Can I add/remove drives in this condition?

Here’s the status of my Drobo-FS:

Bay #1: flashing red
Bay #2: flashing green/orange
Bay #3: flashing green/orange
Bay #4: empty
Bay #5: empty

I had two failed drives (each 3TB and only about 14 months old) a few weeks ago, which is why 4 & 5 are empty.

#1 is an odd 800GB drive that somebody gave me a few weeks ago because they didn’t know if it was good or not. I slid it in and it was detected, green, so I thought it was ok. Now it’s flashing red.

Questions: can I safely remove the failed drive in bay #1 without affecting the (hopefully still good) drives in bays 2 & 3? And can I slide in new drives (I plant to purchase locally today) into the empty bays while bays 2 & 3 are flashing green/orange?

For some reason, the appliance responds to ping but drobo dashboard can’t see it any more. So I am not sure how much longer the rebuilding of drives 2 & 3 will take. I know it sometimes takes days.


Wow these forums seem deserted. Oh well, after a few days of lights flashing like a christmas tree, I decided to pull the flashing red drive. Nothing happened when I did that (the other two continued flashing green/orange).

I found another 3TB drive sitting around (I think this was previously declared dead by the drobo a couple years ago), so I slid it into bay #5. All the lights went out - all of them. Then came back on as if initially powering up the drobo. After a few minutes of initialization, all three drives are flashing green/orange.

The good news is that drobo dashboard can connect to the device now so I can see what’s going on with rebuilding. It’s reporting 190 hours remaining. Almost 8 days… ouch.

I have two new (2TB WD Red) drives that were just delivered. I wonder if sliding them into the empty bays will help reduce that 190 hours.

At this point I’m thinking I’ll wait the 8 days since I don’t urgently need anything from the appliance. Most of my files are copied on various assorted external smaller drives.

Fingers crossed.

Update for posterity:

The estimated rebuild time kept increasing until it was well over 200 hours. After a while, the third drive I has slid into bay #5 showed failed. I pulled it and decided to slide in the two new 2TB drives. After recombobulating, all four drives were rebuilding together and the estimated rebuild time as reported by dashboard was a more reasonable 28 hours. After a few hours, it dropped into the teens. This morning everything is green.

So the answer to my opening question (can I add new drives or pull failed ones while other drives are rebuilding) seems to be yes, in fact it seems to be the only way to get the appliance back in shape.

Thanks for recording your experience. It is good to read all is now well with your Drobo.