How to get into LSI's RAID WebBIOS on an ASRock Z68 based system
Turns out that getting into the RAID configuration screen can be tricky on Z68 consumer-oriented motherboards (affordable), versus server class motherboards (expensive).
For my TinkerTry.com/vzilla virtualization lab/backup server project, I had finalized my choices of RAID and motherboard:
LSI 9265-8i RAID Controller (kit with cables)
ASRock Fatal1ty Z68 Professional Gen3 Motherboard
and got VMware ESXi 5.0 drivers working, including hard drive health and RAID status, outlined here. And I'm pleased to say that even without any SSD caching in the mix yet, I'm getting great speeds, so I know it's been well worth all the effort:
But I admit to being aggravated at hit or miss luck with getting into the LSI WebBIOS to configure the RAID array on Z68 motherboards I tested out in the spring and summer of 2011. Why did I care? Well, when running VMware ESXi, I cannot directly use the MegaRAID GUI (that's easy to run from Windows installed on bare metal), so WebBIOS is the next best thing to clunky workarounds.
Most of my RAID tests were done with the LSI 9260-8i, and more recently, with the very fast 9265-8i, with a bright SSD-cached future. It's possible the ASUS, Gigabyte, and MSI Z68 motherboards I also briefly tested for VMDirectPath compatibility would have also allowed WebBIOS to work, had I used this technique. But I actually liked the ASRock UEFI BIOS interface better than the ASUS, Gigabyte, and MSI boards I had tried anyway, and VMDirectPath was my primary driver in motherboard selection. I need USB 3.0 passed through to my Windows Home Server, for rapid copy to an external affordable array, to be stored offsite.
Part of the reason for that "mixed luck" getting into WebBIOS turned out to be procedural, that is, I needed to get the exact sequence of keystrokes at boot time for 100% success in getting into the WebBIOS.
I've finally figured it out, with the help of one of the few Google results on this subject found here.
Here's the simplest procedure I could come up with, to enter LSI WebBIOS at power on:
- Power On
- Press Ctrl+H when prompted by LSI BIOS
- Press F11 when "Press F11 for Boot Menu." appears
- Use down arrow or mouse to choose "RAID: PCI ROM Setup, B01 D00 F0" and double-click (or press Enter)
- Choose Adapter No. 0 and Select Start
You are now in the WebBIOS and able to use short cut keys (Alt+underline character) or mouse to navigate menus.
If the mouse ceases to move, instead of rebooting, try moving the USB cable to another USB 2.0 port.
Jan. 22 2013 Update:
Using 256MB for "Total Length means it's mostly just showing the speed of the RAID controller's 1GB of cache, artificially boosting results, see also Sun Jan 6th, 2013 post entitled:
LSI 9265-8i CacheCade Pro 2.0 is finally using my Samsung 830 256GB SSD for RAID5 read and write caching, boosting performance