Intel DC SSDs - isdct abandoned and broken? Linux nvme-cli to the rescue


Intel has jettisoned their storage and everything is migrating over to Solidigm. Solidigm is looking like they’re going to be a top-tier storage company; they should have the freedom and autonomy to do some really great things. So what’s the problem?

Everything intel made for the datacenter before 2023 has been… umm… lost on the intel website. Yeah, you need to download the intel nvme driver? forget it; those links have long since been broken.

While if you have an HP or Dell OEM system, and they sometimes offer drivers and utilities on their site, mostly it’s out of date and a dumpster fire. You don’t want to use those; I have a better solution… but it’s going to require rebooting or setting up an update system if you need to update the drive firmware or change the LBA sector size.

Linux to the Rescue

The nvme-cli package on ubuntu 22.04 LTS is all we need AND we can do all our work right from the live ISO. how cool is that??

At a high level we need to:

Boot the Linux LTS iso
Setup networking
run apt update && apt install nvme-cli
run nvme list to see what we’re working with in terms of NVMe devices

Changing LBA sector size like isdct can do, except without a special windows driver that’s now unobtainium

Here’s what we can do to, for example, change the LBA formatting from 512 bytes on a P4500 to 4k. (Even if you manage to find isdct as a download from sketchy non-intel websites, it can’t do much because the actual driver for the NVMe is Microsoft’s, not Intel’s. Intels driver has special extensions that let you do the advanced stuff – what used to be handled by the SSD toolbox – but these functions DO NOT work on Intel’s driver. Maybe Solidigm will offer a driver for older intel devices? But then again maybe not…

note htat libf=1 format corresponds to lbaformat=3 in the oldddddddddd intel isdct format.

Intel does have a new storage CLI utility on their website, but it only supports Optane at this point since intel is still selling some optane u.2 storage. It doesn’t even support the ruler format P45xx series SSDs which came out in 2021! Allthough I think that was for about 1 customer… so… eh.

nvme format /dev/nvme1n1 --lbaf=1 --reset

Success formatting namespace:1

Now I have a 4096B formatted drive, don’t try to allocate or memory map 512B, it will no longer work. And the following command moves us back to 512B default sector size.

nvme format /dev/nvme1n1 --lbaf=0 --reset