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.