Question Is it still viable to get the "RAID6 key" for my RAID card? Can I convert a RAID5 to a 6?


Oct 5, 2002
So, years ago I bought an IBM 46M0916 ServeRAID M5014 that I then flashed back to it's original LSI 9260-8i. That card hasn't had it's firmware updated in years so it's more or less on it's latest firmware and has been running a RAID5 for years.

Anyway, the card supports up to RAID5, but to get RAID6 you needed to purchase a "key" that was a physical dongle that plugs into the card. It appears to be more or less a very simple circuit that authenticates something. Anyway, is it still viable to find this key on ebay or cdw or any sort of retailer? I have no idea how this worked, did you need to have some kind of account or something to register/activate it or whatever.... or do you just simply plug it into the card and it works? And if so, do I have to worry about fakes? I have no idea if there is any market of bootlegs of these things or not, and I am worried about if there could be any potential risk that the card detects a fake key and locks me out or damaged the raid or something.

And my second question is, if I do ahead and get a valid key, can I convert my existing RAID5 to RAID6? Or would doing that wipe it? To clarify, yes, I am of course going to make a backup before I attempt this regardless, but I would like to know if a conversion like this without data loss is possible, or if it's not possible to convert it from 5 to 6 without basically deleting the array and rebuilding it.


Not sure about that card, but with Adaptec cards from that era you could migrate the RAID level from 5 to 6 but had to add a drive usually, and it took forever. I though that a 9260-8i could do RAID 6, no? Ah, I read again and see that you have the M5014 and that does require a key to do RAID 6 (Advance Feature Key (46M0930)), the M5015 has RAID 6 included.

edit: over the years I have probably found most pitfalls of RAID. ;) Like when I had to actually convince the tech support at Adaptec that you could not expand a RAID 5 array on a 6805 using their GUI and Windows from under to over 10TB. If you stayed under or were already over -- no problem.