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Here's why you should not buy a Drobo (rychter.com)
134 points by jwr on June 18, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 72 comments



I've read most of the comments here and I think people are missing the point. Forget the noise, that's just an inconvenience. More importantly:

The "reliable" data storage device I bought corrupted and lost my data once, and right now is showing the symptoms of corrupting the filesystem again.

I doesn't get any simpler and more objective than that.

And to those people whose Drobos have been working fine so far: I wish you the best of luck and I hope you won't hit the same problems I did. But I would be worried, beause if I'm hitting them, it means they are there, and eventually you might as well.


I've had my Drobo 18 months without a hiccup - It's not silent, but it's not noisy either. I've never had to contact customer support, so I can't really comment on that. I am marginally concerned by the fact that its death would mean I must have another Drobo to read the data, but this really isn't any different from most other hardware RAID controllers/NAS boxes, where the death of the card almost always means purchase of another identical card/driver combination to get your data back.

The point here is, Drobo/RAID/NAS are disk redundancy solutions - they cater for the fallibility of spinning magnetic platters, and never promise 100% reliability. Just like any solution, if you want to avoid data loss, you need to have an orthogonal backup system for when the other fails at a system level.

It sucks that he's had such problems with his Drobos, and it looks like the support he's got is subpar. This is not, however, the universal experience. Based on my experience, I'd be happy to recommend the Drobo to most people I know who want a simple and easy to setup solution for hard drive failures, with the big caveat that they still need at least one other backup solution.


I'd echo this experience; I have a drobo fs with the new wd caviar greens. It works like a treat and is very quiet. I'm next looking into a tape backup solution for longer term storage, but for now- the drobo is an excellent way to work with.

Tip: don't buy the old drobo, get the new one. Don't get the drobo share, use an airport extreme or similar disk-sharing network device.


Yes, I think your setup might work much better. The DroboFS is supposedly an improved version. And the DroboShare simply isn't a reliable device at all.

Still, after seeing the corruption and after trying their support, I don't think I'll want to buy any more Drobo products ever again.


So buy two things? The fact is that you can find something with a gigabit ethernet port built into the unit. Not a tricky dongle that doesn't offer the real thing, not a sketchy router-based SMB share. It's a bad idea to have two devices when you can have one. Especially if you can get a one-device solution that will transfer files faster over your network.


Actually, i disagree it's a bad idea to have two devices; I trust that the apple extreme will work fantastically to share a disk for me; they get the OS and the fs, so it's pretty straightforward.

A one device solution? Well, that'd be a router, switch, hard disk... (can you say, computer?)

sometimes we want stuff that's single purpose, done well, easy on the power/heat/etc. I now have an appletv on a turn-off power strip, enabling me to 'turn on' the tv system and have something running easily, rather than having to get my laptop out, an external disk, try and make it all work. Ugh. madness.


Ditto. I've been running a DroboPro with eight 1.5TB WD drives and the device has been running fine connected via iSCSI to a Mac mini and shared across the network via NFS. It's not loud, not silent but not loud. Read/write speeds are perfectly satisfactory, although not what I'd get with a software RAID or higher end setup (I get about 25-45MB/s read/writes, but it sounds like I have a different model than he does).

It is a bit unsettling that Drobo advertises these are completely fool-proof in their marketing materials but support, rightfully I may add, recommends routine backups. In the end, it's a JBOD RAID in a pretty enclosure with approachable software. For me, that works.

All I wanted out of my DroboPro was a way to combine eight drives and have an expandable dual-disk redundancy array. It's working like a champ for that.


I'm not sure on how to reply, because experiences with a Drobo seem to be extremely hit or miss and it is all very anecdotal.

My drobo with all WD green drives is as silent as my Mac minis and MBP are, while a friend of mine has one also with similar drives that's so loud it's very difficult to sleep in the same room with it (and yes, it rivals his Mac Pro in terms of noise).

I've not had a single problem with my drobo since I got it almost two years ago, while others keep having them fail repeatedly and replaced repeatedly until they give up and find something else.

I've also come across people that think their drobo is great and infallible, and then go and realize they have no backup for the file they just deleted off their drobo. And come across people like me that back up their drobos because a drobo is purely redundant, which doesn't cover cases like accidentally deleting files off it and losing the drobo to fire/flood/theft and more, only situations like a dead hard drive or two.

I love my drobo to pieces and recommend it to anyone that wants a solution they don't have to manage...with the caveat that it's their data and therefore their responsibility to take care of it, and a drobo can only be one part of the solution. data robotics customer support definitely has a bad reputation that is probably warranted to an extent, but not many NAS manufacturers, nor you if you roll your own solution, can do much when things go very, very wrong with your device for whatever reason.

(Note that I use my drobo only as direct storage. The drobo NAS solutions always seemed a bit hacky to me...)


Well, in my case the failures are obvious and objectively present. You can't really discuss expectations if your device just lost all your data due to filesystem corruption. You don't discuss "infallibility" if your device tells you:

Buffer I/O error on device sda1, logical block 422806282 scsi2 (0:0): rejecting I/O to dead device

SCSI error : <2 0 0 0> return code = 0x70000 end_request: I/O error, dev sda, sector 4533105544

HFS+-fs: WARN: Turning journaling back on even though Journalling was not on at mount. HFS+-fs: WARN: We may be setting the Journal bit on an unjournalled filesystem but it is OK.

So please don't soften the issue — it fails. It failed for me multiple times already and I expect it to fail again.

I guess it's OK to use a Drobo if you get another one as backup for the first one — but then, what's the point?


> I guess it's OK to use a Drobo if you get another one as backup for the first one — but then, what's the point?

RAID is _not_ a backup. If you don't understand this, you'll never be satisfied with any RAIDish products.


It's true that RAID is not a backup, but backup strategies are rarely any good if they back up data "instantly", which is what redundancy provides. So you're stuck with a catch 22. If you back up instantly (without versioning), you may backup bad data. Boooo! If you backup, say, daily, you still stand to lose a days work when your array fails. Boooo!

RAID should increase reliability, not decrease it. Any RAID solution that results in a net increase in data loss is not a good solution.


That's a catch 22 that can be minimized or even avoided altogether. My main drobo backup is automatically versioned and backed up every 12 hours (to a single external drive, since I don't need to back up everything on my drobo). I've got older backups dating from like a week (work-related) to half a year or more old (for the important docs that don't change that I should keep around regardless...like old accounting/tax stuff) stashed around my home, online, and in a safe deposit box at my bank. And of course occasionally I test whether or not my backup is actually backing up the things I want and that I can successfully restore from it.

If I back up bad data, I have older but good data to recover from. If my drobo catastrophically fails, at the worst I've lost data that is probably not going to be difficult to replicate/replace because of how new it is. I don't have to start ripping my hair out at the idea of having lost an incredible amount of data ranging from irreplaceable photos of my life to work and more.

In the ideal case, raid should increase reliability, and they do, only for one definition of reliability. But freak accidents and poor design happen, and it's silly to rely only on a raid for reliability.


That's not a catch-22... You can do both backups and RAID.


This is why I love Time Machine


True. RAID is about reliability and performance, and it seems the Drobo isn't winning points there either.


Oh, I'm not claiming they don't ever fail...they do. It happens. I can read your errors for myself. However, redundancy doesn't mean that you avoid fs corruption altogether.

If my drobo fails, so be it, drobo sucks etc., but my data is my responsibility. I have backups in place to deal with the data loss. I'm not asking my drobo to be perfect, I'm just asking it to keep on working in case a drive starts to fail, but there's clearly many possibilities where drobo itself fails. If there's fs corruption going on, it's my responsibility even if it's the fault of the hardware. If there's something I deleted off my drobo by accident, it's my responsibility.

Now, if you were going on about the bad design and hacky nature of droboshare and the software drobo runs on, and data robotics' bad customer support, then sure...you have a point. We could all learn from your experience not to use droboshare. That's about it.


If the experience is so hit or miss that speaks against trying your luck, no?


Failure is inevitable and it is only a matter of time until it happens. You're going to be finding the same issues with any other nas/raid solution and with the drives you use in them. Maybe drobo is more likely to fail than the others or something by unfortunate design (and with droboshare, I could believe the fs corruption), but they all have the potential to fail in some way. (You're also talking to someone that's had more SSDs than hard drives die on her in the past six months...)

When I was shopping around for drobo alternatives (back when I couldn't stomach the price just yet to buy one and I was getting a bit sick of my hacked-together raid in one of my computers), product reviews and blog entries read exactly like what I see here with the drobo being hit or miss. There were people that were all "DO NOT BUY!!" because they lost all their data next to the people just gushing over how much they liked theirs cause it was working like a charm. This is a tough market, because people don't want to lose their data, and when (not if...) they do they get quite pissed.

It's really up to you to determine your needs and to find a device or twenty that meets them. I rather like the drobo because it's zero maintenance. I don't trust my data to it, I only trust it to keep working when a drive has failed. But that's about all I can expect from any such device. The whole market is pretty much hit or miss for people - it's a hit until it misses, then all you can think about is how it missed.


Stories like this are why I didn't buy a Drobo. Instead I got a ReadyNAS NVX and have been incredibly satisfied with it. It's been rock solid so far and hasn't given me any hassle at all.

(Incidentally, Netgear UK are doing a "free 2 x 500GB drives" promotion until the end of June: http://www.netgear.co.uk/freedrives_nvx.php)


I have also had a ReadyNAS (NV+) for some time and have been extremely satisfied with it. The device does not come cheap, and it isn't silent, but it is very capable, offers decent performance, and lets you access your data in a wide variety of ways (NFS, Rsync, AFP, CIFS, etc). It is relatively open as well, including allowing full root SSH login, and has various software add-ons as well.

Until an equivalent OEM product comes along that supports something like ZFS, the ReadyNAS is probably one of the best options available.


Also thrilled with ReadyNAS NV+ for all the same reasons, but especially to support Macs, TimeMachine, and remove WebDAV access.


I knew from other people that the Drobo was worthlessly slow, but thanks for the info about the other problems.

I'm a big fan of either building a linux-based server, or using a QNAP. QNAP is a bit pricey per disk and per GB, but it just works.

For large disk requirements, I use a linux server with Areca 12-port RAID as secondary storage, and external eSATA+expander trays for tertiary storage (probably could put 50-100 drives on this with no problems). Overkill for most home use, though.

It's 2010, and I'd use iSCSI, not SMB, unless I wanted direct-attach FW800.


I'm very curious how well the online disk changes work with something like the QNAP NAS. Is it really as simple as changing out the disks one at a time and waiting for the RAID to rebuild?


Generally, if you set auto-rebuild, yes. It's RAID5 though, so you're only protected from single drive failures. I use RAID6 on Areca cards (or better) for "critical" data, or remote servers -- single drive failures all too often become double drive failures before the RAID finishes rebuilding.

The other issue is that write (and sometimes read) performance is hurt during rebuild. For timing-sensitive systems, people often turn off auto-rebuild or scale back rebuild percentage of writes, so their application's performance isn't so affected. Of course, if the second failure happens during the rebuild...


I'm running Nexenta / Solaris zfs with samba, but it supports accented characters just fine. Perhaps this is a limitation of Mac smb support. zfs also doesn't have a repairing fsck as far as I know, but I have more faith in its monitoring and scrubbing features. It also bulk reads and writes at about 100mbytes a second, approaching the limit of gigabit ethernet.


ZFS doesn't have a repairing fsck because it doesn't need one. The on-disk format uses a transactional design such that its always consistent, even if it fails in the middle of a write.

AFIAK the only way to damage a zpool is if some snafu (one more serious than a mere write failure) wiped out a bunch of metadata together with the backup metadata all at the same time, but such an event would do very serious damage to any filesystem, which is why all important data should have an off-site backup.


And now, you can even fix this with zpool import -F. It will find the last consistent transaction in the array and roll back to it. Saved my buddy's ass a few weeks ago when he went to replace a drive and accidentally pulled out 2 SATA connectors at once (on a raidz1).


You can have it check the filesystem while it is online, by using "zpool scrub poolname" - it will go through and check all the ECC'd bits and then attempt to fix it if possible.

You can then run "zpool status" and it will display the last time each pool was scrubbed, and show you the number of errors if any.


Hello, Mark from Drobo here.

First, I'm sorry for the troubles the original poster (Jan Rychter) has had. I don't have any first hand knowledge of his use, and can't find a support case on it -- has it been escalated by our European team back to the factory? Please send me your case # (via direct message at drobospace where you are a member) and I will escalate if necessary.

The Drobo/DroboShare combination has a binary user experience. Those with no prior network storage experience love it, those with prior experience want more functionality and performance. Providing more performance is the goal of the Drobo FS, a single box solution for sharing via AFP or SMB. Third party DroboApps provide web, ftp, rsync, NFS, and other protocols. This box is 4x faster than the Drobo/Droboshare owing to eliminating USB as an interconnect, and faster generation of ARM processors.

Mark Fuccio


I've been very happy with FreeNAS running on a recycled PowerEdge 400SC. I boot it off a USB thumbdrive and it manages to spin up and down the six SATA drives I'm using with even even with a cheapie 4-port PCI SATA card.

My workload is pretty light though as it hosts media and I only stream it from two devices max at a time.

But it's hard to beat the price and comprehensive protocol support. FTP, Samba, NFS, AFP, Time Machine backups, iTunes sharing, etc.

http://www.freenas.org/


I did the same with openfiler, has worked well for about 4+ years. It has 4x400GB in RAID5 which gives 1.2TB of storage.

I've been planning an upgrade to 4x2TB for a 6TB RAID, but I haven't had the time or the $ for the upgrade.

I used some of the storage space as a time machine destination, but Apple has issues with Time Machine over SMB, and it got to the point where it was too slow, so I bought an USB disk and just back-up to that.


But have you thought of the power costs for running that machine? That's why I in addition to protocol and other feature support, I also look at power consumption. These things will most likely be running 24/7/365 and the energy costs add up over time.


Are you using zfs?

Have you anyone tries to use freenas as a time machine destination?


I've been using Time Machine on this setup. So far it hasn't complained. But I also haven't had need to restore yet.

As for power consumption, I unfortunately haven't kept tabs on the electricity nor have a Kill-a-Watt.

But I have told FreeNAS to pretty aggressively spin down unused drives.


I think his problems with the Drobo are mainly the way he's using it. I've had a Drobo for a couple years now and have not had problems with it, but I have noticed a few strange things:

1. Regarding the fan noise - I used to keep my Drobo in a warm house with no air conditioning. Temperatures in my office would regularly reach 78-80 degrees, and anything in the high 70s would cause my Drobo fan to go into "vacuum cleaner mode," which is really annoying. Solution: Don't keep your Drobo in a hot room. This is a sensitive piece of electronic equipment with lots of spinning platters stacked on top of each other. Drobo is more sensitive to heat than other pieces of technology. Since then I keep my office air conditioned and at 72 degrees, the Drobo is silent other than the hard drive seeking itself.

2. Filesystem support - This is a problem with any "cross-platform" storage and the fault is not Drobo's. I use my Drobo on both an OS X 10.6.4 system and a Windows 7 system. The only filesystem I can use that supports both seamlessly is FAT32. Unfortunately, FAT32 doesn't support some character sets that Mac does, which I found out when I was trying to back up my iTunes library there. Another limitation of FAT32 is that your filesystem can't be larger than 2TB, and you can't store files larger than 4GB. My other option was to go with HFS+ or NTFS but either of those solutions are Mac or Windows only.

The two main issues he has: Heat and filesystem compatibility, can be solved by simply using the Drobo differently. Drobo is not without it's limitations. The speed is slow, and it's sensitive to heat. But if used properly, it works fine as a large data storage device.


Pretty sure that MacFUSE has NTFS support. Or, no, wait... didn't Apple add NTFS Read/Write in Snow Leopard? Yeah, they did. It requires editing fstab though.


No, no, no! Do not do that! Googling will show you that this generally results in corrupted, unrecoverable drives. Use this: http://macntfs-3g.blogspot.com/ It's not the fastest driver (you can pay a small fee for a more performant one), but it hasn't caused me any troubles.


I think if you install Bootcamp, apple does that. I have a Win7 Partition on my 2009 MBP and I can see the partition from inside Snow Leopard.


Excellent thread. I was very close to buying a Drobo several days ago, but chose not to. There are many excellent advantages to it. But two main reasons pushed me away:

1) Encrypted logs. I think it is crucial to have readable log files to be able to understand what is happening with the drive array. If there is proprietary information that the company wishes to be protect, I welcome them to do so. There should be two files: one which is plaintext with the major status and event messages, and one which is encrypted with their proprietary information. Rolling the plaintext log into the encrypted log seems like a user-hostile posture.

2) Maintenance costs. If the log files are encrypted, then when the array fails (not "if", "when") then I will need to buy drobocare ($129) to get them to read the logfile to tell me what happened. I expect to keep this array running for the next 4-6 years, and I am not willing to buy ongoing yearly maintenance ($250/three years) just find out how the array is doing.

Like I said, I was hours away from ordering a drive, I really like the simplicity of the design, but thanks to some of the comments on this thread I suddenly realized that I would signing up for years of maintenance fees. That's not what I wanted.


I've had my Thecus N5200 running solid for around 3 years now. When I first saw the Drobo demo videos I feared I'd made the wrong purchase, but having the Thecus as an open platform (Linux installed on a CF card; you can SSH and run whatever) has proved a win. Support lately has gone by the wayside (they had a new beta firmware a few months ago that was later pulled), but the community is strong.


Podcast ads should really be taken with a strong pinch of salt. They are less restrained than old media ads, so it's very easy to think they are personal recommendations.

Best advice is to do some research, like I noticed their closed support forum too, and thought it was suspicious - it's a good sign that they let their customers talk to each other, but if it's hidden then something's not right.


Not related to Drobo:

I use a cron script which runs rsync each hour and synchronizes my / and /home/ with my /mnt/mirror/.

Ever since I've set this up, I've had a reliable backup which I don't have to think about. I've even migrated my system to it once, because I needed to swap the primary hard drive out.

What's the big deal about backing up? Why buy a dedicated unit anyway? Am I missing something fundamental?


Unless such a backup is versioned it seems all you have is a system that automatically erases your backup one to two hours after a soft failure.


This.

If your primary drive beings to silently corrupt data due to bad sectors (I've had this happen once. Your system starts to hang, applications start to unexpectedly quit, you start hearing static/clicks in your music, photos seem jaggy even if they were taken with a 10MP DSLR.) you will back up bad/corrupt data over your backed up good data.


rsync won't delete extra files at the destination unless you tell it to. Although, there's still the problem of syncing corrupted stuff to the mirror. Keeping multiple versions is certainly more robust, in any case.


I was using "erase" figuratively.


Well, that works well. The draw of Drobo is a RAID setup though - in some cases, RAID provides a significant performance boost, and, at higher levels, it'll survive more than one drive failure.


Ah, I didn't think of that and it makes sense. Thank you.


If speed isn't a concern, that's great. I really like linux software raid, mdraid. It's FAST and it makes the drives portable between hardware.


I've been using unraid for a while now and am really happy - especially with its flexibility.

Once you get to the Drobo/WHS point of your NAS life, HDD bays and xfer speeds quickly become the biggest issue. (4x2TB - redundancy) can quickly become not enough..and chances are that you'll always be ahead of where HDD storage is.


My WHS has 4 HDs and its transfer speed is still network bound (100 Mbps). Much faster than the Drobo it replaced.

My biggest gripes with the drobo were loudness (no really, it sounds like a jet engine), inability to recover data directly off the HD if the drobo dies, horrible transfer speeds, and horrible support.

It's one pro was simplicity.


I had a WHS, and the only complaint I have about it is that redundancy is accomplished via duplication. Depending on how much data you have, that can greatly increase your total cost of ownership. To achieve 10TB of redundant storage on WHS, you need 10x2TB disks. To accomplish that with unraid you need 6x2TB.

The downside is that unraid will only protected you against a single disk failure, whereas WHS might protect you against multiple disk failures - depending on which disks go.


I had a similar experience with an AirNas, which is basically an enclosure for a hard drive that exports a samba share. Performancewise, disappointing, all I could transfer was around 2Mb/s, convenience, maybe, streaming mp3's is fine, but there is no way you can stream movies from it. Noise wise, I think I wasn't as unfortunate as the author of the post, but you have to keep in mind that these systems are more suited for data centers, maybe the Drobo is just a poor implementation of a NAS box. If I were to get a NAS, I would probably look for something that does block storage, such as iSCSI or FCoE, not sure if there are home appliances for that, but with that you can ignore annoyances like unsupported character sets for filenames and similar stuff.


If you have a spare PC to turn into a SAN-lite, OpenFiler supports iSCSI http://www.openfiler.com/


A couple of years ago when I was looking for a NAS for our office the choice was between a Drobo and ReadyNAS from Netgear. Although Drobo had so many recommendations and good feedback I thought I'd rather go with a weller-known company like Netgear. The ReadyNas isn't the greatest but solid, quite fast and reliable. I'm happy about the decision.

We're increasingly using our own custom debian linux box now with SMB shares, backups with duplicity, Apache / Lighty and so on. It just allows for more flexibility.


I can't speak for Drobo with a Mac - but mine works great with Linux. I was going to get a DroboShare, but then decided just to use an old server to network the storage. It's slow to spin up but fast until you start to fill the drives - once you get to about 95% usage things really start to slow down for some reason. I have not had noise issues either but have noticed the relatively quiet fan does come on fairly often. Combined with Tarsnap, I've basically stopped worrying about data.


First off, I never trust reviews saying that something is extremely loud. Just look at every single fan or video card on newegg and you'll see people complaining that they are the loudest thing they've ever heard and other people claiming they are virtually silent.

Secondly, what does the author (or you guys) recommend as an alternative to the Drobo? Just creating your own file server/NAS? Do you need a hardware RAID card, or are mobo-integrated ones or cheaper software cards sufficient?


Generally, hardware RAID is good and software RAID is decent. Mobo-integrated and "software hardware RAID" suck.


I have helped setup 5 drobos for different people and they have all worked fine. My only suggestion is not to partition them, seems to cause problems when resizing the partitions with bigger drives. Defiantly no problems with noise.


We work in the pro photography space and Drobos are hot right now. It seems to be the de-facto recommendation when people want high-volume storage for Lightroom or Aperture libraries.


If you don't have an incremental backup you are playing with fire no matter what kind of solution you have in place. A single point of failure is a single point of failure.


To counter this, I have a friend who uses two Drobos with his Mac Mini and loves it. I don't think he's had a single issue. I'll see if I can get him on here to comment


Thanks to everyone for advice on what other devices work. That's exactly what I was hoping for — I'm tired of the Drobo and I can't trust it with my data.


I've owned a 2nd-gen Drobo and now a DroboPro. My experience with it is very mixed. My opinion is that it's a good solution for someone who can't be bothered with mdadm anymore and needs a lot of storage, with some important caveats.

When it works, it's fantastic. When things start to go wrong, there's nothing you can do about it except experiment with switching drives or email support and hope they can diagnose it.

I loaded my first Drobo with Seagate 1.5tb drives. It constantly dropped drives out of the array and was very slow (<10MB/sec over FW800). After several back and forths with tech support I gave up in frustration and didn't use it for a while. Then 2TB drives became available, I swapped them out, and it stopped dropping out.

I then upgraded to a DroboPro as I had outgrown the 4 drive version, which was painless. It was still slow, but not as much. The log is now ENCRYPTED(!!!) so there is absolutely nothing you can see for yourself other than whether a drive is "bad" or "good". If you suspect that one of the drives might be failing, you have to email your encrypted log to Drobo and wait for them to respond. Which is pretty frustrating when you're in another timezone and each exchange takes 24 hours.

Somewhere among switching around drives and upgrading firmware it became faster, and now to me seems acceptably fast. I think I must have just had a bad drive or three, but of course without access to any logs it's a tedious and expensive process of trial and error to figure out.

All was well, and then just shy of a year it stopped booting. I bought it in one country and then moved, so had to ship it back to the original distributor, which is annoying and expensive but understandable, but of course you can only access the drives with another Drobo, and means I'll be without access to my stuff for about a month (except for backups). I wasn't too impressed about what is marketed as a professional product designed to run 24/7 failing after less than a year of light use.

Pros:

* Very easy to use. Auto-expansion is fantastic and works as advertised. You literally only have to shove a new drive in the slot and wait a few minutes. * Don't have to rebuild when you add capacity * Don't lose all your data if you disconnect 2 drives at once, put them back in a different order, or any of the myriad interesting ways you can accidentally kill your entire array with RAID.

Cons:

* Somewhat pricey. But you get what you pay for - at least I did until it died. * Encrypting the log files is outrageous. This is probably the worst thing about it. * No transparency about what it's doing. It's quite literally a black box. * iSCSI on Mac doesn't reliably reconnect if you unmount it. I usually have to restart the device and/or my PC. * No way of accessing data (other than another Drobo) if the device fails. * Not particularly fast. Much slower than a bare drive. 40MB/sec if I'm lucky. No idea how they got VMware certification; trying to boot from it would be agonizing.

Other thoughts:

* Others have said it sounds like a jet engine. It's not quiet, but it's by no means loud. It's just two 80mm fans spinning at maybe 1200rpm or less. Drives always seem cool to the touch. You probably couldn't sleep with one next to your head but in the next room, no problem. * It takes days to rebuild 8TB when you switch out a bare drive. So does normal RAID though.


My main beef with Drobo is the way the file system works. You specify a faux file size of the drive that Mac OS recognizes, but it doesn't relate to the actual file size of the drives.

It turns out you should make this faux file size as large as you can (16TB) as the faux file size restricts the actual file size, so I made my faux file size 2TB and now actually have 2.5TB of storage, to make my drobo recognize it I have to reformat all the disks and lose the data. Daft.


I believe you can just make another dataset/drive - not the best solution, but you can use that extra space - just in another logical drive.


I'll stick with my ZFS raidz array. Right now I'm using NexentaStor, but I'm probably going to switch to plain Nexenta soon.


I was considering buying one of these to back up media files. Thanks for saving me cache and a headache!


Why isn't Drobo in the comments here responding?


Why should they be? They have an official support channel--they aren't obligated to have some poor "evangelist" follow up on every reference to their product on the internet.

Some companies might do this, and you might be used to getting a semi-canned response on Twitter every time you mention a company's name, but that doesn't translate into any kind of obligation on their part.


I mean, why isn't a company rep here to respond?


No ethernet and expensive?




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