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SATA devices disappear from BIOS when set up as RAID.

kylclrk

29 months ago

I have the MSI - B350 TOMAHAWK ATX AM4 Motherboard and I'm trying to set up RAID 1. I have two 4TB drives and a 250GB SSD. The SSD will be used for the operating system (Note that I'm installing VMWare ESXi, but I think that's irrelevant to the problem).

I've gone into the bios, set it from AHCI mode to RAID mode, rebooted and successfully got into the RAID controller and set up my array. But there's a problem now:

When I go in to set up my operating system, it fails to recognize ANY storage device other than USB drives. From here, I exit the installation and go back into my BIOS. I'm noticing that the BIOS doesn't see any of my SATA connections, not even my SSD which isn't set up in an array. So obviously, since my BIOS can't see any of the devices, neither will the operating system, correct?

I'm thinking that since I set up my storage method in the BIOS to the array, it basically just points any SATA devices to the RAID controller, but then the RAID controller doesn't point anything back to the BIOS. It should also be noted that in the RAID controller, the SSD is kind of set up as a "non-array." So, all three drives are being seen from the RAID controller, but not in my BIOS.

Hopefully all of that makes sense.

UPDATE

Okay, so I switched back to AHCI mode in BIOS and installed the OS on the SSD. After that, I switched back to RAID mode and saw that my array was still set up. I've successfully booted into the OS, but I'm still unable to see any of my storage devices from within the OS or BIOS. A 4TB array does me no good if I can't use it, haha.

UPDATE #2

Okay, so I guess I can actually see the array in the BIOS now (in the boot priority, but nowhere else). This means that the BIOS is detecting the array and probably reporting it correctly to the OS, but I'm guessing that the OS needs a driver for my RAID controller. I'll update once I manage to install a driver (hopefully there is one for ESXi...).

UPDATE #3

I was unable to find a driver for the on-board RAID controller. So, now I'm considering setting up FreeNAS in a VM, then setting up a software RAID. My only issue with this is - if my FreeNAS OS gets corrupted or the SSD fails, will that software RAID be okay once I get everything back up and running? I'd like to be able to install other VMs on the RAID volume. I think it would be okay, to be honest. If either drive fails, I simply replace the drive, then create a new datastore in ESXi and attach the new datastore to FreeNAS, and from there I should be able to repair the array.

Thoughts?

Comments

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

I'd suggest

  • reading the RAID guide from the manufacturer's website.
  • installing all the appropriate drivers pay special attention to the RAID driver
  • in general, read the manuals and info published by the manufacturer of the product you purchase.

When you create a RAID array in the BIOS/UEFI, you won't see 2 disks in the OS anymore, just a single drive as the chipset hides the fact how many drives the RAID array consists of. Rather displays it as a single drive.

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the tips. I've given up on hardware RAID because I'm 99% positive that this is actually a driver issue and I was unable to find a driver for ESXi. Not surprising really, since ESXi is meant to be used in data centers and they don't really care about consumers as much. I actually had to make a custom ISO for the installation media because ESXi wouldn't allow me to complete the installation without a network driver (which was included in the custom ISO).

Hadn't done hardware RAID before, so this was a good experience. It's too bad that I have to stick with software RAID, but oh well.

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

I run 2 RAID in my office PC. One hardware RAID on SATA HDDs. One software raid on M.2 PCIe SSDs (as the chipset can't support RAID over NVMe). It worked fine for me. I know, different chipset, different manufacturer...

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