data or operating system files that are to be migrated to the RAID volume)
  1. Click on Confirm and if everything checks correct select Create Volume.

Note: It will advise you at this stage that this may take some time and you can continue working while this wprks in the background. I would recommend you wait until it's finished instead.
  1. A message box appears to say the volume was created successfully. Click on OK to continue.

  2. A status screen will show the status of your new volume.

If you are having any issues with this I would recommend contacting your Technical Support. If you already have RAID configured and are looking for a Troubleshooting guide then please check out the article linked below.


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Article ID: SLN155274

Last Date Modified: 05/14/2019 11:26 AM


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