How to Configure RAID/JBOD on the new VPCZ1 Series with SSD

Discussion in 'VAIO / Sony' started by ZoinksS2k, Mar 14, 2010.

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  1. ZoinksS2k

    ZoinksS2k Notebook Virtuoso

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    How to Setup - RAID Volumes

    BEFORE CONTINUING WITH THIS POST, BACKUP YOUR DATA AND CREATE RECOVERY DISKS IF YOU DECIDE TO DO THIS!! DID I MENTION MAKING RECOVERY DISKS AND BACKUPS? GOOD!

    RAID 0 as defined from this Wikipedia Article
    You can get a good visual representation of what the various RAID options look like in this section of the same article.

    Lastly, this portion of the article explains the type of RAID functionality provided by Intel in the VPCZ1's firmware/driver-based RAID system, also know as SoftRAID or FakeRAID.

    RAID in the new VPCZ1 (Second Generation Z Series)
    RAID 0 is the default configuration on all known second generation Sony Z's with SSD's and optical drives. If this sounds like you, no change is necessary if you want to keep RAID 0 or like the volume size. If you want to break the RAID 0 set to JBOD, read on or skip to the next post.

    NOTE!!! Some systems sold internationally have traditional hard drives with no optical drive. If this sounds like your configuration, none of this will work. If you put an SSD in your 2nd gen Sony with aftermarket drives from companies like Intel, OCZ, or Samsung, some of this may work but hasn't been tested by me. Hopefully somebody can comment to this.

    RAID Controller Setup - Option 1 - Create/rebuild one or more RAID 0 (Stripe) Volume(s)
    Choose this option if you want to re-initialize your current RAID 0 volume(s) or create new ones.

    !!THIS PROCESS WILL DESTROY ALL DATA ON YOUR SSD DRIVE!!

    1. Boot into the BIOS using F2, select "Get Default Values"
    2. Under the Advanced section, set "RAID Configuration" to "Show"
    3. Reboot and select CRTL-I to enter the Intel Option ROM
    4. Press "2" to delete a RAID volume
    5. Select the RAID volume you want to delete/recreate with the arrow keys. If no Volumes exist, an error will display. "There are no volumes available to delete" Your drives are ready to be joined to a new RAID volume. Press the space bar and continue to step 9
    6. Hit Delete key to remove the selected volume
    7. Press Y to PERMENANTLY DESTROY THE VOLUME AND ALL DATA
    8. Repeat steps 4-7 if you have other RAID volumes you want to remove/recreate
    9. Press "1" to create a new volume
    10. Name: Type in a name for your new volume or leave the default name. Hit tab to continue.
    11. RAID Level: Hit TAB again to move to the next selection (RAID 0 is the only option on my machine)
    12. Option 1 - Select Disks: (grey text) If you only have two SSD drives available, they will be automatically selected and you will move to "Strip Size:" Skip to step 13.
    13. Option 2 - Select Disks: (white text) If you have three or four drives available, you will be able to select two or more disks. You must select 2 or more to create a RAID 0 volume. Hit tab to continue
    14. Strip Size: Use the arrow keys to select your "Strip Size." This is also known as Stripe Size. 128KB is default (see notes). Hit tab to continue.
    15. Capacity: Set the size of your RAID volume in GB (see notes). Hit tab to continue
    16. Create Volume: Confirm your selections and hit ENTER to save the changes
    17. Return to step 4 if you wish to create additional volumes
    18. Press "ESC" to exit if you are done
    19. Press "Y" to confirm and reboot the system
    Notes:
    Strip Size - This size will likely be a source of much debate. Stick with the recommended 128KB if you are unsure what size to use. Be advised that you will have to delete the volume, and the data contained on it, to change the size later.

    Capacity - This is the size, in gigabytes, of your new RAID Volume. In my testing, I was able to select a number below the full capacity. I chose 50GB for testing as seen in this screenshot. Read on for a massive caveat....

    [​IMG]

    If you stop here, exit the BIOS and run the Windows 7 installer, you will only see the 50GB volume you configured. The extra 69.2GB that was unallocated is left unavailable and can't be used in Windows.

    Bad thing is, while logical, that 69.2GB space isn't available when you install or restore Windows. I tried to force it by reinstalling the Sony storage driver and downloaded an older version from Intel. I could not find a way to add a new RAID volume from within windows.

    [​IMG]

    Good news,
    When you create a secondary RAID volume in the Intel Option Rom, you can re-present the unallocated space and allow Windows to see it BUT, I was only able to create two volumes. You can give it a name, set the "Strip Size" and that's it. The "RAID Level" is still locked at RAID 0 and the "Capacity" section is greyed-out, forcing you to use whatever is left over. Doesn't look like three volumes is an option with a 2xSSD setup. But then again, why would you?

    Lastly, in what has to be a left over from the administratively disabled RAID 1 (mirroring) functionality, there is a new section called "Sync" that is also grey and can't be modified.

    [​IMG]

    Once created, the new volume is available to Windows after a reboot.

    [​IMG]

    Last note on "Capacity," system images taken with Windows Backup do not work on volumes SMALLER than the backup. If you have a 75GB OS and back it up with the system image tool in Windows and set your RAID volume to 70GB, the restore will fail! The Windows 7/Vista tool will not resize the partition. 3rd party tools can succussfully accomplish this. I used Ghost 15 to restore a 119GB image to the 50GB example volume I used in this post. (The Ghost .V2i data file size was 17GB)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2015
  2. ZoinksS2k

    ZoinksS2k Notebook Virtuoso

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    How to Setup - Independent\JBOD Drives

    BEFORE CONTINUING WITH THIS POST, BACKUP YOUR DATA AND CREATE RECOVERY DISKS IF YOU DECIDE TO DO THIS!! DID I MENTION MAKING RECOVERY DISKS AND BACKUPS? GOOD!

    The acronym JBOD stands for, litteraly, "Just a Bunch Of Disks." This means that when you configure the internal SSD's in this mode, each of the 2, 3 or 4 drives will function independently

    Wikipedia defines JBOD as:
    I won't talk to concatenation in this post, but the first bullet point does explain the concept.

    RAID Controller Setup - Option 2 - JBOD or independent disk configuration
    Choose this option if you want your SSD's to function like multiple drives. For example, the 512GB SSD RAID 0 volume in the VPCZ11FHX/XQ would show up as four seperate 128GB drives when installing Windows or Linux after following these steps.

    !!THIS PROCESS MAY DESTROY ALL DATA ON YOUR SSD DRIVE!!

    1. Boot into BIOS using F2, select "Get Default Values"
    2. Under the Advanced section, set "RAID Configuration" to "Show"
    3. Reboot and select CRTL-I to enter the Intel Option ROM
    4. Press "2" to delete a RAID volume
    5. Select the RAID volume you want to delete with the arrow keys. If no Volumes exist, an error will display. "There are no volumes available to delete" Your drives are already seperated and configured. Press the space bar and continue to step 9
    6. Hit Delete key to remove the selected volume
    7. Press Y to PERMENANTLY DESTROY THE VOLUME AND ALL DATA
    8. Repeat steps 4-7 if you have other RAID volumes you want to remove/recreate
    9. Press "ESC" to exit if you are done
    10. Press "Y" to confirm and reboot the system

    Your Intel Option ROM should look something like this, with "RAID Volumes" saying "None defined."

    [​IMG]

    I was able to restore the test OS build to a single drive with Norton Ghost. Worked perfectly. This means a Sony-build installed on a RAID 0 Volume CAN be copied to a single drive. I have no reason to doubt this wouldn't work for a cleanly install OS as well.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2015
  3. sshe11

    sshe11 Notebook Consultant

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    Awesome! Great instructions zoinks! +rep
     
  4. ZoinksS2k

    ZoinksS2k Notebook Virtuoso

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    New:

    If you have data on your JBOD drives, use them to create a RAID 0 Volume in the Intel Option ROM, then delete the volume, the data on the drives is erased.

    This probably falls in the "duh, what did you expect" category, but I was able to physically confirm it.
     
  5. nutman

    nutman Notebook Consultant

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    Excellent work Zoinks!
    I am sure it will be thoroughly appreciated by everyone.
    And thank you for making my life less complicated as I was planning to document the process once my Z (signature series) arrives.
    But since that one has 4x128GB SSDs you may have to append that new information to your excellent instructions.
    Again, Thank you!

    EDIT: yes, that's how it works.
    Some mod better make this a sticky!!!
     
  6. gammaknife

    gammaknife Notebook Consultant

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    Awesome zoinks! Thanks... mods please make this a sticky. Zoinks...you can add any revisions to the first post as you find new things:cool:
     
  7. ZoinksS2k

    ZoinksS2k Notebook Virtuoso

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    Sure thing
     
  8. arth1

    arth1 a҉r҉t҉h

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    Multi-booting several operating systems, for example. Especially if they're Microsoft operating systems and have to have their own boot+system partitions that can't be on an extended partition.
     
  9. ZoinksS2k

    ZoinksS2k Notebook Virtuoso

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    Agreed. Guess I find 119GB of storage a bit small. Two volumes, sure but three or more gets tiny real quick. Spoiled, I suppose.
     
  10. ponx

    ponx Notebook Consultant

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    So Zoinks, did u achieve SSD saturation and performance degradation at all..? If not, does that mean there is some hidden GC goin on in there..?

    Also, are we now certain that TRIM cannot be used in JBOD configuration because Windows will not be using the AHCI driver..?
     
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