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Comparison of Intel® ESRT2 and Intel® RST (Matrix) RAID

Intel® Embedded Server RAID Technology II and Intel® Rapid Storage Technology (Matrix RAID) are both embedded chipset versions of RAID provided on Intel® Server Boards. Some server boards provide both RAID types. This document describes differences and configuration information for both RAID types.

Content
Intel® Embedded Server RAID Technology II

Intel® Rapid Storage Technology (formerly Intel® Matrix RAID)
ESRT2 and RST (Matrix) RAID Configuration
Comparison

Intel® Embedded Server RAID Technology II

Intel® Embedded Server RAID Technology II (ESRT2) is host-based RAID that utilizes the chipset, processor(s), and memory of the server board to provide RAID modes 0, 1, and 10. RAID 5 is available with an optional Intel® RAID Activation Key AXXRAKSW5.

ESRT2 first came available on S5000 and S3200 chipset based Server Systems as part of the Enterprise South Bridge 2 (ESB2) and LSI* 1064e chipset on some models of Intel® server boards.

ESB2 supports SATA mode only. LSI* SAS chipsets provide SATA (Serial ATA) and SAS support. Not all SAS server boards provide Intel® Embedded Server RAID Technology II modes. See the server board Technical Product Specification for features and capabilities of specific server boards.

Also see the RAID and Storage options available on S5000 and S3200 based Server Systems and RAID and storage options available on S5520 and S5500 based Server Systems documents for more information.

ESRT2 is limited to a maximum of eight drives including hot spare(s).

Refer to the Intel® RAID Software User's Guide for details, including configuration and array maintenance, on Intel® Embedded Server RAID Technology II.

Intel® Rapid Storage Technology (formerly Intel® Matrix RAID)

Intel® Rapid Storage Technology (formerly Intel® Matrix RAID) is a firmware RAID that provides levels of protection, performance, and expandability. Data can be protected against a hard drive failure when the system is configured for any one of three fault-tolerant RAID levels: RAID 1, 5 or 10. When the failed drive is removed and a replacement hard drive is installed, data fault tolerance is easily restored.

The mother board chipset provides support for Intel® RST (Matrix) RAID, providing integrated RAID functionality. Intel® RST (Matrix) RAID provides RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 functionality on up to six SATA ports of the mother board Platform Controller Hub (PCH). Matrix RAID first appeared in the Intel Controller Hub ICH6R "Southbridge" chip. The 'R' at the end of the Southbridge name indicates the Southbridge contains the Matrix RAID technology. See the server board Technical Product Specification for capabilities and features of specific server boards.

Intel® RST (Matrix) RAID support is provided to allow multiple RAID levels to be combined on a single set of hard drives, such as RAID 0 and RAID 1 on two disks. Other RAID features include hot spare support, SMART alerting, and RAID 0 auto replace. Software components include an Option ROM for pre-boot configuration and boot functionality, a Microsoft Windows* compatible driver, and a user interface to configure and manage the RAID capability of the chipset.

An advantage of Intel® RST is that it provides RAID 5 in Windows* at no additional cost.

Currently Linux is not supported in Intel® Rapid Storage Technology (Intel® RST) RAID. Plans are to provide Linux support in a future release of Intel® RST.

Refer to the Reference documents for use of Intel® RST (Matrix) Storage Console for details, including configuration and array maintenance, on Intel® RST (Matrix) RAID and How do I set up a system with matrix RAID? .

Configuration

ESRT2 and Intel® RST (Matrix) RAID must be enabled in the server system BIOS before it is available. This configuration option can be found in the system BIOS under Advanced > Mass Storage or ATA Controller Configuration (depending on server board used). To access BIOS configuration, press F2 during POST. After making configuration changes, save the changes and reboot.

  • When enabled, ESRT2 RAID BIOS configuration is entered by pressing <ctrl> + E during POST.
  • When enabled, Intel® RST (Matrix) RAID BIOS configuration is entered by pressing <ctrl> + I during POST.

ESRT2 and Intel® RST (Matrix) RAID use different operating system drivers.

  • The ESRT2 driver is typically described as: Intel® ESRT-2 SATA & SAS Software RAID driver. The driver name begins with “ESRT2”.
  • The Intel® RST (Matrix) driver is typically described as: AHCI SATA Storage Driver & Matrix RAID Driver. The driver name begins with “Intel® RST”.

Comparison

Both ESRT2 and Intel® RST (Matrix) RAID could be considered “software” RAID. See the Comparing Intel® Hardware and Software RAID solutions document for the architectural differences between software and hardware RAID.

This applies to:

Intel® Server Board S1200BT
Intel® Server Board S3200SH
Intel® Server Board S3420GP
Intel® Server System P4304BT
Intel® Server System R1304BT
Intel® Server System SR1530SH
Intel® Server System SR1630GP
Intel® Server System SR1630HGP
Intel® Server System SR1695GPRX

Solution ID: CS-032032
Last Modified: 19-Jun-2014
Date Created: 17-Nov-2010
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