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Setting up RAID

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April 17, 2013 7:11:34 AM

Hi Guys,

I currently have 2 spare hard drives that I would like to add to my system in a RAID array.
They are 2 750GB seagate baracuda drives.
My OS is on its own separate hard drive as I just want to use these hdd's for extra storage.
My motherboard is an intel DX58SO model that seems to natively support RAID.
I have never set up a RAID array before so i wanted to ask for some advice before trying it out.
Cheers

More about : setting raid

a b G Storage
April 17, 2013 7:24:53 AM

So what is the question?

anayways, RAID is set on the bios, check your manual to see what to press in order to enter RAID Utility. You combine both HDDs and you are done, its all set for you with best settings, so once you choose RAID 0, you simply press enter like 4 times.

My only advice is to backup your entire PC to a single external HDD. My recomended softwares are:

-Easeus Todo Backup
-Macrium Reflect free edition

Choose any, both are great
a b G Storage
April 17, 2013 7:26:51 AM

Did you install the RAID drivers during the OS install for the RAID controller? This is a necessary step when setting up raid. The rest is through the control+I menu just after the POST. Both disks have to be plugged into the appropriate SATA ports by which the RAID controller is associated, then you use the control+I RAID tools to build a RAID0 or RAID1 array. After that, the OS will see these two 750GBs as a single disk.

The key is the RAID driver install at the beginning of the OS install. If you missed this step, you have to re-install the OS.
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a c 356 G Storage
April 17, 2013 11:49:38 AM

ubercake said:
Did you install the RAID drivers during the OS install for the RAID controller? This is a necessary step when setting up raid. The rest is through the control+I menu just after the POST. Both disks have to be plugged into the appropriate SATA ports by which the RAID controller is associated, then you use the control+I RAID tools to build a RAID0 or RAID1 array. After that, the OS will see these two 750GBs as a single disk.

The key is the RAID driver install at the beginning of the OS install. If you missed this step, you have to re-install the OS.


You only need to install raid drivers during the OS install if the sata controller the OS drive is on is set to RAID. Some motherboards have two sata controllers. If this is the case, install the two drives on the other controller and set that controller to raid, this way you won't have to mess with the OS drive.

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a c 328 G Storage
April 17, 2013 2:18:28 PM
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First step if RTFM - sorry to be blunt. Your mobo manual will tell you the basics of setting up a RAID array. But you also should look on the CD that came with your system (or mobo) for a specific file that is the full instructions for RAID use on your mobo.

NEXT is to ignore ubercake's warning and listen more closely to Hawkeye22. The ONLY reason for needing to install a RAID driver as part of the OS installation is if you plan to BOOT from the RAID array, which you say you will NOT. If you boot into Windows from a "normal" HDD, you can establish a RAID array and have Windows load the RAID driver after it is running. You DO have to load the proper RAID driver into Windows (one time operation), and it is probably on that CD with your mobo, but you can do this from within a running Windows.

As I said, read manuals for full details. The experience I've had (yours may be different) goes like this. Assume you already have Windows installed and running on a "normal" HDD. You shut down and install the two spare 750 GB HDD's, usually on the "normal" SATA ports. When you boot, go immediately into BIOS Setup and you will configure the SATA ports you are using (this might set ALL your SATA ports at once) to RAID. This does NOT make all your HDD's into RAID units - the designation is done later. It just allows you to start using the RAID features of your HDD controller chip. Save and Exit to complete the boot. BUT don't let it go all the way. WATCH for a screen prompt during the boot process to get into the RAID Setup screens.There you will see all your HDD's and a screen allowing you to set up a RAID array. You will have to decide what type of array you want, and designate WHICH of your HDD units are to be involved. By default, any HDD that you do not specifically assign to a RAID array is NOT RAID - it is "normal". So you just leave your boot unit "normal", and set only the pair of 750 GB units to be used for the RAID array. Once that's done you need to confirm a few other things and then let the system create your RAID array. THEN it will finish booting.

At this point Windows MAY pop up a prompt telling you it has detected a new device - your new RAID array - that needs to have a driver installed. If it does not, check your manual again to see how to make Windows find the device. And then again use the manual to guide you where to find that driver so Windows can load it. Once that is done, you should probably reboot to let windows update its Registry, and you should find the new "drive" (your RAID array) in My Computer ready to use.

But to repeat, that's the way my systems worked. You should consult your manuals for exactly how your works.
a c 748 G Storage
April 17, 2013 7:22:32 PM

PaperDoc has it pretty much right, the only caviat is that some raid controllers require you to add single drives as single or non-raid drives so it can pass them on thru to the OS. So if your pc no longer boots - you know where to look.
April 18, 2013 8:10:59 AM

Got it sorted, it's working but for some reason every now and then my boot drive doesnt get recognised when powering up. it's very strange, about 50% of the time it'll boot up normally and the other 50% it'll say theres no OS.
a c 328 G Storage
April 18, 2013 10:12:49 AM

The new problem should not be related to the RAID situation, BUT it might be in a weird way. SATA data cables sometimes are not very well attached and can work themselves loose, either at the HDD or at the mobo port. Your problem is intermittent, leading me to think of loose connection. Maybe while you were installing the two new HDD's for the RAID array you accidentally bumped the boot drive's cables and they are a little loose. Try opening the case and making sure the SATA cables all are snugly plugged in, and not being pulled.
a c 356 G Storage
April 19, 2013 4:43:03 AM

popatim said:
PaperDoc has it pretty much right, the only caviat is that some raid controllers require you to add single drives as single or non-raid drives so it can pass them on thru to the OS. So if your pc no longer boots - you know where to look.


This doesn't sound quite right either. Normally this is the case if you only have a single sata controller and it's set to raid, yet you want to run the OS drive as a single drive, not raided with other members. In this case you would need to install the drivers during the OS install because the single boot drive is now a single disk array of sorts.

a b G Storage
April 19, 2013 4:58:44 AM

Please see my original response to your post and read page 68 of your product manual. The latest version of the manual on the Intel site:
http://downloadmirror.intel.com/18128/eng/DX58SO_Produc...

Step 2 on page 68 alludes to installing the RAID drivers with the OS install which in turn is referred to by the "Setting Up a 'Raid Ready' System" which subsequently refers to a sequence of steps including Step 2.
a c 356 G Storage
April 19, 2013 5:31:50 AM

From the manual:

Serial ATA
Intel Desktop Board DX58SO supports six onboard Serial ATA channels (3.0 Gb/s) via ICH10R and two eSATA channels (3.0 Gb/s) via a discrete controller.
The Desktop Board includes a disk drive activity indicator (a green LED) shown in Figure 3.


Just one sata (not esata) controller, thus need raid drivers installed at OS time.
a b G Storage
April 19, 2013 5:37:45 AM

Hawkeye22 said:
From the manual:

Serial ATA
Intel Desktop Board DX58SO supports six onboard Serial ATA channels (3.0 Gb/s) via ICH10R and two eSATA channels (3.0 Gb/s) via a discrete controller.
The Desktop Board includes a disk drive activity indicator (a green LED) shown in Figure 3.


Just one sata (not esata) controller, thus need raid drivers installed at OS time.


I'm not saying I've seen everything there is to see, but every motherboard I've owned required a RAID driver install in conjunction with the OS install. When there has been more than one SATA/RAID controller, I've had to install RAID drivers for each controller.

While the controller itself works before you get to the OS, the OS needs to know how to deal with each controller through the driver. RAID arrays are proprietary and there are differences in how they handle data from manufacturer (ie Intel) to manufacturer (ie Marvell)and version (ICH6R) to version (ICH10R).

I guess I've never had an instance where a driver install in conjunction with the OS install did not have to take place. Or maybe I've always performed an extra step? At any rate, using my methodology, I've never had a situation by which I couldn't set up a RAID array whenever I intended to.
a c 356 G Storage
April 19, 2013 5:52:12 AM

ubercake said:
Hawkeye22 said:
From the manual:

Serial ATA
Intel Desktop Board DX58SO supports six onboard Serial ATA channels (3.0 Gb/s) via ICH10R and two eSATA channels (3.0 Gb/s) via a discrete controller.
The Desktop Board includes a disk drive activity indicator (a green LED) shown in Figure 3.


Just one sata (not esata) controller, thus need raid drivers installed at OS time.


I'm not saying I've seen everything there is to see, but every motherboard I've owned required a RAID driver install in conjunction with the OS install. When there has been more than one SATA/RAID controller, I've had to install RAID drivers for each controller.

While the controller itself works before you get to the OS, the OS needs to know how to deal with each controller through the driver. RAID arrays are proprietary and there are differences in how they handle data from manufacturer (ie Intel) to manufacturer (ie Marvell)and version (ICH6R) to version (ICH10R).

I guess I've never had an instance where a driver install in conjunction with the OS install did not have to take place. Or maybe I've always performed an extra step? At any rate, using my methodology, I've never had a situation by which I couldn't set up a RAID array whenever I intended to.


I wasn't trying to imply you are wrong. In my experience it has been opposite. If the raid is on a secondary controller (not on same controller as boot drive), then the raid drivers can be installed in windows at any time.

@OP, you should have no problems following your manuals instructions per Ubercake's advice.

a b G Storage
April 19, 2013 6:33:02 AM

Hawkeye22 said:

...
If the raid is on a secondary controller (not on same controller as boot drive), then the raid drivers can be installed in windows at any time.

@OP, you should have no problems following your manuals instructions per Ubercake's advice.



What you're saying makes sense, though. I mean... If you don't have any devices connected to the particular controller yet, why would you need to install the RAID drivers until you do decide to use the controller with a RAID configuration? And what if you add in a PCI or PCIe RAID controller after the fact?

I've just never tried enabling RAID on a controller after the fact, myself.

In this case, it appears there's only one SATA controller. That's probably the reason the driver install with the OS install is the only way that works in this case. Otherwise, what you've said makes perfect sense.
a c 356 G Storage
April 19, 2013 6:39:30 AM

ubercake said:
Hawkeye22 said:

...
If the raid is on a secondary controller (not on same controller as boot drive), then the raid drivers can be installed in windows at any time.

@OP, you should have no problems following your manuals instructions per Ubercake's advice.



What you're saying makes sense, though. I mean... If you don't have any devices connected to the particular controller yet, why would you need to install the RAID drivers until you do decide to use the controller with a RAID configuration? And what if you add in a PCI or PCIe RAID controller after the fact?

I've just never tried enabling RAID on a controller after the fact, myself.

In this case, it appears there's only one SATA controller. That's probably the reason the driver install with the OS install is the only way that works in this case. Otherwise, what you've said makes perfect sense.


If you add a RAID PCI controller after the OS, as long as you won't be booting from RAID, you would simply install the driver for that card like you would any other windows driver (like updating your video driver). The same if it's a secondary onboard raid controller. Just hook up your drives, set the controller to raid, boot into windows (won't recognize raid at this point), install drivers and you are good to go.

Personally though, I don't see why you would want raid on your storage drives. Normally you want your OS drive to be redundant.
a b G Storage
April 19, 2013 6:57:45 AM

If you have data you want always backed up like family photos/videos or corporate data, RAID 1 or 5 are good options for data drives.
a c 328 G Storage
April 19, 2013 11:05:30 AM

What Hawkeye22 and ubercake have been discussing makes a lot of sense, especially the fact the RAID systems are different from one maker to another, and hence require different things. I have systems with nVidia, ULI and Silicon Image controller chips. When installing Win XP that has no drivers for SATA, AHCI or RAID, one must either install one of those drivers with the initial OS installation, OR resort to setting the SATA Port Mode in BIOS to IDE Emulation to fool Win XP into thinking the SATA units are IDE. But here's the interesting wrinkle. On some systems the mobo support CD has separate drivers available for AHCI devices and RAID devices, so you do not install a RAID driver unless you actually are using a RAID array. Others seem to put the AHCI (or SATA) driver AND the RAID driver in one driver package, and call it just a RAID driver. SO that's what you must load, even if you are NOT trying to use RAID.

Now, of course, beginning with Win 7, the OS itself does have AHCI drivers "built in", so using SATA devices, even for boot purposes, does NOT require installing any extra driver with the initial OS install. And on those systems, if you later add a RAID array for data only, you may be able simply to install the RAID driver into an already-running Windows OS. That OS can load itself from a non-RAID boot HDD and then load from that same resource the RAID driver that allows it to use the RAID array. I can understand, however, that if the mobo driver package has both AHCI and RAID drivers together, installing that as part of the original OS Install will cover all eventualities for the future, even if you're not using a RAID array to boot from.
a c 356 G Storage
April 19, 2013 11:51:39 AM

ubercake said:
If you have data you want always backed up like family photos/videos or corporate data, RAID 1 or 5 are good options for data drives.


Again, RAID = redundancy, NOT backup. That's what backup software is for. An accidental file deletion or virus/malware can cripple RAID just as easily as a single drive. RAID = REDUNDANT Array of Independent Disks.

a b G Storage
April 19, 2013 12:09:19 PM

Hawkeye22 said:
ubercake said:
If you have data you want always backed up like family photos/videos or corporate data, RAID 1 or 5 are good options for data drives.


Again, RAID = redundancy, NOT backup. That's what backup software is for. An accidental file deletion or virus/malware can cripple RAID just as easily as a single drive. RAID = REDUNDANT Array of Independent Disks.



True. It shouldn't be the only way you keep a backup for the reasons you mentioned, but can keep your system running with the same data when you have a hardware failure with a disk in cases where you don't have a virus or malware.

I should have clarified that you don't lose your data if a disk fails (isn't this kind of like a backup?). You also don't have to restore from disk which reduces or eliminates down time altogether. Whether at home or on the job, it can function as a backup as well as server redundancy purposes.

Isn't a backup a form of data redundancy at a specific point in time? If it's not, please let me know.

You have to remember also, if we're talking virus/malware, your corrupted files can also be backed up and depending on your method of backup (ie USB HDD), can also infect your backup files.

So whether you use a second disk in an array as your backup or you backup your files to a USB drive, your data is still susceptible to a virus or malware when a drive is attached to the PC.
a c 328 G Storage
April 19, 2013 8:02:01 PM

What you say about RAID1 or 5 being somewhat like a backup is true, but they certainly do NOT protect against all sorts of problems that a REAL backup system does. Physical destruction of the hardware is one of those, which is why backups should be moved to and stored at a remote site. Malware of various forms is another. Ubercake makes the point that malware may also infect your backup system. That can happen two ways. If your backup is placed on a storage device that remains connected to your system, then of course it could be affected even after the backup files have been made. That is one reason that good backups are NOT left connected. Secondly, once a system is infected, any backups made after that will contain the corrupted files. That is why a good backup system stores backup volumes for a planned time periods - say, a month or several months - so that an older uninfected set of files can be restored when malware is detected.

I quite understand that most home users do not do great backups, and that they can get expensive. I know the system I use for a retail store our family operates is not really great and leaves us open to some possible disasters. I have seen a professionally-run system, though, in a manufacturing facility where I worked. Their server system did a backup every day (a sequence of complete backups and incremental updates) to tapes that were stored nearby for over a month, for easy access. Those same backup files also were transmitted to an on-line data backup service in another part of the country as they were made. So the system had two identical backups sets - one local for quick access, and one really remote for security. I remember one time when they were necessary - the RAID5 system lost two HDD units almost simultaneously, so it could not restore itself. Since there was no hint of corrupted files involved, the locally-stored tape volumes were sufficient.

Incidentally, our retail store system uses RAID1 not for backup, but to guarantee continued operation through the business day even if one of the HDD's in the array fails. That is sufficient to get to the end of the business day smoothly, allowing replacement and repair of the array when the system is not needed for customer services. I consider that an ideal application for RAID1. The backup system, though not great, is completely separate.
a b G Storage
April 23, 2013 11:46:04 AM

Paperdoc said:
What you say about RAID1 or 5 being somewhat like a backup is true, but they certainly do NOT protect against all sorts of problems that a REAL backup system does. Physical destruction of the hardware is one of those, which is why backups should be moved to and stored at a remote site. Malware of various forms is another. Ubercake makes the point that malware may also infect your backup system. That can happen two ways. If your backup is placed on a storage device that remains connected to your system, then of course it could be affected even after the backup files have been made. That is one reason that good backups are NOT left connected. Secondly, once a system is infected, any backups made after that will contain the corrupted files. That is why a good backup system stores backup volumes for a planned time periods - say, a month or several months - so that an older uninfected set of files can be restored when malware is detected.

I quite understand that most home users do not do great backups, and that they can get expensive. I know the system I use for a retail store our family operates is not really great and leaves us open to some possible disasters. I have seen a professionally-run system, though, in a manufacturing facility where I worked. Their server system did a backup every day (a sequence of complete backups and incremental updates) to tapes that were stored nearby for over a month, for easy access. Those same backup files also were transmitted to an on-line data backup service in another part of the country as they were made. So the system had two identical backups sets - one local for quick access, and one really remote for security. I remember one time when they were necessary - the RAID5 system lost two HDD units almost simultaneously, so it could not restore itself. Since there was no hint of corrupted files involved, the locally-stored tape volumes were sufficient.

Incidentally, our retail store system uses RAID1 not for backup, but to guarantee continued operation through the business day even if one of the HDD's in the array fails. That is sufficient to get to the end of the business day smoothly, allowing replacement and repair of the array when the system is not needed for customer services. I consider that an ideal application for RAID1. The backup system, though not great, is completely separate.


I agree. You don't want to rely on RAID1 as your sole form of backup.
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