Roaming Protection and How it Protects Intel® Optane™ Memory Volume Integrity





Roaming protection is a mechanism designed to protect volume integrity in the case where a hybrid drive, such as Intel® Optane™ Memory H20/H10 with Solid State Storage, is moved to a system that does not meet the platform requirements for such hardware.

These drives contain an Intel® Optane™ memory drive and an Intel® QLC 3D NAND drive on one M.2 form factor, which are paired together into one logical volume using the Intel® Rapid Storage Technology (Intel® RST) software.

This software uses metadata to control the pairing of the two drives and is located in the last two logical block addresses (LBAs) of the drive. This location conflicts with the default location of the GUID Partition Table (GPT) backup structure and as such may be subject to leading to a state where the drive may not boot to the OS.

Roaming protection is applied upon reboot after enabling the Intel® Optane™ volume on a platform with the Windows* Intel® RST driver version 18.2 + PreOS driver version 17.2 and greater installed. This protection will be provided in the following scenarios:

  • Drive is moved to a non-supported platform (such as a platform that does not have the BIOS support, proper driver versions installed, wrong operating system, and so on).
  • Drive in a supported platform and the BIOS (SATA Boot Mode) is switched from RST/RAID (or) VMD to AHCI.

If one of these user scenarios occurs, the user will encounter the following behaviors:

  • If it is the system drive with the OS  - System fails to boot and shows no Boot device available.
  • If it is a Data drive (no OS) - Drive will be reported in the OS as a single, non-formatted SSD with an inaccessible partition.
    • In Disk Management the drive will appear as the following:

      Disk management

    • In Diskpart the drive will appear as the following:


To recover access to the drive, the user would need to revert the system back to the proper configuration/compatibility by hybrid drives, this includes: