Can drobo mini be used with multiple mirror partitions?

Hi guys,

I am about to shoot a documentary and looking for a data solution. I already have a Drobo mini and so I’m trying to find out if I can use it in the following way. I want to buy 12 drives and name them like this:
1A, 1B
2A, 2B
3A, 3B
4A, 4B
5A, 5B
6A, 6B

Basically I would like to have each drive mirrored only once, My goal is to pack 2 separate bags with A drives and B drives incase of loss/damage. I would also like to be able to put any pair of drives in the drobo at any time (for example drives 2a 2b 6a 6b) after the partitions have been created.

And lastly, incase the drobo mini itself is lost/damaged/fails can I use a regular USB hdd reader to have full access a single drive. If not, then can I use the drobo for 4 individual partitions which can be accessed by regular usb hdd reader. This will be helpful to give a single drive to somebody as a deliverable.

The only other question I have is which 2.5" hdds do you recommend? 1.5TB most likely. Will be lots of travel and they will be kept in padded pelican case and only taken out with care for copy.

If you can answer my question I will be very appreciative! Or point me in the right direction if what I am aiming to do won’t work. Cheers drobo & community

hi amt, welcome to the forums,
here are a few quick thoughts from me…

  • if you have a drive (or drives) in a drobo, you will need a drobo to read the contents
  • if you are going to travel a lot, you will likely need the drobo hardware as well as the drives
  • if you have drives in a drobo, they form a Disk Pack, and ideally you will need to remove them as a pack, and reinsert them as a pack (in BOTH cases always with the power OFF).

I am not too sure about the way you wish to mirror and maybe you could help elaborate a bit more on that?

i’ll post back shortly with another idea :)[hr]
you may already be aware, but using a simple example:

some drobo’s give you protection against 1 drive failing (SDR), and some give protection against 2 drives failing (DDR).
im not sure which method you are using, but the mini seems to support 2 drives being protected: eg:

  • if you have 2 drives in a drobo, (1 drives space will be usable, and the other drives space will be used for protection)
    = if 1 drive fails, you can still access the data from the other drive.

  • if you add a 3rd drive, and in DDR, then 1 drive is usable, and the other 2 are used for protection.
    = if 1 or 2 drives fail, you can still access the data.
    (if you were in SDR mode, then 2 drives are usable and 1 drive is used for protection)

  • if you add a 4th drive, (in DDR) then 2 drives are usable, and the other 2 are used for protection
    = any 1or2 drives can fail, and you can still access the data.
    (or in SDR, 3 drives are available, and 1 is used for protection against failure)

so overall, while you “could” use smaller disk packs, with 1 drive redundancy,
it might also be worth looking into using a combination of Drobo, and an external basic usb reader and usb standalone hard drive.

this way, you can do your work, and store your master source footage on the drobo,
and have 1 or 2 drives worth of protection (based on your project’s data size etc)
and then copy and paste the output onto the standalone usb drive (via a usb reader etc if needed) and give that Readable drive to customers.

= your master source stays with you
= your master source is protected against 1 or more drive failures
= your customers get a “copy” of their data, (just make sure you give it to them in a format they can read, eg for windows or mac etc)

one thing missing though, could be how you keep/store/move your drives around, and whether you want another backup in a separate location?

sorry if i misunderstood anything, but hope this helps a bit.

Hi Paul,

thanks for taking the time to respond to my post, I will try to explain my situation a little better.

Do you know IF the drobo (with 4 drives in) can partition those drives individually without adding them to any kind of raid. IE:
Drive D: (1a)
Drive E: (1b)
Drive F: (2a)
Drive G: (2b)

If it CAN? do this, then i can just mirror manually by copying drive D to E at the end of a day if there have been any changes.

And then I want to be able to put in other drives (eg 3a, 3b) and update those with files, so basically depending on what footage is shot, i can pull out drive set 1,2,3,4,5,6 and keep track of things.

It would be nice if
a) i dont have to manually copy from 1a to 1b (although i can get software to do this by checking all files on 1a duplicating to 1b etc)
b) the drobo doesn’t try to format or add anything to a data pack when putting in different drives (ie 5a, 5b) i want it to just load the partitions so i can update things throughout the trip.
c) each individual drive can also be accessed by USB reader incase drobo is lost/damaged mid trip. Which also means i can give drive 1a at end of shoot to somebody, 2a to somebody else and they wont need drobo to access.

I realise the drobo wasn’t designed for this use, Just trying to figure out if it will serve the above purpose anyway.

Thanks again Paul,

I have decided it would be best to use a dual dock duplicator by vantec (pretty great that it doesnt need computer to duplicate and quite cheap) and keep my Drobo for editing purposes.

Admins, please close thread, Thanks again

There’s really not much room for theorizing here. The answer is simple: no, Drobo doesn’t support such kind of setups. Each disk that goes into Drobo becomes integral part of the diskpack, end of story. Within the disk pack, no particular drive gets designated as a “mirror” or “protection” or whatever. There are no clear boundaries defined, and you have absolutely no way of telling what ends up where, whatsoever. When they say “the capacity equal to the largest drive is used for protection”, it is just a simplification - there’s no actual physical drive dedicated to that purpose. ByondRAID implements the concept of zones - you could have hundreds of “RAID5”, “RAID1”, etc. “arrays” (emphasis on the quote marks) within the single diskpack, possibly spanning different drives, with their parity data spread all over the place.

You could, theoretically, have several dispacks and use them interchangeably (always whole diskpack!), but I struggle to find a reasonable scenario for such usage.

cool amt, the vantec dual dock duplicator sounds interesting.
like zbig said, not all scenarios can play out in the exact way you wish, but hopefully with more understanding of what each tool is good for, you can end up with a working solution overall :slight_smile: