Drobo

Can I safely shut down Drobo while data protection is in progress?

Hello,

my drobo’s fan is extremely loud, and I sleep in the same room. That’s why I always turn it off and unplug it before going to sleep.

Yesterday I upgraded my drobo for the first time (from 4x1TB to 2TB + 3x1TB). After 6 hours, Drobo still said “Data protection in progress, do not remove any hard drives”.

Out of fear to loose my data, I didn’t just unplug the Drobo in order to sleep. Needless to say that I slept very badly, and I don’t want to repeat that.

My questions:

  • can I unplug Drobo while data protection is in progress?
  • Drobo says the wildest things about how long it will take. Yesterday it was 8 hours, today it’s 32 hours (sic!). What’s a good average?

Thank you,
Harald

no you cannot - the only way to shut it down is to pull the power, which is not recommended when its in a good state let alone when its rebuilding.

the rebuild time is very dependant on how much you are using drobo while it is rebuilding. it should take less than 48 hours, it would be roughly 48 hours to replace 2TB of “missing” data, 24 hours to replace 1TB of @missing@ data.

Just as a data point, swapping one 1TB drive for a 2TB drive with 2.11TB of data took 33 hours to rebuild. Inserting a 1TB drive took 48 hours.

And as Chris says, you should not unplug Drobo while it is rebuilding if you want your data to be there tomorrow. It should save it’s state and be okay but I don’t like taking those kinds of chances with any RAID device.

Thank you. Could I have an official statement on this as well? I hear people from Drobo read the forum too.

what official statement?

DRI employees have said multiple times on many thread - drobo must be shutdown properly - never ever just pull the power.

since you CANT shutdown drobo during a rebuild (there is just no way - it wont go into standby), there is your answer[hr]
and after 5 seconds on the knowledge base:

http://support.datarobotics.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/180/kw/shutdown/r_id/100004

how much more official would you like?

Thank you. I’m new here, and I don’t think it can be asked of Newbies to first read through 3+ years of posts because good documentation and a well-organized FAQ is clearly lacking.

I searched the support site previously for “protection in progress unplug” and zero results came up. Nice that you know the technical terms to search for - I am a regular person and can only rely on a good search engine with nicely indexed synonyms.

There is still no official statement about

  • what’s the likelihood that unplugging during “relayout” will damage any data
  • whether Drobo Inc has acknowledged that some people would wish to unplug during relayout and what their answer is. And no, “you cannot” is not good enough.
  • Needing 30 hours to move around 1 TB clearly means that Drobo is seriously underpowered. This matches well with the general sub-par data transfer speeds. I want an acknowledgement of this fact and how they are planning to address it. On my box. That I paid 1 week of salary to get. No, working another week for free to get a Drobo Pro is not an answer, especially since Drobo never warned me “Box will be really 10x slower than a regular harddrive and keep you awake at night for 2 subsequent nights if you want to keep your data safe”.
  • the fan issue. Why is it so loud. I read somewhere that it only measures every 10 minutes and then goes to full speed. Why is it regulating itself more often? All my equipment is <20dB (Macs and all), while Drobos is 43+dB - why didn’t they took this as a target? Why are some people not hearing anything - has this been investigated?

You know, I’m extremely dissatisfied with my Drobo. This box was really expensive, and so far the whole experience clearly sucked. It doesn’t feel like Drobo is working on it. And now this box is even preventing me from sleeping. In a few hours it’s bedtime again and it looks like I’m heading to a second sleepless night. Not - Fun - At - All . . .

i searched for “shutdown” since that is what you wish to do.

DRI employee have said that when they unplug a drobo during rebuild they ALWAYS see data corruption

its not moving around 1tb - its recreating 1tb of data by doing mathematics using ALL 3tb of the remaining data - so it has to read 3tb - then do maths on it then write 1tb of data which is creating from scratch. looking at it like that i dont think that 30 hours is at all unreasonable

some people have had their units replaced if the fan is faulty.

what are you using to measure your 43dB?[hr]
" good documentation and a well-organized FAQ is clearly lacking."

have you looked at the knowledgebase???

www.drobo.com/support

Harry…expected anyone newbie or not to search the Knowledge Base or the forum isn’t wrong. If you don’t find your answer at least you’ll have some background from people with similar issues that might help you get a solution faster. In this case there is no solution you’ll accept but that’s another thing entirely.

To your specific list:

"There is still no official statement about

  • what’s the likelihood that unplugging during “relayout” will damage any data"

It’s unknowable. There are “official” replies from DRI staff that Drobo attempts to save it’s state in the event of a power failure. The only guarantee against that is a UPS. Pulling the plug from the wall without properly putting the unit into standby is playing roulette with your data.

“- whether Drobo Inc has acknowledged that some people would wish to unplug during relayout and what their answer is. And no, “you cannot” is not good enough.”

That YOU wish to unplug during a layout is one person, not some people. I don’t wish to as I want it to just finish as quickly as it can. My Drobo is in my home office less than two meters from the head end of my bed. Doesn’t bother me. That you cannot is the answer. You don’t have to like the answer but it is the best answer you’re going to get.

But think about what you’re asking for a moment. Assume a re-layout is going to take 48 hours. Assume also that Drobo stores its last state reliably so that you can pull the plug whenever you wish. You let 'er rip for 12 hours, unplug and go to sleep. The next day you let 'er rip for another 12 hours…and so on. Perhaps in four or five days your re-layout will be finished. I suspect that the complaints about slowness will go up exponentially.

“- Needing 30 hours to move around 1 TB clearly means that Drobo is seriously underpowered. This matches well with the general sub-par data transfer speeds. I want an acknowledgement of this fact and how they are planning to address it. On my box. That I paid 1 week of salary to get. No, working another week for free to get a Drobo Pro is not an answer, especially since Drobo never warned me “Box will be really 10x slower than a regular harddrive and keep you awake at night for 2 subsequent nights if you want to keep your data safe”.”

Good luck with that. Trundle around the forum or use Google and you’ll find plenty of fellow noergler. I’m not happy with the price/performance ratio either. Like everyone who has bought a Drobo, if you were unhappy during the return period you could’ve taken it back. You won’t get an acknowledgement from DRI and expecting one is unreasonable. It just isn’t going to happen. I suspect that 10x slower is an exaggeration too. Are you really only getting 5Mb/sec? Because the fastest Firewire 800 drives push 50 to 60Mb/second in real world transfers. I’m getting about half that with Drobo and while I’m not thrilled at all about that there is also little that changes that. See my remark about returning during the returns period. I opted not to and ended up getting a QNAP NAS for the performance when I needed a second box.

“- the fan issue. Why is it so loud. I read somewhere that it only measures every 10 minutes and then goes to full speed. Why is it regulating itself more often? All my equipment is <20dB (Macs and all), while Drobos is 43+dB - why didn’t they took this as a target? Why are some people not hearing anything - has this been investigated?”

Mine is quiet and has been all along even when the fan is running a full speed. File a support case and get the unit replaced if its that noisy (and you are still within the one year warranty). My very first unit had a noisy fan and a wonky Firewire interface and it was replaced by the reseller immediately.

Drobo is sold based on it being able to use any SATA drives in any combination to create one big fat disk drive. That’s its claim to fame. Yes the unit is CPU and memory bound (in my opinion) but the more data you have on any box the longer it takes to rebuild when you swap out a drive. You swapped a 1TB drive in a 4TB unit. While I don’t know exactly how BeyondRAID handles it, in normal RAID 5 or 6 the box would have to rebuild the data on the missing drive based on the other three drives plus parity. If you have 2TB on it you must, as Chris points out, have to read the entire 2TB* of data to reconstruct what is missing.

*More exactly you need to read about 1.5TB of data plus 675MB of parity on the three remaining drives, calculate what’s missing and write 500MB of data to the newly inserted drive. So you are reading a total of 2.2TB to reconstruct around 500MB. Just the reads and writes themselves on a fast SATA controller would take nearly 13 hours. Add to that seek times and swapping since you can’t hold everything in memory and 36 hours doesn’t seem unreasonable to me. My QNAP rebuilds a 1.5TB drive on a volume that is 50% full in about 16 hours (if I recall) with a CPU thats three times faster than the one in Drobo. And I can’t unplug the QNAP either while it’s running if I want my data when I plug it back in again.

And once it’s done rebuilding to the point your data is “safe” again it won’t be finished. Drobo will spend quite a bit of time re-optimizing the layout. You can safely shut it down while it’s doing that but just so you know that it will have more work to do once it secures the data volume.

So I understand your frustration but righteous indignation won’t get you any solutions. Guess I’m just a realist as far as Drobo is concerned.

EDIT: actually in my sleepy haze I came up with a better way to explain re-layout times. In a four drive system Drobo would probably have to do three reads plus a calculation for every write. So for my example above you’re looking at around 30 hours for 2TB of data to be rebuilt.

I am of the same mind as Harri regarding the real information regarding Drobo. I thought I had read and understood everything on the Drobo website and read 20 different reviews before I decided to purchase a Drobo. After I got one, I had so many new, unanswered questions. The KB and searching the forums may contain an answer to your questions, but when being new here, it was very confusing.
The best advice is to flat out ask whatever question you have in a new thread. Wait for bhiga and docchris to answer. Read their replies and respond in kind.
DRI Jennifer will respond to your entire range of questions with either a “yes” or “no” or “maybe”. Ignore those posts. But remember that she can be a big help to get you support at the help desk, though.
After you have read through a few hundred posts, you will be able to find answers more easily.

You can also call us at any time between 6am to 6pm Pacific at 866-426-4280.
Usually I answer yes or no or maybe only because Bhiga and Docchris beat me to the punch. The look at the forums on the weekends which I cannot since I only work Monday through Friday.

When it comes to data protection mode, the ideal situation is to let it complete. We do have customers who are concerned about power outages due to a storm rolling in. We would then recommend the following:

  1. Shut down computer.
  2. Unplug data cable.
  3. Unplug power cord.

Once power is back you can then:

  1. Start computer.
  2. Plug in data cable.
  3. Plug in power cord.

Relayout will start where you left it off.

But we will also tell you this is NOT an ideal situation. It can cause data corruption but its the better than letting the power get cut to it.
I will also advise customers to run repair disk or chkdsk, depending on OS, after the relayout completes.

So the official word from DRI is: Please let the rebuild process complete on it’s own. Do not turn off the power to the Drobo. But we understand if there are circumstances that you would need to turn off the power. So do the above steps if you can.

Fast as fast can be! (Jackalope man)

BTW: It may take a bit longer than usual after shutting the computer down before the Drobo goes “lights off.” Be patient.

Well if the Drobo is in data protection mode, it won’t go lights off when you turn off the computer.

Oh yeah… It’s Monday. blush