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RAID and Intel Rapid Storage Technology (RST) -- Confused


CraigJConrad
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Hi!  I have an ASUS Sabertoot Z77 with Windows Server 2008R2.  ASUS doesn't officially support Server versions on this motherboard, but I've been running it successfully 24x7 for over two years (with credit to Joe_Miner for info that got my ethernet working!).  It was set up for two RAID arrays:  A RAID 1 (mirror) with SSD drives for booting, and another RAID 1 (mirror) with a pair of 4TB SATA drives for data (single drive letter).  The RAID driver appearing in Device Manager for the controller is "iaStor.sys 11.1.0.1006 02/01/2012".

 

I never had Intel's RST (Rapid Storage Technology) installed, so I don't have the Windows GUI application to let me see the RAID or make changes to it -- I only have access via BIOS.

 

Last week, I replaced the pair of 4TB drives with new 6TB drives and created the RAID in the BIOS.  I then attached one of the old drives to another controller port and re-booted into 2008R2.  There I setup the new drives, formatted, etc, then copied (via RoboCopy) everything from my old drive to the new RAID.  Once completed, I removed the old drive.

 

Everything has been fine as far as I can tell, but I would really like to be able to see the RAID's state while in Windows 2008R2.  Then it occurred to me -- how do I really know that the RAID is working at all?  So, here are my questions:

  1. Does the BIOS setup actually implement the RAID, i.e., do both drives truly have a mirror of one another already?
  2. If the RAID failed, would I get a message I would see in the OS, or only if I go into BIOS?  I know that if I had RST I would get a clear message in the lower-right of the desktop (I have RST on another system, so I am familiar with it), and could then go into RST GUI to see details.
  3. If I installed RST, would I just use the material from ASUS (running the setup.exe, not ASUS's AsusSetup.exe so that I avoid ASUS blocking the install due to the OS not being supported)?  Or, should I use the latest SetupRST.exe from the Intel site?
  4. Does installing RST upgrade the controller *driver* (e.g. from iaStor.sys to isStorA.sys), or does it just install the GUI utility?
  5. Remembering that my boot RAID pair and my data RAID pair are on this board, is there any real risk of losing access to my drives (especially the boot drive)?

I would really like to have RST, but not if it will create more problems in the process and if the BIOS RAID itself is truly implementing RAID without the use of RST.

 

Thanks in advance for any help.

 

Craig

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Intel's website should have the RST driver even if not supported by asus so it will alert you on raid conditions and even can be set to email you if a drive has failed.   I have used this set up in lab equipment where we mirror an OS Drive so in case of failure I can easily get alerted and the system repaired prior to the second drive failing and having to get vendors out to reset up the software for the lab equipment (Direct readers and Masspec mainly)

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HSS -- thanks for the reply!  I think you've answered #3 for me in that I should get the drivers & utility from Intel and not bother with the ASUS-distributed ones.  Do you (or anyone else) possibly know the answers to #1 & #2, which relate to my current configuration having only the BIOS RAID setup, and not the RST?  E.g., does having the BIOS RAID configured alone (no RST) give me a mirror, or have I been under the false hope that I already have one?  And, if I do (no RST), how do I know that the RAID hasn't failed and is still in good health?

 

Thank you again ...

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