Your Complete Guide on How to Setup a NVMe RAID Set
by Nathaniel Cooper, on Apr 6, 2021 12:22:42 AM
To enjoy a low-latency, high-bandwidth user experience, you’ll need to upgrade to a set of storage solutions. It is a modern-day specification that takes advantage of the nonvolatile memory across all computing environments.
Designed for SSD (solid-state drives), NVMe communicates between the storage interface and the System CPU using high-speed PCIe sockets, independent of storage form factor.
If you’re unfamiliar with this term and want to understand how the NVMe technology works, keep reading this blog for an in-depth guide on setting up your set.
What Does It Mean and How Does It Work on Computers?
RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks, combining several hard drives to increase performance. Depending on how your RAID is designed, it will increase your machine’s speed while giving you a single drive with enormous capacity. There are different RAID levels, for example, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 2, etc. Each RAID level offers different combinations of capacity, performance, reliability, and availability.
RAID functions on NVMe SSDs much like previous storage devices. Independent hardware vendors also support hardware acceleration based on cards. Usually, NVMe leverages the SSD technology using the “Submission and Completion Queue” mechanism.
RAID is the best solution. It gives you an additional throughput by allowing you to read and write data from multiple drives while ensuring round-the-clock uptime and availability. It enables you to handle the failure of one or more drives without data loss and, in many cases, without any downtime.
Listed below are the different NVMe RAID storage setups you can choose from:
- RAID 0 - This works great if your business needs enhanced performance. However, you may face data loss.
- RAID 1 - This is great if you want to increase data redundancy and read speeds. It is a cost-effective solution, offering higher uptime and increased backups).
- RAID 5 or 6 - Works great on web servers, high-read environments, or massive storage arrays as a single object.
- RAID 10 - Probably the best all-around storage setup. It provides additional read and writes speed as well as additional redundancy.
- NVMe Software RAID - This setup is highly recommended if you’re using local storage on a system. Software-based RAID can use the processing power of the system to handle RAID configuration.
- NVMe Hardware RAID - Hardware-based RAID requires a dedicated controller installed in the server. A hardware-based RAID card does all the RAID array(s) management, providing logical disks to the system with no overhead on the part of the system itself.
NVMe (nonvolatile memory express) is a next-generation solid-state drive (SSD) storage access and transport protocol that provides the maximum throughput and fastest response times for all forms of enterprise workloads. The NVMe protocol leverages parallel, low-latency data paths to the underlying media, similar to high-performance processor architectures, providing substantially higher efficiency and lower latencies than its predecessors (the SAS and SATA protocols).
Previously, using NVMe devices was limited to high-performance applications due to their high cost. But as these costs have started to subside, Enterprise’s ability to implement NVMe drives for conventional usage models has emerged. According to IDC, NVMe SSD volumes are fast becoming the chosen storage medium for data larger than 4TB.
What Are The Advantages of the RAID Set on Computers?
RAID Set is perfect as it helps save time. NVMe protocols, unlike older protocols designed for mechanical hard drives, cover solid-state storage and multicore CPUs while streamlining command sets to interpret and retrieve information efficiently.
Some of the notable benefits of the sets include:
- It offers better speed. NVMe is not affected by the ATA interface constraints as it sits directly on top of the PCI Express connected to the CPU. This results in 4-fold faster input/output operations per second (IOPs).
- It ensures unhindered performance. NVMe allows drives to access the same lane “pool” that connects directly to the CPU. This provides scalable efficiency by moving beyond the traditional four lanes found in most PCIe SSDs and using them for added performance.
- It is incredibly power-efficient. NVMe drives consume lower power in standby mode. Some NVMe companies have implemented the L1.2 low-power-consumption standby mode, meaning power consumption is less than 2mW.
- It is compatible with all operating systems (OS). Irrespective of form factor, NVMe interacts directly with the system CPU and operates with all major operating systems.
- It includes enterprise-grade security. NVMe SSDs strengthen industry-standard security solutions, such as the Trusted Computing Group’s Opal SSC and Enterprise SSC, by promoting security container commands similar to those found in SCSI.
NVMe storage is used in business environments where every microsecond counts, including:
- Finance, eCommerce, sales software, and other industries that rely on real-time customer interactions
- Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Advanced Analytics Apps, and Big Data
Step by Step Guide on How To Install The Set on Computers
Looking to install a RAID set on your computer. Before you begin, here are two essential things to check off of your list of to-dos:
- Prepare - Gather all the components you’ll need, such as the SSD, computer(s), user manuals, etc.
- Backup - Before you begin with the installation, make sure to save all of your essential data on an external drive or cloud storage.
Quick Tip: PCIe* NVMe*-based SSDs require specific hardware, BIOS, and driver support to be used as a boot device. NVMe SSD support and drivers are not available for Windows® 7.
Once you’ve backed up the data, follow these steps to configure it on your computer (if you don’t have a pre-installed SSD):
- Install the SSD
- Turn off your computer.
- Remove the battery and disconnect the power cable. If your device has a removable battery, hold the power button to drain any power left in the system after removing the battery.
- Open the computer’s cover and locate the M.2 PCIe slot. This slot is generally easy to locate on desktops, but the position can vary in laptops, normally under the bottom panel or keyboard. See your owner's manual for the exact location.
- Hold the new SSD carefully and insert it into the designated spot. Do not force-fit or overly tighten the accompanying screw.
- Once the SSD is in place, reconnect the battery and the power, then restart the device.
- Copy the data - In this phase, you’ll need to copy everything from your old drive to the new SSD. Depending on the volume of data, this may take anything between minutes to hours. Here’s how to do it:
- Download a copy/clone software
- Select source and destination drives
- Wait for the data to be copied successfully.
- Change your primary or boot drive.
Once all is copied, you'll need to tell your operating system to use your new SSD as the primary drive. This can be achieved by removing the old drive, prompting the machine to use the new drive.
Alternatively, if you are trying to make a volume using Intel® Virtual RAID on CPU (Intel® VROC), follow these straightforward steps:
- Use the onboard Optical Copper Connection (OCuLink)* connectors (or PCIe* switches/Retimer) to connect the NVMe* drives to the server board.
- Set your computer’s BIOS mode to UEFI. Then enter the BIOS mode and enable the appropriate CPU PCIe root ports.
- Go to the Advanced / PCI Configuration / Volume Management Device
- Enable the VMD OCuLink(s), save and reboot back to the BIOS.
- Once you see the BIOS screen, go to the Advanced / PCI Configuration / UEFI Option ROM Control menu. Locate and choose the option: Intel® Virtual RAID on CPU.
- Select All Intel VMD Controllers and select Create RAID Volume
Enterprises and agencies on the lookout for fast storage solutions will benefit immensely from setups. The unique features of NVMe help prevent bottlenecks from conventional scale-up database applications to evolving computing architectures and scale to meet new data demands.
If you look at the larger picture, you’ll realize that exponentially increasing data and demands from new applications will bog down SSDs sooner than expected. Even high-performance SSDs connected to legacy storage protocols will encounter lower performance, higher latencies, and poor service quality when faced with modern-day demands.
NVMe SSDs provide high IOP and low latency efficiency to be maintained when using data protection services like RAID. Hence, if you need the perfect combination of performance, availability, and reliability, it’s in your best interest to upgrade to NVMe RAID storage.
Still, confused if NVMe is right for your business?
Get in touch with a ProMax Systems expert to learn more about fast shared storage for video editing workflows.