SATA software raid 1 mirror

Posted on 2004-11-30
Last Modified: 2013-11-14

I have just purchased a Dell 4200SC with two identical SATA drives.  I chose the option to have the software mirror at no extra cost.  Having started up the server, the server shows a hardware adaptec controller (CERC STAT 2S Controller) but there is not other hardware in the server.

Is this really software RAID?  I always thought software RAID was carried out by the OS and there's nothing on the disks yet.

So, is this really RAID 1?

Question by:john_123
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    Sorry, where are you seeing this?  In windows or during boot up?  You will only see the SCSI controller in windows if it's a hardware RAID.  If this is during boot up and you see "Array 0 Initialized successfully" or something to that effect then the Array is configured properly and is ready to go.  Have you created the Array by entering the configuration utility during bootup to create the mirror and initialize it?
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    You have to remember that if it is a hardware raid controlled by the motherboard or a card, windows will only see it as one single hard drive.  you have to use the raid software to see the dual drives in windows.

    John (also)
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    I just searched dell for a 4200sc and got nothing, what machine have you got exactly?

    If its actually on a chip on the machine, go into device manager and you should see some acknowlegement of a controller under SCSI and RAID Controllers (or with a yellow exclamation mark on them).

    That is, unless you really mean software raid, in which case you wont have any hardware, I think the W2K o/s can do s/w raid on its own, im not sure about XP, either way I wouldnt touch it with a bargepole, software based is far less reliable than having a dedicated card/chipset to do some of the work.
    LVL 1

    Accepted Solution

    First off.
    my guess is that you have a dell SC420.
    if so, it has integrated SATA RAID. now this is a little different than the SCSI RAID on higher-end servers in a few ways. it is RAID preformed on a hardware level, however, it is not truly software (OS) independant in that the operating system essentially directs the IO on the SATA controller. Adaptec introduced this quasi-hardware RAID with their AIC-789x SCSI controller daughter cards on Dell Precision 620 workstations.
    So, If I understand your question properly: yes, you have software RAID 1, although it is OS independent and your RAID will appear to the operating system as a single drive. if you want to read more about this SATA controller try this DELL support link:

    Hope this helped clear some things up.
    LVL 1

    Author Comment


    Well spotted! It was in fact the 420 (typo!)
    Thanks for description and link - think you've said it all there.  Not seen this type of RAID setup before, am used to traditional software or traditional Adaptec RAID controller.  Thanks to frsp_1

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