Drobo

Advice on handling drive failure

I have a 5D. It recently began indicating that one of my five drives had failed. Blinking red light. I’ve owned multiple Drobo’s (original, Pro, and 5D) over the years and have been through many such failures, so this a familiar occurrence. A few things the current event are giving me slight uncertainty - they may indicate that there is something different about this failure, but i’m not sure. Looking to see if this matches other people’s experience - and make sure I’m not missing the Drobo trying to tell me there is something different happening here.

I’ve ordered a replacement drive and am now in day 2 of waiting for it to arrive. During this time, I left the old failed drive installed. Current state of Drobo lights: 4 steady green and 1 blinking red.

In this time, DDAssist keeps putting up alternating notifications cycling about every 15 minutes or so. It says "Do not remove any drives or power down Drobo. You can continue accessing… " Then a few minutes later it says “The Drobo Disk Pack has just completed a rebuild of your data due to either of the following conditions: …”

Some of my uncertainties are as follows:

  1. Why does it keep cycling through these messages? Is this a sign that it keeps discovering new problems and trying to fix them? Or is this just a way for Drobo to keep reminding me that I have a bad drive until I get around to replacing it?

  2. I see one set of messages in Notification Manager from “DDAssist”. I see a different (small) set of messages in the little window at the bottom of the Drobo Dashboard application. These messages don’t match, nor do these seem to directly correspond to each other. This is slightly confusing. When looking at message history in Notification manager, I can only read the first few lines of messages. Is there some way I can see a more complete history and/or more complete versions of these messages? For example, is there a drobo log file somewhere that I can open and look at? I looked but no such log jumped out at me.

  3. One of the two messages that stays present at the bottom of the Drobo Dashboard app says “Drobo can not protect your data against failures until you provide at least 2 hard drives for single disk redundancy or 3 hard drives for double disk redundancy”. My Drobo had 5 drives. One seems to have failed. So now it has 4 healthy drives. It seems to have plenty of space on the remaining 4 drives to provide full redundancy. So this message doesn’t seem to me to apply to my situation. Should I just ignore it, i.e., consider it “transient” and no longer applicable?

  4. My plan is to remove the bad drive (blinking red LED) and plug in a new replacement drive. This seems like the “obvious” thing to do. However, Drobo keeps repeatedly giving messages that say “do not remove any drives or power down Drobo”. Is there a problem here? Or am I just interpreting the messages too literally, i.e., being paranoid? Now that I am in a state with 4 green lights and 1 blinking red, I presume it is ok for me to remove the dead drive - does this seem true?

  5. Sometime recently (I think it occurred in the last few days, but am not 100% sure), my Drobo started indicating “Warning 1% life” as the status for the MSATA drive. Does this indicate that Drobo is seeing errors when reading/writing to this drive? Should I worry about this? Am I better off just removing the MSATA drive to simplify things while I am going through the process of replacing my dead hard drive? If Drobo says “1% life” does this mean it ok to just let it keep working and assume it will tell me when/if it actually fails? (I actually ordered a replacement MSATA drive as well for good measure, but I would still like to understand what Drobo is trying to tell me here).

  6. Drobo seems to be going to a state with four blinking green/yellow drives and one blinking red drive. I think it is switching to this state for a few minutes once per hour. What does this mean? Is Drobo actually finding new stuff that needs to be fixed? Is this possibly a symptom of failure of the MSATA drive? It was my assumption that once Drobo had fully recovered from the failed hard drive, and gotten to the {4 green, one blinking red} state, that it would stay there and be “stable” unless another drive failure occurred. (I assume this question is closely related to #1 above.)

I’m hoping some experienced owners/maintainers of Drobo’s can add some useful insights here.

Replacement hard drive has arrived and I’m getting ready to replace. At this moment, Drobo happens to be in the state of four drives with flashing green/yellow and one drive with flashing red. Plus the message at the bottom says “data protection in progress. DO NOT remove any drives…”. So I assume the best thing to do is to wait for it to get out of this state before I pull the old drive and replace it.

One other thing that I meant to ask about in my previous message that seems different from past situations is that when Drobo says that data protection is in progress, I thought it used to give an estimate of how long it would take. I’m not seeing any such estimate.

Just a followup. Mostly it appears that my worries were unfounded (maybe?).

I waited for a time when Drobo was not flashing yellow. Pulled out the dead drive. Inserted new drive. After a few minutes, Drobo turned to all drives flashing yellow and gave me an estimate of 35 hours remaining.

MSATA still says “warning 1% life” but I think i’ll just let that go for now. I do have another MSATA arriving this afternoon.

So far looks like it is going smoothly.