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Beginner
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Upgrading an RAID0 / SSD boot volume with bigger disks ?

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Dear Intel Community Members / RST Experts,

 

few weeks ago, I submitted the following question to official Intel support:

=================

"at the BIOS level (UEFI), I have configured an array of 4 identical SSD(s) in RAID0 (software RAID), for a total of 1.8 TB space.
This is my only volume/partition, and my Windows 10 64 bit is booting on it.
Everything has been working fine during many years.
But now I am running out of space, no emergency, but I would like to take benefit of the huge drop in SSD price to upgrade to a 4 TB (at least) configuration.
Assuming that ALL my SATA ports are occupied, is there a safe procedure for me to 'clone' my current RAID disks set to a bigger one and boot without losing any data ?

can I simply clone (at the *physical* sector level) all the disks to bigger ones (using another system) and then put the new cloned disks in my system (in the same order), boot and expand the volume ?

or is it more complicated than that ?

(the previous smaller disks will not be altered in any ways, so I can always restore my system in previous state any time.)


Please advise."

====================

Unfortunately, I did not get a better answser than basically: do it at your own risk.

The Support people did mention the existence of specific metadata used by UEFI RAID firmware that can cause issues if not properly recognized, but without going into much details.

Now, for years I have been searching Internet for a definitive answser for such an upgrade procedure, and I find odd that by the time of asking my question here, I still cannot find one.

I believe RST/RAID0/SSD is a *GREAT* combination of technologies because thanks to SSD, the 'mechanical' and weak factor of HDD is off the equation, and I absolutely believe it is 99.99 % reliable. My system has never fault me since 2015.

So really, I would really appreciate if someone could actually share either his/her thoughts on the chance of success, or even better his/her knowledge if such operation has already be done succesfully.

what do you think ?

Please advise.

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Super User Retired Employee
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You are on the right track. There are two things to be taken into account. First, the position of the RST metadata is relative to the end of the drive and thus is in a different place on different size drives. Secondly, RAID0 data is stored in stripes. The position and size of the stripes is dependent upon the size of the drives used. Bottom line, a clone to larger drives just isn't going to work.

I too used Ghost for many years. I finally gave up on it as its compatibility with new technologies reduced its applicability. To be honest, I haven't done any backup and restoration of boot partitions in a while. In almost every case, I was doing major updates so was reinstalling Windows from scratch. At the same time, I have plenty (*many* terabytes!) of disk space online and do most backup and restore operations across my LAN.

For image-level backup and restore, @AlHill has recommended Macrium Reflect and I have started looking into it. Al has shared some emails with me where he details some of the issues -- like repair of the boot sector after an image restore -- and how he has established processes for handling them. He can answer any of your direct questions if you want to look at this product.

...S

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Super User Retired Employee
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If you have enough SATA ports to maintain both your old RAID array and the new RAID array, then you may simply clone from one array to another (at the volume level). If you do not have enough SATA ports, however, then you will need to use external (typically USB-based) storage to create an image backup of the contents of the old array, replace the old array with the new array and then restore the image backup to the new array. There is no way to clone the individual drives; I am not sure where you got that idea but it just doesn't work that way.

In more-modern systems, support is provided that will allow you to create a RAID array using NVMe SSDs. Intel RST does not support RAID arrays that involve a combination of NVMe SSDs and SATA SSDs/HDDs. You can, however, have one RAID array that utilizes (only) NVMe SSDs and other RAID array(s) utilizing (only) SATA HDDs/SSDs.

There is two exceptions to the above rules. First, you may include an Intel Optane M10 module (which is technically an NVMe device) and use it to accelerate (as a high-speed cache) the performance of a SATA HDD/SSD. While RAID arrays may coexist in a system that contains an Intel Optane M10 module, this module cannot be used to accelerate a RAID array. Second, you may have an Intel Optane H10 drive in your system and use its Optane memory portion to accelerate (as a high-speed cache for) the performance of the SSD portion of the drive. Note that only one M10 module or one H10 drive can be present in a system.

Next, let's talk about Intel SRT. The more-recent generations of the Intel RST software do not support Intel SRT (support for Intel SRT was removed in favor of support for Intel Optane). If you are using an older generation of the Intel RST software, however, you can use Intel SRT to enable all or a portion of a SATA SSD as a high-speed cache for a SATA drive or RAID volume. If the SATA SSD is larger than 64GB, you can create a RAID0 array using the remainder of the drive space. I have a paper (attached) that describes both how you can use this capability and how you can install Windows in this remaining drive space.

That's everything. Let me know of you have any additional questions,

...S

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Beginner
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There is two exceptions to the above rules. First, you may include an Intel Optane M10 module (which is technically an NVMe device) and use it to accelerate (as a high-speed cache) the performance of a SATA HDD/SSD. While RAID arrays may coexist in a system that contains an Intel Optane M10 module, this module cannot be used to accelerate a RAID array. Second, you may have an Intel Optane H10 drive in your system and use its Optane memory portion to accelerate (as a high-speed cache for) the performance of the SSD portion of the drive. Note that only one M10 module or one H10 drive can be present in a system.

 
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Beginner
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Hi Scott,

 

Thanks very much for your comprehensive response on the various options offered by RST technology.

Therefore allow me to follow up on my specific request.

My motherboard is an ASRock Q170M vPro (https://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Q170M%20vPro/index.asp) "Skylake" generation, and only has 6 x SATA ports, 4 of which are used for my RAID0 array.

So I confirm I cannot mount another 4 x SSD RAID0 array and proceed with a clone operation at the RAID Volume level.

Regarding the backup/restore operation that everybody is advocating, I confirm I have a personnal *bias* against backup/restore operation on a Windows boot operation for 2 main reasons:

- I never tried such a backup/restore operation on Windows boot partition in my entire life, therefore I never had any evidence that all the data is restored correctly

- even if this could work, I am not sure which software to use for this one shot operation

Now you wrote "There is no way to clone the individual drives; I am not sure where you got that idea but it just doesn't work that way."

Well, I am old enough to have used the infamous "Symantec Ghost" utility.

I still remember the days where once in a while, I was purchasing a bigger HDD, and then all I have to do is to boot on my DOS floppy disk, run "Ghost", clone the disk at the sector level ('ghost' could even adjust the partition table), and reboot on my Windows Workstation 2000 without any complaint.

The predicate back then is that all the data + metadata were stored on the HDD and therefore everything was  'possible'.

And my personnal *bias* against backup/restore operation on *any* kind of OS bottable partition is probably from that old era.

I hear you when you write "it just doesn't work that way" but for sake a mutual understanding, could you please elaborate a bit more without infringing any Intel's intellectual property right ?

is it because the specific RST RAID metadata are not stored on the disk themselves ? or partially stored ? or something else ?

For sake of comprehensiveness, let's imagina another use case, let's imagine that my MOBO had a issue, and must be replaced.

Could  I simply plug back my current RST/RAID0 volume is a different MOBO (same model or why not newer model) and expect the RST/UEFI bios to recognize it and boot ?

or even such scenerio would have failed anyway  ?

Please advise.

Hassan

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Highlighted
Super User Retired Employee
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You are on the right track. There are two things to be taken into account. First, the position of the RST metadata is relative to the end of the drive and thus is in a different place on different size drives. Secondly, RAID0 data is stored in stripes. The position and size of the stripes is dependent upon the size of the drives used. Bottom line, a clone to larger drives just isn't going to work.

I too used Ghost for many years. I finally gave up on it as its compatibility with new technologies reduced its applicability. To be honest, I haven't done any backup and restoration of boot partitions in a while. In almost every case, I was doing major updates so was reinstalling Windows from scratch. At the same time, I have plenty (*many* terabytes!) of disk space online and do most backup and restore operations across my LAN.

For image-level backup and restore, @AlHill has recommended Macrium Reflect and I have started looking into it. Al has shared some emails with me where he details some of the issues -- like repair of the boot sector after an image restore -- and how he has established processes for handling them. He can answer any of your direct questions if you want to look at this product.

...S

View solution in original post

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Highlighted
Beginner
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Hi Scott,

I think your explanations  convinced that 'basic' cloning at sector level is simply not applicable for my use case.

Thanks

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Super User
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@Hassan-O Please disregard the response from @ryadd .  He is a spammer and has been reported.

 

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