How to create a RAID with Intel, PERC and LSI Controllers

How to create a RAID with Intel, PERC and LSI Controllers




Table of Contents


Please keep in mind that a RAID is not a Backup! Dell is NOT responsible for any data loss which can occur on the configuration process of a RAID. Please ensure that a backup is available before you create a new RAID or reconfigure an existing one.

Information about RAID (Videos)

You can find various tutorials and information to RAID on our Youtube Channel (TechSupportDell) and in this specific RAID-Playlist (RAID).

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How to create a RAID

RAID controllers which are available in Dell Systems are not only different in performance and available connectors, but also in how to configure them. Because of that, we will explain the process of setting up a new RAID for all 3 kinds of controllers separately.

Intel Rapid Storage Technology

Before you can use the Intel Rapid Storage Technology to configure your RAID, you need to set the Sata Operations to RAID On in the System Setup.

Afte the POST (Dell Logo) is complete, you will see an overview of all hard disk drives and RAID volumes. The shortcut Ctrl + i will bring up the Controller Setup.


Figure 1 Boot Screen after POST

On our latest Systems, you can find the entry Device Configuration in the boot menu (F12 while Dell Logo is shown). This will lead you directly into the Controller Setup.

In the main menu you can also see an overview of all available drives and RAIDs.


Figure 2 Main Menu Intel Rapid Storage

Navigate with the arrow keys to Create RAID Volume and confirm with the Enter-Key.


Figure 3 Create RAID Volume Screen

in the Create Volume Menu you can choose a Name for the RAID, set the RAID Level, select the Hard Drives you want to use, set the Strip Size and determine the Capacity of the RAID.


Figure 4 Create Volume Confirmation

After the volume is created, it is available for installing the operating system.


Figure 5 Main Menu after Volume is created

Please keep in mind, that you have to integrate the drivers for the RAID controller before you can select the RAID Volume during the installation of the operating system. This does not apply to all available operating systems.

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PERC

As soon as you built in the PERC card and all drives are connected, you can use the RAID functionality of the controller card.

After the POST is complete, the controller BIOS will be initialized. Use the shortcut Ctrl + R to enter the configuration menu.


Figure 6 Boot screen after POST

On our latest Systems, you can find the entry Device Configuration in the boot menu (F12 while Dell Logo is shown). This will lead you directly into the controller setup.

As seen at the bottom of the screen, you have to use the keyboard for navigation in the setup. In the VD Mgmt screen you will see an overview of all RAID volumes present.


Figure 7 PERC VD Management

Press F2 to open the operations menu and select Create new VD. At the following screen you can configure the new RAID Volume. Choose the RAID-Level, select the Hard Drives you want to use and set the RAID Capacity. Then also set a name for the RAID Volume.


Figure 8 PERC creating the VD

In the PERC you can also set some Advanced Settings like stripe size:

Read Policy

  • No Read Ahead: The used data is not puffered.
  • Read Ahead: Puffering of frequently used data for faster accessability.
  • Adaptive Read Ahead: The controller automatically switches between Read Ahead active or inactive.

Write Policy

  • Write Through: The write process will be marked as complete as soon as all data is written on the hard drive.
  • Write Back: The write process is marked as complete as soon as the data is written to the controllers cache (a battery connected to the PERC is needed).

Further Options

  • Force WB with no battery: Is forcing Write Back without a battery connected.
If the system is shut off while data is written in the cache and not on the hard drive, this data is lost and the RAID may be destroyed.
  • Initialize: A new created RAID Volume have to be initialized. This can also be done in the VD Management menu.
  • Configure HotSpare: Here you can select a hot spare drive to use if one drive of your RAID volume fails. (Not available for RAID-0)

After the RAID is created, you can initialize the volume in the VD Management.


Figure 9 PERC initialize VD

Please keep in mind, that a new created RAID Volume have to be initialized before it will be useable.

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LSI MegaRAID

Before you can use the LSI MegaRAID Controller, you have to deactivate the OnBoard Controller in the System Setup.


Figure 10 System Setup (BIOS)

After that you can enter the controller via the boot menu. Just select the Device Configuration option.


Figure 11 Boot Menu

Select the Configuration Management.


Figure 12 LSI Main Menu

Now you can select Create Virtual Drive.


Figure 13 LSI Configuration Management

Here you can set the RAID-Level and choose the Hard Drives you want to use for the RAID via the Select Drives option.


Figure 14 LSI Create VD Menu

At the Select Drives menu, set which drive types should be shown to select in the Select Media Type option. After that you can select the drives you want to use from the list below.


Figure 15 LSI physical Disk selection

In the last step you choose a name for the RAID Volume, the size of the RAID and set the Read/Write Policies. Then you choose if the Volume should be initialized in the background while using the controller setup.


Figure 16 LSI Create VD Menu

Read Policy

  • No Read Ahead: The used data is not puffered.
  • Read Ahead: Puffering of frequently used data for faster accessability.
  • Adaptive Read Ahead: The controller automatically switches between Read Ahead active or inactive.

Write Policy

  • Write Through: The write process will be marked as complete as soon as all data is written on the hard drive.
  • Write Back: The write process is marked as complete as soon as the data is written to the controllers cache (a battery connected to the PERC is needed).
Please keep in mind, that a new created RAID Volume have to be initialized before it will be useable.

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Troubleshooting RAID Problems

While using RAID Technology errors can occur. These are often wrong configurations, defective disks or controllers. We will show you how to solve the most common problems regarding RAID.

RAID degraded error

A RAID will be degraded if one or more drives of this RAID will fail. If this happens on a RAID-0, the volume and all Data will be completely lost if the Hard Drives are the source of the issue. If the Controller is the cause of the problem, then the RAID should not be available and a simple reseat or replace of the controller will solve the issue.

Intel Rapid Storage


Figure 17 Intel RAID degraded

PERC


Figure 18 PERC RAID degraded

LSI MegaRAID


Figure 19 LSI RAID degraded

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How to rebuild a RAID

As soon as the defective hard disk is replaced, you can start to repair your raid. To do so, open the Configuration Menu of your RAID-Controller.

With a RAID-0, a rebuild is not possible because all data is lost as soon as a hard disk fails


Intel Rapid Storage

For the Intel Rapid Storage Technology it is enough to just open up the Controller Setup. There you will be prompted with a message that a new hard disk is available to start the rebuild of the degraded RAID


Figure 20 Intel new Drive Message

The rebuild will start as soon as your operating system is loaded.


Figure 21 Intel Main Menu rebuilding

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PERC

For the PERC you have to select the hard drive and open the operations menu with F2 and select Make Global HS.


Figure 22 PERC PD Management

After that, the rebuild will start automatically.


Figure 23 PERC VD Managment

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LSI MegaRAID

In the detailed view, you can navigate to View Associated Drives and select the new hard drive for the rebuild.


Figure 24 LSI RAID detailed view

Set the specific hard drive as enabled.


Figure 25 LSI associated drives

You can see in the Drive Management that the status of the hard drive is set to Rebuilding.


Figure 26 LSI Drive Managment

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What to do if a Foreign Config is present

Replacement hard drives can be configured in a RAID before and still have the configuration information stored in the drives cache. The RAID Controller will notice this configuration and needs advice what to do with this configuration.

This is only applies to LSI MegaRAID and PERC. The Intel controller will always use the configuration which is saved in the controller itself.

PERC

In the controller menu is shown that there is a foreign config present.


Figure 27 Physical Disk Management

You can Clear or Import the configuration in the Foreign View menu.


Figure 28 Foreign View

Import: This will import the configuration from the drive and delete the config of the controller! Use this only if you want to use a RAID config from a different system or replaced the controller. Clear: This will delete the configuration of the specific hard drive. After that you can use the drive for creating a new raid or rebuilding an existing one.

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LSI MegaRAID

In Drives Management you can see if a physical disk allready got a RAID configuration from another controller.


Figure 29 Drives Managment

In the Configuration Management menu, you will find a new option listed as Manage Foreign Configuration.


Figure 30 Configuration Management

Use the Preview Foreign Configuration to check the details of the foreign configurations.


Figure 31 Manage Foreign Configuration

In this detailed view, you can import (Import Foreign Configuration) or delete (Clear Foreign Configuration) the unknown configuration from the hard drive.


Figure 32 Foreign Configuration detailed view

Import: This will import the configuration from the drive and delete the config of the controller! Use this only if you want to use a RAID config from a different system or replaced the controller. Clear: This will delete the configuration of the specific hard drive. After that you can use the drive for creating a new raid or rebuilding an existing one.

If you want to clear the configuration you have to confirm this separatly.


Figure 33 confirmation screen

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Quick Tips content is self-published by the Dell Support Professionals who resolve issues daily. In order to achieve a speedy publication, Quick Tips may represent only partial solutions or work-arounds that are still in development or pending further proof of successfully resolving an issue. As such Quick Tips have not been reviewed, validated or approved by Dell and should be used with appropriate caution. Dell shall not be liable for any loss, including but not limited to loss of data, loss of profit or loss of revenue, which customers may incur by following any procedure or advice set out in the Quick Tips.

Article ID: SLN300773

Last Date Modified: 06/13/2018 11:25 AM


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