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Industry Proven NVMe RAID & Storage Technology

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

It’s no surprise that NVMe media is ideal for RAID applications. NAND, flash media is exponentially faster and far more reliable than platter-based storage media, and HighPoint’s proven NVMe RAID stack was developed to build on these strengths. Customers can employ our RAID technology to exploit the full potential of their NVMe storage investments, and fine-tune RAID configurations to deliver mind-blowing transfer performance!

HighPoint’s NVMe RAID technology was engineered to fully leverage the Broadcom PCIe Switch technology employed by our NVMe RAID AICs and Enclosures to maximize the performance and reliability of NVMe storage configurations for x86 Intel/AMD computing platforms. The technology is unique to our SSD7xxx product lines (RAID AICs and Enclosures), and requires that a HighPoint RAID Stack solution be installed for the host operating system.

Core NVMe RAID Technology & Solutions

HighPoint’s NVMe RAID Stack solution is available for a wide range of hardware platforms and operating systems, and is comprised of our RAID and Storage technology, Product Specific Host & Device driver, and RAID Storage management and monitoring suite.

Our NVMe RAID stack was designed to leverage Broadcom’s industry leading PCIe Switch chipsets to optimize x16 lanes of upstream bandwidth, minimize latency, maximize port density, and allocate a dedicated x4 lanes of downstream bandwidth to each device channel at all times. These characteristics are ideal for industrial and business applications that require storage solutions capable of maximizing I/O transfer performance.

Boot-RAID and Data-RAID

HighPoint uses the terms “Data RAID” and Boot-RAID” to describe the primary function of a RAID array. All SSDxxx series NVMe RAID AICs and Enclosures support Data-RAID configurations. Those with boot capability (SSD7500 series, SSD7202, SSD7105, etc.) also support Boot-RAID configurations. A Data-RAID array is only used to store or process data. An operating system will recognize a Data-RAID array as single physical drive, which can then be formatted/partitioned as needed. A Boot-RAID array can function as a system disk (bootable drive or volume). In most cases, a Boot-RAID is configured as a redundant RAID array (RAID 1, 10), as it adds a layer of data security to the OS. Boot-RAID volumes must be created before an OS can be installed; a bootable drive cannot be converted into a RAID array. Depending on the product in use, administrators can configure the array using the controller’s UEFI or UEFI HII utility.

Supported NVMe RAID Levels

SSD7xxx series NVMe solutions powered by our RAID stack are capable of supporting one or more RAID 0, 1, or 10 arrays, single-disks, and Boot-RAID or Data-RAID storage configurations.

RAID 10: It represents the “best of both worlds”, as it can dramatically boost Read and Write I/O performance while adding a layer of data redundancy. RAID 10 is capable of delivering read performance on par with RAID 0, and is superior to RAID 5 for NVMe applications. Unlike RAID 5, RAID 10 doesn’t necessitate additional parity-related write operations, which can impact the life span of NVMe SSD’s. RAID 10 requires a minimum of 4 NVMe SSD’s and is comprised of a stripe between two RAID 1 arrays.

RAID 0: Also known as a “stripe” array, this type of array optimizes both performance and capacity, and requires a minimum of 2 NVMe SSDs. Data is distributed evenly across all members of the array (members = individual SSDs). Striping arrays improve both read and write performance as the I/O requests are spread across multiple SSDs simultaneously. Ideally, RAID 0 arrays are comprised of identical SSDs (same capacity, model, speed rating, etc.). Capacity is calculated by multiplying the “smallest” SSD (capacity wise) by the total number of SSDs in the array.

RAID 1 (Security): It protects data against a single drive failure, and is ideal for bootable volumes, as the system will remain in operation if the source boot disk should fail. RAID 1 is often referred to as “mirroring”, and creates a hidden duplicate of the target SSD. A RAID 1 array is comprised of two SSDs (and only two SSDs).

HighPoint Storage Accelerator Engine: HighPoint can integrate MCU’s into our NVMe RAID products to enhance the functionality, performance, and reliability of the target solution, and promote the seamless integration of the device into the host system.

Performance Optimization Solutions

HighPoint NVMe RAID products are highly customizable, and can be fine-tuned to excel in a specific working environment, hardware/software platform or target application. We have developed several performance-tuning applications are available for SSD7xxx series AICs and Enclosures.

HPT-Optimize Multi-CPU/Core Performance Optimizer: This innovative utility can simplify the tuning process for any Multi-Core platforms by intelligently allocating system resources to ensure the target application utilizes the full potential of the NVMe media. HPT-Optimize intuitively maps the most Efficient I/O processing route to minimize the risk of latency & eliminate performance bottlenecks.

HPT-Optimize ensures that the target application is directly linked to the CPU core associated with the SSD7xxx series AIC’s or Enclosure’s host PCIe slot; establishing this link will maximize transfer throughput and minimize latency. HPT-Optimize can be used with any RAID level or single SSD configurations, and is available for both Linux and Windows platforms.

Cross-Sync RAID Technology: HighPoint’s revolutionary Cross-Sync RAID technology takes an outside-the-box approach to NVMe storage applications; it enables customers to eliminate the performance and capacity bottlenecks imposed by the single PCIe slot constraints of a conventional AIC solution.

Cross-Sync enabled RAID solutions employ multiple AICs to optimize storage performance by scaling bus bandwidth up to 32 lanes and deliver up to 55,000MB/s of transfer throughput!

Intuitive RAID Management & Monitoring Suite

HighPoint SSD7xxx/SSD6200 Series NVMe RAID AICs and Enclosures include a comprehensive suite of pre-OS and OS-Level NVMe Storage and RAID Management and Monitoring tools. These software utilities have been actively developed and perfected over many years, and are available for Linux, Windows and macOS platforms.

This “suite” of utilities provides administrators with full manual control over almost all aspects of the storage solution, from monitoring drives and SSDs in real time, recovering or rebuilding a storage configuration in an emergency situation, to configuring an automated maintenance schedule to proactively ward off the threat of downtime imposed by a potential hardware failure.

Pre-OS Tools

“Pre-OS” refers to an application that can operates before an operating system is booted, or in some cases, in the absence of the operating system. HighPoint has developed several utilities for our NVMe RAID AIC’s that can operate at the Pre-OS level.

UEFI Tool: The UEFI Tool is a non-graphical command line utility designed for use at the pre-OS level, and can be used to configure arrays prior to OS installation.

UEFI HII (human interface infrastructure): The SD6200 UEFI HII utility is natively supported by a wide range of server class motherboards and computing platforms. It enables an SSD6200 series AIC to inject RAID creation and maintenance options into the motherboard’s standard UEFI BIOS menu.

OOB Monitoring: SSD6200 series AICs also provide OOB monitoring capability (out-of-band). Administrators can interface directly with the card via a USB-C port (say for example, via a laptop), and check the status of hosted NVMe media and RAID configurations using simple console commands.

OS-Level Tools

“OS-Level” refers to an application that is designed to operate while the OS is up and running. The HighPoint OS Level RAID Management toolset is comprised of our WebGUI and CLI, which are now packaged together in a single download available for all major operating systems.

WebGUI (Web-Based Graphical Management Interface): The WebGUI is an intuitive graphical user interface designed to work with all modern Web Browsers. It’s the easiest interface to master, as many of the features, especially those related to RAID creation, have default settings that let you breeze through everything with a few simple clicks. However, the WebGUI also has many advanced features that are essential for maintaining a successful NVMe storage configuration.

Of particular, note, is the SHI solution (Storage Health Inspector), which is particularly useful for NVMe media, as it provides real-time temperature monitoring with configurable thresholds (this allows you to change settings to match the specs of each NVMe SSD you are working with), and a way to keep tabs on disk endurance; total bytes written (TBW) or disk writes per day (DWPD).

CLI (Command Line Interface): The HighPoint CLI (Command Line Interface) is ideal for seasoned administrators and platforms that do not utilize graphical operating systems. For many Linux veterans, it is the tool of choice, as it runs from a terminal window, is universal for any distribution, and does not require a graphical OS.

Streamlines Field Service and Upgrades

HighPoint has developed a range of specialized monitoring and configuration toolsets designed to simplify upgrade, expansion and service workflows.

UEFI HII (BIOS interface): RAID AICs with this feature set can “inject” RAID configuration functions into the motherboard’s BIOS interface via Human Interface Infrastructure Support (HII). Note, the target motherboard must be HII capable.

HighPoint SafeStorage (SED):The SafeStorage solution was developed to work in conjunction with the state-of-the-art SED technology employed by all classes of modern NVMe media, and is based on the OPAL SSC TCG specifications. It is designed to protect data assets when physical drives are misplaced or stolen by preventing unauthorized access to stored data. SafeStorage can be applied to both single-disk and RAID configurations, and is activated via a service known as Disk Security, which can be administered via our WebGUI and CLI utilities.

SHI (Storage Health Inspector) Temperature Thresholds & Email Notification: SHI provides wealth of information about NVMe media, and enables administrators to instantly asses the temperature, endurance rating, and operational status of each hosted SSD. SHI enables experienced administrators to adjust the temperature warning thresholds, which can be customized for each hosted SSD. These determine how and when the interface will notify you if one or more SSDs is running too hot, and adjust fan speed accordingly. It can also be tied into the AIC’s (or enclosure’s) audible alarm (beeper) and the WebGUI/CLI’s Event Log and Email notification system. This tool is essential for maintaining high data-throughput in high-stress workloads, and as it is another way to keep the threat of thermal throttling under control.

Online Array Roaming: The SSD7xxx series’ Online Array Roaming capability simplifies upgrade and replacement procedures, as customers can migrate SSDs from one controller to another, without having to start from scratch or recover an array. HighPoint NVMe RAID AICs are also capable of recognizing arrays created with other SSD7000, SSD7500, or SSD7749 series controllers, even if the SSDs are moved to different ports.

1-Click Self Diagnostic Logging Service: The WebGUI includes an automated diagnostic tool designed to streamline the troubleshooting process, even for novice administrators. The Diagnostic tab enables the interface to gather information about the corresponding hardware, software and storage configurations and compile it into a single file which can be submitted to our Support Department. Note, this software does not collect user-data (actual data stored to the storage devices), and poses no threat to security or privacy.

Hot-Plug & Hot-Swap: Hot-Plug & Hot-Swap features allows administrators to add or remove one or more NVMe SSDs on the fly, as necessity demands, without powering down or rebooting the host platform.

HighPoint manufactures several NVMe RAID solutions that provide Hot-Swap and Hot-Plug capability.

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