Can You Help With Formatting/iSCSI Clarification?

I’m finally getting around to setting up this Drobo 800i that I got from my company. I set it up using the USB cable, and then could not connect to it via iSCSI from my Mac. I found out about the whole “iSCSI initiator not being included any more” (bummer), but luckily our household is heterogenous when it comes to tech so I had a Windows computer lying around that allowed me to connect to the Drobo over iSCSI.

Here’s where I’m getting confused.:

  • when I went to format the drives, the only options were NTFS, Cluster, or None. It appears then that the Drobo Dashboard will only allow you to create a volume formatted to be compatible with the source OS, i.e. there will not be an option to create an HPFS+ volume unless I’m connecting from a Mac. Is that true?

  • Kind’ve related to the first question, I thought I’d be able to create volumes using my Windows computer and then mount them on my various Mac devices (Macbook, iPad, etc.) as I do now with my FreeNAS setup using CIFS/SMB (FileExplorer on the iPad). Is that not going to be possible because of iSCSI? Would I have to invest in an initiator for every non-Windows device I want to use?

I guess the ultimate question is, in my Windows/Macbook Pro/iPad household, is there any chance I would be able to get this Drobo set up to allow those devices read/write access?

Transient - noticed your query here several days ago and waited until I re-configured a Drobo Elite here on a different network to ensure my steps still work. They do. The first thing you need to realize is that Drobo the company will not help at all. Seems that when they first started selling boxes that used iScsi they fully supported the installation of all the software needed to have these devices appear on a Mac desktop (don’t know about Windoze, although the rumor is they will work there as well, maybe a little easier because Windoze is rumored to get along with iScsi). In any event, you’ll have to deal with a third party called ATTO at attotech dot com. ATTO is the polar opposite of Drobo - very good and engaging tech support for users trying to connect Drobo iScsi devices. You’ll need to purchase ATTO’s iScsi driver and it’s not cheap. But it works very well - worth it if you’re going to use an Elite to its capacity. ATTO sold two versions last I checked (Sep 2016) - one (in the version 3.5x series) that requires an old version of Java to be installed on your host system and another that installs a run-time version of Java (the version 4.x series). You’ll first need to safely shut down the Elite. Connect a USB cable to the Elite and your host Mac. Power on the Elite. It will become ready after several minutes and show up in the Drobo Dashboard, not your Mac’s desktop. Within the Drobo Dashboard, you need to configure the Elite using it’s network preferences - assigned it two un-used IP addresses in the boxes provided, ensure it has your router’s address (like and ensure it’s mask matches your router’s (usually ; make sure you change it from Confirm the settings and it will restart. Let it become visible again in the Drobo Dashboard. Use ATTO’s XtenSAN app to install the iScsi driver now that you have the network info for the Elite. You’ll need numbers from your ATTO purchase - serial number, etc., to plug in. Once you’ve dealt with ATTO’s iScsi installation, all you should need to do is safety shut down the Elite, unplug the USB cable and plug in a network cable. Once the restart finishes, the host Mac you set it up from should see it. ATTO has some pretty good step by step docs. My recommendation is to personally engage with one of the ATTO tech people. They have sympathy for us Drobo iScsi orphans and in my experience, will go out of their way to get the dang thing to come alive. Not to disparage ATTO (I’ll always use their product), but to be fair, I believe there is at least one more iScsi vendor out there, but I don’t recall the name and never used the product. Good Luck,