AMD host RAID technology is capable of RAID levels 0, 1, 5, 10 and JBOD; host RAID is also known as 'BIOS-aware software RAID', when there is RAID capability/logic integrated into the motherboard that use the systems memory and processing power as apposed to a dedicated RAID controller card that has its own processing chip, memory and firmware logic.
This guide goes through the process of creating and managing RAID volumes using both the AMD RAID Utility which is accessed on computer start up and using the RAIDXpert application from within the operating system. For RAID email notification setup please see this knowledgebase article.
AMD RAID Utility:
The RAID utility is fairly straight forward as creating a Logical Disk is a linear procedure.
1) Press CTRL+F when prompted on startup to enter the utilityAMD RAIDXpert:
2) Navigate the main menu using the numbers for each section; 1 will bring you to the Drive details page. Here you can see which RAID volume/Logical Disk a drive is assigned to as well as other specific drive details. You are also able to erase a selected drive by entering CTRL+H and specifying the number of passes to make on the drive. Press escape to return to the main menu.
3) Menu 2 is where you create RAID volumes; it makes you enter the details in order so it should be fairly simple. Use up/down to change between the different settings and space bar to change the value of the selected setting. Select the RAID type you want; leave Fast Init on if you do not want to wait a long time for it to fully initialize; Gigabyte Boundary rounds the volume down to the nearest Gigabyte so it’s up to you whether you want to enable it or not; Cache Mode is Write-Thru by default and in most cases you will not be able to change it. Change the N to a Y next to the drives you want to use for this volume then press CTRL+Y to save the volume. There will then be a few prompts you have to go through: first it will ask you to press CTRL+Y to set a custom name; it might ask you to press CRTL+Y to confirm the deletion of the MBR, this would be a good idea if you are creating a new volume; it will also ask you to press CTRL+Y to change the volume size, by default it is the maximum available space.
You are also able to press CTRL+V in this menu to see a list of drives that aren’t assigned to a RAID volume and press enter on a volume to see more details about it
4) Menu 3 is where you delete Logical Disks, not too much to add here as it is rather basic: press delete when selecting the drive you want to delete then confirm deletion.
5) Menu 4 shows you details about the RAID device itself, things like the IRQ number. This page isn’t normally that important.
For specific information on settings and procedures go to the Help page at the top right of the RAIDXpert interface as it is concise and contains information on every part of the application.
1) RAIDXpert uses a web GUI its layout is shown below:Special Notes:
The top menu contains options related to the user interface such as language, contact information, logout, help and show/hide event. Choosing to show event will split the Main Page into two sections with the bottom half showing the event log and the top half showing whatever configuration page you are currently on.
2) The Administrative Tools are for configuration of the RAIDXpert application. Inside User Management you can create, edit and delete users; it is mandatory for each user to have a login ID and password, optionally they can also have a display name and an email address used for notifications. Each user has their permissions set here, the permissions include: Creation Rights, Deletion Rights, Maintenance Rights and Notification Rights which apply to the various tasks you can perform inside RAIDXpert.
3) Host Management shows the host machine, click it’s name to bring up it’s details which include IP Address and hostname, the current version of RAIDXpert and the current version of Java Virtual Machine that was installed with RAIDXpert.
4) Utility Management is where you mail server details for notification setup. Try and use a valid email address as the sender to prevent potential issues with the mail server. Enabling the Simplified Backup checkbox will cause it to offer to backup Raid Ready logical devices from time to time, these are just plain single disk volumes with no redundancy. Enabling the System Event Notification will produce notification messages on the host PC’s desktop.
5) The Tree View on the side menu is where you can see information about and configure the controller and the physical/logical disks on your system. In the Controller page you can see the controller’s name, driver version, number of ports it has and the maximum number of physical/ logical drives it can support. In the controller settings tab you can allocate system resource usage for background tasks RAIDXpert performs such as Rebuild, Media Patrol, Synchronisation and so on. There are also some other basic controller settings that you can choose to enable. The Schedule tab of the controller page has a list of all currently scheduled tasks and from here you are able to delete any you no longer wish to run.
6) Under the Physical Drive page you can see important drive information such as what logical volume the disk is assigned to and its status; there are also the Merge and Media Patrol tabs. When a single physical drive’s capacity is used in multiple logical volumes it becomes logically split; when the logical volumes are deleted this split still remains so from the Merge tab you are able to reunite the portions back into a single drive.
Media Patrol is a process that checks the physical media of the drives sector by sector and attempts to fix any bad sectors. Media Patrol checks all drives apart from new unassigned drives and those assigned as JBOD. It can be performed on a single drive or all physical drives and it can be performed on demand or on a schedule.
7) Other Drive View shows information on things such as DVD Drives
8) Logical Drive View, much the same as Physical Drive View, is where you can view information about Logical Drives and perform or schedule various tasks. Here you can create, delete, rename, initialize new volumes, migrate, rebuild and perform maintenance tasks on the logical drives.
Migration is where you either change the RAID level or add more capacity to a logical volume; this can be done manually or set to be done on a schedule, at night for example, so as to not effect file access speeds during work hours. RAIDXpert will show you which RAID levels you are able to change a selected logical volume to depending on what spare drives are present, for example to change a RAID 0 volume on 3 drives to a RAID 1 volume you would need 3 spare drives of the same size match the current logical volume's capacity
Rebuilding occurs when a volume has become degraded due to a failed harddrive or something similar, you can choose to rebuild the volume using another functional drive. You can set RAIDXpert to rebuild a volume automatically upon RAID degradation as long as there are available hot-swap drives. Important maintenance tasks include Synchronisation and Redundancy Checking. Synchronisation is the process of checking and correcting both data and parity on a logical volume, Redundancy Checking just checks the data and parity and reports any inconsistencies instead of fixing them. Both can be set on a schedule as a routine maintenance task.
9) Spare drive view shows physical drives that have not been assigned to anything yet. Here you can assign them as Hot-Swap drives which means they can be used to rebuild degraded volumes. Also you can choose to make they drive available to any logical volume that needs it or dedicate it to one specific volume.
- A newly added physical drive needs to be turned into a hot-spare drive before it can be used to rebuild a degraded volume. For example say a 2 disk RAID 1 volume becomes degraded and you remove the failed drive but upon testing it it seems fine. When you reinsert it it will show up as another drive and logical volume so to make the original RAID volume rebuild you need to wipe the reinserted drive and turn it into a hot-spare.
- Using the automated and scheduled features of RAIDXpert you could produce a fairly robust data protection plan as far as host RAID setups go.