Rapid Storage Technology
Intel® RST, RAID
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Setting up bootable software RAID with RST and NVMe drives.

TekChicLaurie
Novice
2,258 Views

I have a new Dell Precision Desktop, and trying to create a RAID 1 bootable array (using the RST software in BIOS, not on a controller card) with NVMe SSD's.

I can get to the 1980's DOS-style RST screen (version 18.31.52.5363) but it only sees one of the SSD's. I've tried moving the 2nd SSD from the 2nd slot to the 3rd slot on the motherboard but same thing, only the first drive appears.

The computer's BIOS sees both drives. I can even clone the primary drive to the 2nd drive in Windows and then reboot to the 2nd drive and it comes up fine. It's just RST that doesn't see the 2nd drive, therefore I can't create the RAID array (then I'll reinstal the OS).

I called Dell, their solution was spend another $500 on a PCIx hardware card (and that was their "Pro-Support"), their next suggestion was to contact Intel, so here I am.

Any suggestions?

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1 Solution
n_scott_pearson
Super User Retired Employee
2,239 Views

It is my understanding that, in order to utilize RST to create a RAID array using two NVMe drives, the NVMe drives must be in M.2 sockets whose PCIe lanes come from the chipset's PCH component (and not from the processor). It may be that you need to connect the drives in a different order. If this doesn't work, you will need to consult your motherboard's documentation and determine how the sockets have been wired. Dell Support may be able to help with this part, but it sounds like they are more interested in punting rather than doing their jobs.

...S

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16 Replies
n_scott_pearson
Super User Retired Employee
2,240 Views

It is my understanding that, in order to utilize RST to create a RAID array using two NVMe drives, the NVMe drives must be in M.2 sockets whose PCIe lanes come from the chipset's PCH component (and not from the processor). It may be that you need to connect the drives in a different order. If this doesn't work, you will need to consult your motherboard's documentation and determine how the sockets have been wired. Dell Support may be able to help with this part, but it sounds like they are more interested in punting rather than doing their jobs.

...S

TekChicLaurie
Novice
2,212 Views

Scott, you got me there! I had tried sockets 1&2 and 1&3. I HADN'T tried sockets 2&3 and I just did and it worked. I then installed the RST driver at the start of the Windows installation and I'm in.

THANK YOU!

 

n_scott_pearson
Super User Retired Employee
2,202 Views
PrecWorkstnUser
New Contributor I
1,557 Views

Hi TekChicLaurie!  I am but a humble user, without system support.  I have been looking high and low for a solution to the "create a RAID array" on my Dell 3650T.  No luck till I saw this thread and your post.  My machine has the same specs as yours (but my SSDs are only each 512GB).  First:  thank you!

Second: I have the service manual, and can see where the several M2 slots are located on the mother board, but which is slot 1, 2 and 3?  I can "guess" that the origaninal boot SSD is #1 (is tht correct?).  That the one "close by" is #2 (is that correct?), and the one on the other side of the board is #3 (correct?).  Your help would be appreciated, since I too want to use M2 #2 & 3 to create a RAID array.

Third: Is there any is in having the newly created RAID array as the boot drive?  Whether I create a RAID 0 or a RAID 1 - DOES IT MATTER REGARDING BOOTING?

Fourth (I appreciate your patience): How did you configure the boot order in bios?  If Raid 0, if Raid 1?

THANK YOU-  THANK YOU

PS: Dell was no help to me. They wanted to sell me a $99 "software consult" on the issue of creating a raid array, which I knew was bogus.

TekChicLaurie
Novice
1,551 Views

Hi "Humble User" ,

I got an email notification, so here I am. I had set this up for a dentist client of mine. As I remember it, I think you have it right in leaving the original boot slot empty and the other slots are #2 and #3 (the last combination I tried because I didn't know it mattered).

At that point if your BIOS is set to RAID then at bootup I believe CTRL+i is what gets you into the RAID setup. You can choose RAID 0 or 1. we used RAID 1 because we wanted redundancy should one fail for some reason (I also installed a cool dual power supply for redundancy with the power as well).

Once the RAID is setup, then you can reboot back into the computer's BIOS and set your RAID drive as the boot drive. It works (it took me a week of back and forth with Dell before trying Intel and someone smarter than me had the idea to try a different combination).

Good luck!

PrecWorkstnUser
New Contributor I
1,536 Views

Thanks you TekChicLaurie!  I'm going to give you advice a try later in the week.  I'll post the result.  The BIOS Mode is currently "UEFI", since Dell did not configure the compter for  raid array.  I suppose that needs to be changed before I do anything else.

I will go with the #2 & #3 are the "other two", i.e., not the one Dell installed as the boot drive, which I will leave empty.

TekChicLaurie
Novice
1,533 Views

Frankly I don't remember if I took it out of UEFI mode or not (on many new computers you can't). Stick with UEFI unless you can't get into the RAID setup because of it.

PrecWorkstnUser
New Contributor I
1,532 Views
PrecWorkstnUser
New Contributor I
1,498 Views


TekChicLaurie, I just posted this to Scott, but I wanted to keep you in the loop and get your feedback also.

Since Dell boot SSD + SSD closest physically didn't work to create a raid array, I will proceed as if the boot drive is M2 #1, and use the other two slots…which must be 2 & 3.
I now plan to use raid 1 (redundant), so...as you inform me... I will expect to see two logical drives. By default, I'll designate the entire first logical drive in order to be the boot SSD.
Does that sound plausible?

Steps I will take:
1. Remove SSD from slot #1 (the default Dell boot slot). Place SSDs in slots 2 &3 (as determined above), leaving slot #1 empty.
2. Boot to BIOS and designate logical drive #1 as boot, and #2 as next in order, (with USB as choice #3).
3. Restart (hopefully to the 1st logical drive)
4. Install the RST driver
5. Restart into the BIOS RAID setup, designate both logical drives as “raid” and choose RAID 1 (redundancy).
6. Reboot back into BIOS and set RAID drive as the boot drive.
7. Restart and expect that SSD 1 will be the bood drive and SSD 2 will be the raid 1 (redundant drive)
Does this sound like the proper proceedure to you?
Thanks.

AndrewG_Intel
Moderator
2,240 Views

Hello TekChicLaurie

Thank you for posting on the Intel® communities.


In order to check this further, could you please provide us with the following information?

1- Since you mentioned you contacted Dell* Support and their solution was to get a "PCIx hardware card or to contact Intel", did they provide you with a diagnostic and conclusion for these recommendations or what the root cause of the issue could be?

The BIOS Intel® RST Option ROM is very dependent upon the computer manufacturer's design and customizations. Did they confirm the BIOS RST Option ROM is working properly and running the latest version/firmware?


2- NVMe drives makers/manufacturer and full models:

3- Do you have any other drives connected to the computer (including regular HDD drives)? There are scenarios where M.2 and regular SATA ports share the internal connection on the motherboard depending on the system's design, and sometimes due to this, any of the ports may be disabled.


4- Run the Intel® System Support Utility (Intel® SSU) to gather more details about the system:

  • Download the Intel® SSU and save the application on your computer
  • Open the application, check the "Everything" checkbox, and click "Scan" to see the system and device information. The Intel® SSU defaults to the "Summary View" on the output screen following the scan. Click the menu where it says "Summary" to change to "Detailed View".
  • To save your scan, click Next and click Save.
  • Once you have saved the file (.txt file), please attach it to your reply.

To upload and attach a file, use the "Drag and drop here or browse files to attach" option below the response textbox.


Note: Since this is a new system and in case you don't have Windows* operating system (OS) installed yet, instead of the Intel® SSU report please provide the following details:

  • Computer's exact model:
  • Processor model/SKU:
  • BIOS version:
  • Chipset model:


Best regards,

Andrew G.

Intel Customer Support Technician


TekChicLaurie
Novice
2,213 Views

Andrew,

TekChicLaurie
Novice
2,221 Views

1. No, but as it's basically BIOS, they can't remote in. I did confirm it's running the latest version of RST with Intel's page and it's the latest version of Dell's BIOS.

2. The drives are both Crucial P2 2TB NVMe drives.

3. No other drives were connected.

4. The SSU report is attached.

I appreciate your help.

AndrewG_Intel
Moderator
2,214 Views

Hello TekChicLaurie

Thank you for your response.


Based on the pictures and the previous information that you shared, we understand that you have tried connecting the NVMe drives in the following orders:

  1. drive 1 in Slot 1 & drive 2 in Slot 2.
  2. drive 1 in Slot 1 and drive 2 in Slot 3'

Is this correct?


Based on the Intel® SSU report, we see that the computer model is "DELL* Precision 3650 Tower". Following the suggestion shared by @n_scott_pearson, we just reviewed the Precision 3650 Tower Setup and Specifications* and it says that "M.2 solid-state drive in slot 1 cannot build RAID disk with M.2 slot 2 and slot 3 M.2 solid-state drive". (refer to the bottom of page 20 in the document).

Have you tried a different Slot configuration as suggested by n_scott_pearson?


Please kindly verify this and let us know any feedback about testing different slots or if you have additional inquiries.


Best regards,

Andrew G.

Intel Customer Support Technician


AndrewG_Intel
Moderator
2,173 Views

Hello TekChicLaurie

Thank you for your feedback. We are glad to know that the RAID is now working fine with drive configuration in slots 2 & 3. Since the thread has been marked as "Solved" and there are no more questions, we will proceed to close it now.

If you need any additional information, please submit a new question as this thread will no longer be monitored.


Best regards,

Andrew G.

Intel Customer Support Technician


PrecWorkstnUser
New Contributor I
1,556 Views

Hi Andrew.  As you can see, I replied today 1/20/22 to TekChicLaurie. Since you are the Modeerator, and I can't be sure Laurie monitors this page, I'll address the questions to you as well.

As I said to her, I am but a humble user, without system support.  I have been looking high and low for a solution to the "create a RAID array" on my Dell 3650T.  No luck till I saw this thread and her post.  My machine has the same specs as hers (but my SSDs are only each 512GB).  

I have the service manual, and can see where the several M2 slots are located on the mother board, but which is slot 1, 2 and 3?  I can "guess" that the origaninal boot SSD is #1 (is tht correct?).  That the one "close by" is #2 (is that correct?), and the one on the other side of the board is #3 (correct?).  Your help would be appreciated, since I too want to use M2 #2 & 3 to create a RAID array.

Is there any is in having the newly created RAID array as the boot drive?  Whether I create a RAID 0 or a RAID 1 - DOES IT MATTER REGARDING BOOTING?

How do you configure the boot order in bios?  If Raid 0, if Raid 1?

THANK YOU-  THANK YOU

PS: Dell was no help to me. They wanted to sell me a $99 "software consult" on the issue of creating a raid array, which I knew was bogus.

PrecWorkstnUser
New Contributor I
1,541 Views

I just marked this topic as "NEW", I hope that worked to make it available to Laurie and Andrew!

Reply