How to set up RAID10 on LSI MegaRAID controllers

Background

I ordered a new server with four 2TB drives for a client. At first I considered arraying them as RAID5 with a hot spare, but reconsidered when the benefits of OBR10 (one big RAID10) came to light. For this client, RAID10 is an appropriate balance between performance, speed and disk space.

When booting into the “WebBIOS” for the RAID card, it wasn’t readily apparent how to configure RAID10. For those in a similar boat, here’s how to do it.

Words of Caution

  1. Carefully consider your virtual drive layout. Making changes to virtual drives later will erase all data on the array. It’s much better to think it through and get it right the first time.
  2. Consider whether or not your server’s BIOS supports booting to GPT partitions; surprisingly, mine didn’t, even with the most recent firmware. If you don’t know what GPT or EFI is, research these terms before proceeding.
  3. Since my server’s firmware does not support booting to GPT partitions, I decided to set up two virtual drives: a 100GB system drive to be partitioned with MBR for hosting my Hyper-V host, and the rest as a data drive formatted with GPT. GPT is helpful because it supports partitions larger than 2TiB.
  4. Note: If you’re also creating two virtual disks, carefully consider current and future space requirements for your system disk. It will be difficult or impossible to expand later without destroying the array and starting from scratch. It’s best to overestimate than underestimate! Also consider that Server 2012 R2 expects at least 50GiB on its system partition, although it will function with less.

How to Do It

  1. Press Ctrl+H during POST to get into the WebBIOS utility

  2. You should see something like this, with an entry for all your drives:

  • Backplane

  • Slot: 0, SATA, HDD, 1.818 TB, Unconfigured Good

  • Slot: 1, SATA, HDD, 1.818 TB, Unconfigured Good

  • Slot: 2, SATA, HDD, 1.818 TB, Unconfigured Good

  • Slot: 3, SATA, HDD, 1.818 TB, Unconfigured Good

  1. It’s helpful to have a mouse. If you don’t, keyboard navigation is possible by using Alt to highlight entries and space to select them. The alt key is underlined in black for the given option. For example, to start the Configuration Wizard, press Alt + O + Space.

  2. Start the Configuration Wizard.

  3. Select New Configuration.

  4. This will prompt you with a warning that says it will clear the configuration. Select Yes.

  5. Select Manual Configuration.

  6. In the Drives list, highlight Slot 0 and select Add To Array.

  7. Likewise, highlight Slot 1 and select Add To Array.

  8. Select Accept DG.

  9. In the Drives list, highlight Slot 2 and select Add To Array.

  10. Likewise, highlight Slot 3 and select Add To Array.

  11. Select Accept DG.

  12. Select Next.

  13. Select Add to SPAN twice. Drive Group:0 and DriveGroup:1 should appear in the Span list.

  14. Select Next.

  15. Unless you know exactly what they mean, leave all options default.

  16. Note that RAID 10 appears in the RAID Level box.

  17. Under Select Size, choose the size for your first virtual drive. If you want only one virtual drive using all available space, select Update Size. In my case, I want to create a 100GB drive, with an additional drive taking up the rest of the space.

  18. Select Accept.

  19. Most people should select Yes at the prompt about Write Back with BBU (battery backup). If you have only one virtual drive, the wizard is complete and you can exit the WebBIOS.

  20. If you need to add another virtual drive, select Back.

  21. Select Add to SPAN once. This will automatically add both Drive Groups to the Span list.

  22. Select Next.

  23. Select Update Size to automatically add all available remaining space for the second virtual drive.

  24. Select Accept.

  25. Select Yes again at the Write Back with BBU prompt.

  26. Select Next.

  27. Select Accept at the Configuration Preview page.

  28. Select Yes when prompted to save this configuration.

  29. If you have an available SSD to add as a cache, you can add it now. Otherwise select Cancel.

  30. Select Yes at the prompt which says all data on the new Virtual Drives will be lost.

  31. After initializing, you should see something like this in the Virtual Drives list:

  • VD0: RAID10: 100GB: Optimal

  • VD1: RAID10: 3.540GB: Optimal

All set!

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