BEWARE DO NOT USE A DROBO TO BACK UP VIDEO!

Do you see that exclamation point in the thread? And that question mark I just used…well if one of your video files has one of those and a number of other keystrokes, Drobo will rename your file into some kind of gibberish, it also like to erase suffixes, which is easier to fix on THOUSAND and THOUSANDS of file. What a mess!

I have thousands of video files stored on my Drobo with no issue. I’m sure a few of them have the “!” or “?” in their file name too.

It depends entirely on what operating system you’re using and what filesystem and how filenames are mapped between different filesystems. Some characters that are perfectly acceptable in file names under one filesystem are illegal under another and have to be mapped. That isn’t Drobo’s fault and it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that a file might contain video. With the entire alphabet and ten digits at your disposal it shouldn’t be difficult to come up with a meaningful and valid filename. There are even some symbols that are perfectly valid once you find out which they are.

Drobo has this to say:

when your file or folder names use characters that are considered illegal by the SMB protocol, an industry-standard protocol used for shared file access. The issue is not specific to DroboShare; the acceptable character set is specified by the SMB protocol, which DroboShare uses.
Examples of unaccepted characters in file or folder names include:
? [ ] / \ = + < > ; : " , | *…The only way to prevent this from happening is to not use the unsupported characters in file and folder names when using DroboShare or other products that use the SMB protocol.[hr]

I wish I had that information when I purchased the Drobo, and transferred over ten year of logged video, where the entire alphabet and ten digits were not really sufficient when you are trying to distinguish hundreds of files in a non-linear video editing project.

hi russell,
having read your posts, i can sympathise if lots of things got muddled up. (regardless of whether it is an error on someones or some os’s part - the fact that something went wrong is never nice to hear)…

as the guys above have mentioned, this is a problem, and maybe the only thing i can suggest in future is these:

  1. copy and paste (and verify) that the files are working fine after transfer (before deleting the original source)
  2. drobo technical documentation staff, might be able to bump up awareness of this fact, maybe by placing it near the start of the manual, or via a single loose extra page that is shipped with a drobo in a large font or colour etc)

if you are able to determine the actual conversions that have taken place in filenames, (eg, if a ! always becomes a ") for example, then you might be able to use a renaming tool to help get back the names.

i only know kenrename but if you search it and alternatives you might find something. (just run it through virustotal or similar to make sure its virus free, and before you run it in bulk, try it out with some copies of files batch by batch to play safe)

sorry i cant help much more as do not have a mac but hopefully something here will be useful.

The issue isn’t specific to Drobo, Russell. You say you’re using SMB (hence, I presume Windows). Any other NAS file server using SMB will behave similarly. Even NTFS has filename limitations, depending on the namespace used, the Win32 namespace being particularly restricted. The question mark and the asterisk characters are very commonly used as wildcards, hence EXAMPLE.EXT and EXAMPLE.TXT both match EXAMPLE.?XT while both these and EXAMPLE.A and EXAMPLE.ZZZ match EXAMPLE.*

In my time I’ve managed large video editing systems professionally, including a number of Avid Media Composer workstations connected to a Unity server back at the turn of the millennium when the hard drives we used were 76 GB Fibre Channel devices. In a system with over a hundred drives and full filesystem mirroring, we had a little less than 4 TB of usable storage. More recently, Mac Pros running Final Cut Pro connected to an Xsan server with rather more capacity, though by then, of course it was high definition and, despite being compressed, took up more space. I know what handling terabytes of video and audio media in a live outside broadcast environment is like. One anecdote you’ll be able to relate to involves a person tasked with ingesting and logging video clips and causing no end of havoc by rating the quality of each take by adding a number of asterisks (ranging from * for acceptable to ***** for excellent) to the end of the filename!

I merely tell you the facts to help you out of a hole. I don’t make the rules. If I did they’d be a whole lot more arcane!