Precision Workstation: RAID Controller Setup

Precision Workstation: RAID Controller Setup



This article talks about the Precision Workstation systems and setting up RAID using the RAID Controller cards.


Table of Contents :

  1. Different models of RAID controller cards available
  2. Understanding RAID terms and concepts
  3. RAID BIOS Configuration Utility
  4. RAID Storage driver
  5. Using and Understanding the LSI 9271-8i RAID Controller

Different models of RAID controller cards available

Dell Precision workstations offer several options for hard drive controllers :

  • ✓ Dell H310 PCIe RAID card
  • ✓ Dell H710P PCIe RAID card
  • ✓ Dell H330 PCIe RAID card
  • ✓ Dell H730P PCIe RAID card
  • ✓ LSI 9271-8i RAID Controllers

Both the H310 and H710P cards offer multiple 6Gb/s ports for SATA, SAS or SSD drives and support for RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 configurations.

The H310 is a host-based RAID card. Host-based means system processor cycles are used to implement the RAID.

H310

(Fig.1.1 PERC H310)

The H710P is a hardware RAID. Hardware RAID means all of the processing needed for RAID occurs on the card; no system processor cycles are utilized. Hardware RAID puts less burden on the workstation processor and provides the utmost performance for your workstation. (This card supports Internal storage only.)

H710p

(Fig.1.2 H710p)

Both the H330 and H730P cards offer multiple 12Gb/s ports for SATA, SAS or SSD drives and support for RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 configurations.

The H330 is a general purpose RAID solution card. (This card supports both Internal storage and Tape Devices, but does not support Caching. This can affect performance in RAID5 and RAID6 arrays.)

H710p

(Fig.1.3 H330)

The H730P is a Hardware RAID. This card has a 1GB or 2GB non-volatile cache. (This card support Internal storage only.)

H710p

(Fig.1.4 H730p)

The RAID BIOS Configuration Utility, otherwise known as Dell OpenManage Storage Services is a storage management application embedded on the various cards that configures and maintains RAID disk groups and virtual disks. This utility is independent of the operating system. Press the <CTRL + R> keys together during POST to enter this utility.

For Information on the LSI 9271-8i RAID Controllers, check out the Videos below in section 5

H710p

(Fig.1.5 PERC LSI)

Note: Please be aware that these same cards are also used in Dell Enterprise Server systems and may sometimes be referred to as a PERC card. PERC stands for PowerEdge Raid Controller. They are the same card.


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Understanding RAID terms and concepts

We have included a number of videos below to go through the basic concepts and terms used in RAID. Videos may be English only or have local captions available.

These should be helpful to you, if you have no prior experience with RAID. If you have you can skip to the next section.

(Introduction to RAID Concepts, English Only, Duration 1:30)

(Understanding RAID Levels, English Only, Duration 03:35)

(Understanding Parity, English Only, Duration 01:41)

(Understanding Strip Size, Stripe Width and Stripe Size, English Only, Duration 01:24)


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RAID BIOS Configuration Utility

Before the PERC controller drivers are loaded the RAID has to be set-up with the help of this utility.

The utility for the older cards has several sections including Virtual Disk Management, Physical Disk Management, Controller Management and Properties.

(Fig.3.1 PERC Utility)

The utility for the newer cards is identical, but it changes properties to Foreign Configuration View.

(Fig.3.2 BIOS PERC6i)


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RAID Storage driver

When installing / reinstalling a Windows operating system, setup will prompt for a RAID Storage driver at some point during installation. If a field service technician or user is trying to format and load the operating system, they will need to get the RAID Storage driver ready on a USB key to use it during the installation.

Below is a screenshot of no hard disk drive found in the Windows 7 installation : (No significant change for newer versions of Windows.)

(Fig.4 PERC Driver)

If you receive the no Hard disk drive found message, then the USB key with the driver needs to be plugged in. Click on Load Drivers and browse to the drivers location on the USB key and run it.

You can download the drivers from the Dell Support Site.

Ensure you enter your Service Tag or Express Service Code to ensure you get the correct page up. (You can also select your model type from the product list.)

You need to click on the Drivers and Downloads button on the left hand side of the page and then make sure your operating system is selected correctly.

Open the Storage Controller section and download the driver file from the link.


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Using and Understanding the LSI 9271-8i RAID Controller

The videos below should take you through the uses of the LSI 9271-8i RAID Controllers and hopefully give a better understanding of them. Videos may be English only or have local captions available.

(Updating the Firmware on LSI 9271-8i RAID Controllers, English only, Duration 01:50)

(Creating a New Array on LSI 9271-8i RAID Controllers, English only, Duration 03:49)

(Foreign Configurations on LSI 9271-8i RAID Controllers, English only, Duration 01:39)


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Article ID: SLN287084

Last Date Modified: 08/30/2018 08:33 AM


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