Rapid Storage Technology
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Need advice on replacing HDDs with SSDs in RAID 1 mode

Commander
Beginner
16,828 Views

Hi, I am looking for some advice on doing an HDD to SDD upgrade.

I know a good amount about hardware and software, but since I haven't done an upgrade like this before, I just want to make sure I am not missing any detail(s) that would prevent this upgrade from working.

I have a 2013 Dell XPS 8700 running Win7 with two 1TB HDD in a Raid 1 (clone) configuration and I want to replace the 2x 1TB HDDs with 2x 2TB SSDs.

The device manager lists the RAID controller as a "intel(r) Desktop/Workstation/Server Express Chipset SATA RAID Controller) - but I don't know how to get the chipset model number yet.

So, these are the steps I was planning to do:
1) Take the 2x 1TB HDDs out of the computer
2) Using a desktop standalone disk duplicator device, clone one of the 1TB HDD to a "2TB" SSD
3) Install the Cloned 2TB SSD along with the blank/new 2TB SSD into the PC
4) Boot up the PC and do a Rebuild so the SSD's are synced
5) Run partition software to realign to 4k sectors
6) Run partition software to hopefully resize the SSD to its full 2TB capacity.

Will the above procedure work to simply replace my HDD with SSD?

If not, what changes to those steps should I make?

Do I need to modofy the BIOS in anyway?

My goal is to not have to do a backup/restore of the system.

Another goal is to not modify the raid controller settings in anyway so that if I can't get the SSD's to work properly, I can always simply re-install the original HDDs and at least I will be back up and running.

I appreciate your time in reading this and look forward to any replies.

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25 Replies
Jean_Intel
Employee
15,784 Views

Hello Commander,

 

Thank you for posting on the Intel️® communities. We understand you are looking for recommendations for upgrading your RAID 1 volume.

 

Here are our recommended steps to move the RAID 1 volume to larger drives. This procedure will not require reinstallation of the operating system and will not compromise the current information on the RAID 1 volume:

 

  • Turn off the system and remove one of the drives.
  • Replace it with a drive larger in capacity.
  • Turn on the system and boot into Windows*.
  • Open the Intel® Rapid Storage Technology user interface (Start > All Programs > Intel > Intel® Rapid Storage Technology).
  • Click Rebuild to another disk.
  • Select the newly added drive and click Rebuild.
  • Allow the rebuild to complete.
  • Restart the system and enter the Intel® Rapid Storage Technology option ROM by pressing CTRL+I when prompted.
  • Click Reset Disks to Non-RAID.
    • You may see a dialog box warning you of data loss. This warning does not apply to RAID 1; you will still be able to access your data.
  • Click Yes to confirm.
  • Click Exit and shut off the system.
  • Remove the original (smaller) drive from the system. This will leave only the new (higher capacity) drive, acting as a single drive (it is no longer part of a RAID volume).
  • Turn on the system and boot into Windows. You may need to change the drive priority in the BIOS.
  • From within Windows, use the Windows computer management tools or a third-party partitioning software to resize the drive partition so that it uses the entire capacity of the drive.
  • Turn off the system and attach the second large drive.
  • Turn on the system and boot into Windows.
  • Open the Intel Rapid Storage Technology user interface and click the Create icon.
  • Follow the prompts to create a new RAID 1 volume. Your data will then be migrated from the single large drive to the new RAID 1 volume.

 

 

Best regards,

Jean O. 

Intel Customer Support Technician


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nazareno
Beginner
15,266 Views

Hi, i'm following this thread because i'm going to update my server  raid 1 1tb hdd with 2 1 tb ssd.

 the server is a  Fujitsu PRIMERGY TX1310 M3 Tower Server

My controller is: 

Serial ATA 5 sata
RAID controller 4 port SATA with RAID 0/1/10 for HDDs
SATA Controller Intel® C236

 

but there is one step I'm not understanding..

why should I delete the array?

Is it not possible to swap one HDD PER TIME with SSD and just let them sync with the intel storage utility?

 

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Michael2024
Beginner
8,451 Views

Hi Jean,

Q1. I assume the instruction also works with replacing HDDs to SSDs (which can be equal or larger than the HDDs)?

Q2. The SSDs must be formatted first?

 

Thank you!

Sincerely,

MP

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Commander
Beginner
15,777 Views

Hi Jean,

First, thank you for the very detailed steps in response to my question.

But, I am a little uneasy to follow those steps because they involve using one of my current (original) drives in the process, so I am very concerned that if something doesn't go right, I will be in a bad situation.

So, I would like to propose a modification to your proceedure that will totally isolate my two orignal drives, so if something should go wrong, I can simply just reinstall those two original drives and be back up and running.

So, here is my alternate procedure and I welcome your comments on it.

  1. Turn off the system and remove both 1TB HDDs of the current RAID array/pair (so at this point they are now my "backup" drives in case something goes wrong with the SSDs below)
  2. Clone one of the 1TB HDD onto a 2TB SSD (using a standalone disk duplicator device)
  3. Install only the cloned 2GB SSD disk into the system
  4. Turn on the system and enter the Intel® Rapid Storage Technology option ROM by pressing CTRL+I when prompted.
  5. Click Reset Disks to Non-RAID.
  6. You may see a dialog box warning you of data loss. This warning does not apply to RAID 1; you will still be able to access your data.
  7. Click Yes to confirm.
  8. This will leave only the new (higher capacity) drive, acting as a single drive (it is no longer part of a RAID volume).
  9. Click Exit and shut off the system.
  10. Turn on the system and boot into Windows. You may need to change the drive priority in the BIOS.
  11. From within Windows, use the Windows computer management tools or a third-party partitioning software to resize the drive partition so that it uses the entire capacity of the drive.
  12. Turn off the system.
  13. Install the second/blank SSD into the system.
  14. Turn on the system and boot into Windows.
  15. Open the Intel Rapid Storage Technology user interface and click the Create icon.
  16. Follow the prompts to create a new RAID 1 volume using the cloned SSD and the new blank SSD. Your data will then be migrated from the single large drive to the new RAID 1 volume.

Am I correct in thinking that with the above steps, if something does go wrong with the process, I can always just reinstall the two original HDD's and the raid controller will automatically recognize them as the original RAID array and boot them up as if I made no changes to the system?

Or does step #5 (Reset Disks to Non-RAID) make a permanent change to some NV Memory setting in the raid controller so even if I wanted to just reinstall my two original drives, it won't automatically recongnize them as an existing array and I would have to manually recreate the whole array for them again?

 

-John

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n_scott_pearson
Super User
15,775 Views

You could do the right thing and make a full and proper backup of the array before proceeding.

Just saying,

...S

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Jean_Intel
Employee
15,759 Views

Hello Commander,


We appreciate your response.


We recommend following step-by-step the process we have shared in our previous post. We understand that you are concerned about something not going right. However, everything should be no issue if you follow the steps and remove the HD drives one by one, waiting for the rebuild process to be fully completed.


And we agree with @n_scott_pearson it is always recommended to have a backup of your array.


Best regards,

Jean O. 

Intel Customer Support Technician


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Commander
Beginner
15,753 Views

Hi Jean,

 

I appreciate your comment, thank you.

 

I do have one last very important question, and it would be greatly appreciated if you can provide an accurate answer for it...

 

Is there some type of non-violatible memory in the Intel Raid controller that stores configuration info of the current RAID array connected to it? or is all array configuration info stored in hidden sectors within the raid disks themselves?

 

The  reason I am asking is I just want to make sure that if anything goes wrong, I can simply reinstall the original hard disks into the PC and I would be up and running as it was before I attempted this upgrade.

 

However, if the raid controller stores some settings or info about the current array in some nvmemory of the controller itself, then that would mean that if I do a "Reset Raid", it could potentially change that data and prevent me from reinstalling the original HDDs and having them be automatically recognized as an already existing raid array.

 

I look forward to your reply.

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Jean_Intel
Employee
15,733 Views

Hello Commander,

 

Regarding your question, if you have the Intel® RST program installed on a drive that is not part of the RAID array, you will be able to store the RAID array configuration data.

 

However, as we mentioned earlier, there should be no problem if you follow the process of changing one drive at a time, waiting for the rebuild process, and once it is completed, repeat the process of changing the second drive.

 

Best regards,

Jean O.

Intel Customer Support Technician


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Commander
Beginner
15,726 Views

I appreciate very much the reply, but it's not exactly what I meant, so let me try asking a different question...

 

Is any raid configuration info stored in the raid controller itself or is all the raid configuration info stored in the drives themselves?

 

Because if the raid configuration is stored in the drives themsevles, then I should be able to swap drive pairs with the same controller and the controller will recognize either raid array and just work.

 

Meaning, if I have one array of drives "A" and "B" and they are connected to SATA port 0 and 1 respectively. And I disconnect them and hook up two new drives (to the same sata ports 0 and 1 respectively) and create a new array of these C and D drives, if the configuration data is stored on the drives themselves, then I should be able ot disconnect the arracy of C+D and connect A+B and the controller will recognize the original array and operate fine.

 

So, is all raid config data stored in the raid hardware itself, or is it stored in the drives (for example in a secret sector)?

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n_scott_pearson
Super User
15,705 Views

AFAIK, the information is stored on the drive. The problem is that there is no guarantee that cloning software is going to grab and transfer this information (it's not in a partition) - and it would not be in the right place if you are changing the size of the drives.

Hope this helps,

...S

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Jean_Intel
Employee
15,601 Views

Hello Commander,


We hope you are doing fine.


Were you able to check the previous post?

Let us know if you still need assistance.


Best regards, 

Jean O.  

Intel Customer Support Technician


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Commander
Beginner
15,587 Views

Hey Jean,

Thank you for reaching out and following up.

I totally understand that your proceedure should work to upgrade my current HDD to SSD's by rebuilding the raid drives one by one and doing rebuilds.

But, your suggested upgrade steps would permanently modify the original drives, even if only modifying the raid array info on them.

However, my objective is to totally isolate the two current RAID HDD drives (and make no modification to them) so that I can always just pop back the original drives in the PC and be 100% up and running like I was before attempting the upgrade.

Basically, I want to have this "pop-back" ability for two reasons:

1) If the rebuild or something else goes wrong, it won't ruin any of the original drives.

2) Since replacing the drives gives me the opportunity to now "try" things using just the new drives (and it won't modify the original drives), like upgrading some apps I have installed (or upgrading from win7 to win10/11) but were concerned it might mess things up on the pc and then I would need to spend a day bringing my system back to normal.

By totally isolating the original drives, I can play with new drives with no chance of messing things up because like I said I can pop the original drives back in if I need to undo anything I did.

But I will not be able to simply pop the original drives back in if the raid controller stores the current array info in some internal memory of the controller because when I go to setup a new array using the new drives, it will then permanently modify the array info in the controller, making it impossible to be able to simply pop the original drives in because the controller would no longer recognize the original array anymore.

So, it would be VERY helpful if you could find out if the raid array configuration is stored in some NV memory inside the controller, or if it's stored in the drives themselves. Because if the array configuration is *only* stored in the drives themselves, then that would be very good news because then not matter what I do with the new drives, I would be able to simpy pop the original drives back into the PC and the raid controller will read the raid info from the drives and automatically recognize the array and I will be up and running as if nothing happened.

So, could you do me a favor and find out where the raid array configuration is stored (controller, disk or both)?

If you need to know which raid chipset/controller I have before you can answer this question, please let me know how I can find out that out because windows is only reporting a generic name of the raid controller.

I appreciate any help you can offer.

Thank you.

 

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n_scott_pearson
Super User
15,567 Views

There are only two ways to safely accomplish this properly:

  1. Make a complete backup of the array to secondary storage. Remove the array from the system. Install the new SSDs and then create array. Restore the backup to the new array.
  2. Install the new SSDs (yes, beside the old array) and then create array. Copy data from old array to new array. Remove old array.

It should go without saying that #1 is the truly safest way to do this. You should be maintaining this backup anyway.

Hope this helps,

...S

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Commander
Beginner
15,559 Views

I appreciate your reply, but if the RAID array configuration is stored in some NV memory inside the controller, then even with your suggested method, it would wipe the original raid arrays' configuration from the controller when I setup the new raid array with the new drives, making it impossible for me to simply put back the original drives to get me up an running if I needed to.

 

And even if I do a backup (like you and others have suggested), it still results in the same potentially dangerous situation because to "use" of or even to just "test" the backup, I would need to restore it onto the new hard drives (because it would be dumb to restore it on the original drives), and in doing so, it would also clear the original raid array configuration in the controller (if in fact the raid array config info is stored in the controller and not in the drives).

 

Thats why it is very important to get a 100% accurate answer to my question of where is the raid array configuration stored (in the controller nv memory, or in the disks themselves or both?).

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n_scott_pearson
Super User
15,548 Views

I may be wrong, but storing the configuration in NV RAM somewhere just doesn't sound right. If this was the case, you wouldn't be able to, for example, move an array from a board with an older generation chipset to a board with newer generation chipset. No, I believe that the configuration is stored on the drives themselves, just as it is with Optane Modules.

Just saying,

...S

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Commander
Beginner
15,540 Views

I totally hear what you are saying, but I could also easily imagine hearing Intel's response to your example being "If you want to move drives of a RAID array to a different controller/chipset, you will need to recreate the array on the new heardware, then restore the data from a backup".

 

So, if Jean can confirm your assessment, then I would feel much more comfortable doing this upgrade.

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Jean_Intel
Employee
15,498 Views

Hello Commander,

 

Thanks for the information provided.

 

We will look further into this scenario and respond back as soon as we have more details.

 

Best regards,

Jean O.

Intel Customer Support Technician


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Commander
Beginner
15,494 Views

Thank you - I look forward to your reply

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Jean_Intel
Employee
15,470 Views

Hello Commander,

 

We appreciate your patience.

 

We would like to confirm what hardware RAID Controller you are using since the product may need to be updated.

 

In case you do not have any, it is important to mention that the RAID configuration is stored in the actual drive, so if replaced, it is going to be moved to the replaced drive (this does not apply to RAID 0).

 

Finally, note that RAID is a redundancy option, not a backup system.

 

Best regards,

Jean O.

Intel Customer Support Technician


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Commander
Beginner
15,467 Views

Hi Jean,

 

Thank you for your reply.

 

But there are some points in your reply that are a little confusing:

 

1) When you said "We would like to confirm what hardware RAID Controller you are using since the product may need to be updated.".

 

My only guess of why you are saying this statement it that maybe the rest of your response depends on the hardware I have. So, how can I determine what hardware I have? As I mentioned the windows device manager just displays a generic description of "intel(r) Desktop/Workstation/Server Express Chipset SATA RAID Controller", so I don't know the actual chipset model being used.

 

2) What did you mean by "since the product may need to be updated?" Did you mean the "firmware" of the controller may need to be updated so that it will store the raid config info on the hard drive itself (as if older firmware may have stored the config data inside the controller and not in the drive)?

 

3) When you said "In case you do not have any," ....... What is "any" refering to?

 

4) When you said "the RAID configuration is stored in the actual drive, so if replaced, it is going to be moved to the replaced drive". I am confused with this statement because if you would have instead said "the RAID configuration is stored in the actual drive, so if the RAID drives are moved to a different Intel(r) RAID controller, the new controller will automatically recognize the existing raid drive array and will properly access them on the new hardware without any additional setup of the array or controller", then I would have understood that. But what you said about "replacing" a drive is confusing because if a drive is "replaced", then where is the "RAID configuration" being moved "from"?

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