• Storage Spaces or Intel Rapid Storage?

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    HARDWARE DIY By Will Fastie My plan to use Storage Spaces on Opal hit a speed bump. In my recent article Windows Storage Spaces (2023-05-22), I descri
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    • #2565489

      With RAID arrays in the tiniest of servers, the user simply opens the door of the drive bay, finds the tray with the blinking red light, pulls it, replaces the drive with a new one, slides the tray back in, closes the door, and walks away — all while the system is running. It’s too much to expect that degree of simplicity in an average PC, but it’s not too much to expect a similar behavior, with the exception that hot swap is not possible — the PC must be turned off to effect the drive swap.

      Not necessarily true.

      If you use one of the “hot swap” drive enclosures available from Icydock and your BIOS has a “hot swap” option for the SATA interfaces like the screenshot of your Asus motherboard shows yours does:


      It’s possible to have the same RAID “hot swap” capability on a standard PC.

      I’m currently using their ExpressCage MB324SP-B with three 2.5″ drives (two of which are set in the BIOS to “enable” hot swap) and haven’t encounter any problems with swapping in a different drive while the system was running.

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    • #2565520

      Not necessarily true.

      But true in a practical sense. I know that setting is there, you know it is there, but it’s also only in the Advanced section of the UEFI, where things are not obvious and one needs to know their way around. I chose to show the Advanced side when selecting the SATA mode, but there is a simpler switch on the “EZ” side of the ASUS UEFI.

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    • #2565523

      You were FAR too nice in your criticism of Microsoft.  Their STANDARD is to deploy a feature with a horrible interface, then refine it up to a mediocre interface as they get (IF they get) sufficient feedback from the unpaid users complaining about it.  That’s why there are SO many third party vendors and suppliers of interface enhancements to Windows.

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    • #2565571

      Intel RST initializes a new RAID 1 by clearing the contents of both drives to ensure that both drives are mirrors of each other. If you’re using new drives and are certain that both drives are blank, you can leave the Initialize box unchecked and the RAID 1 will be instantly created.

      Intel RST also allows you to convert a non-RAID disk into a RAID 1 by adding a similar or larger disk and letting it sync in the background for those 4 to 8 hours.

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    • #2565588

      If you’re using new drives and are certain that both drives are blank,

      Unfortunately, I had tried to use one of the new drives with Storage Spaces, and you’ve seen the black hole into which I drifted. So I knew that one of the drives was not blank. I didn’t have a choice.

    • #2565619

      I’m “old school” and wonder how the old Microsoft way of dynamic disks/raidxx fits into this?


    • #2566487

      Will, this is pretty disconcerting to see what you experienced trying to rebuild the array.

      Did you try adding the new drive to the pool in Storage Spaces as a new drive and deleting the “missing” one ?

      If you can’t replace a drive, it is pretty scary. I can’t believe this is the case. However, I am not surprised that these things are not tested properly, as they are now part of the mostly-marketing exclusive features of the little used Workstation version of Windows. But it’s also part of Windows server, so I guess it is not used much because you then use a hardware RAID, which is much better than either Intel or the Windows solution.

      I had problems with the Intel Raid solution on a few PCs where the array would suddenly becomes two independent disks and users continuing to work on one drive only without noticing anything, but running the risk of them writing some info on one drive and some other on the other one. Not nice.


    • #2566553

      Will, this is pretty disconcerting

      Imagine it from my end. Lucky I didn’t need to worry about the data.

      Did you try adding the new drive to the pool in Storage Spaces as a new drive and deleting the “missing” one?

      Sort of. As I noted, attempting to remove the “missing” drive didn’t work and I’m still not sure what that was all about. As for the new drive, it was recognized and was able to get it into my storage space, but the prompts about what would happen next were ambiguous. For example, at one point the space had three drives in it, including the missing one, and the prompt said that the array would be rebuilt, spreading the data over the three drives.

      As I say, lousy UI.

      I had problems with the Intel Raid solution

      I’ve found Intel RST to be reliable. After the experience with Storage Spaces, I had no hesitation reverting to RST.

    • #2569013

      Today I was working on finalizing the Opal build. One of the tasks is creating a massive backup of Onyx. I decided to use one of my 6TB Toshiba X300 Performance drives – you know, the ones I decided to no longer trust. I connected the drive to Onyx and it was not recognized.

      That led me into Disk Management, which showed the drive as containing a “Storage Spaces protected partition.” This means Windows specifically marks the drive that way. I could not find a way in Disk Management to change that, so I resorted to DiskPart in the command line to “clean” the partition. That did the trick, whereupon I was able to format the drive and assign a drive letter.

      But this also makes it apparent that the data cannot be read from the drive, even though it was half of a mirror. Once the partition is cleaned, that’s it.

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