Drobo dragged down computer?

I could be wrong about this, but my new Drobo seems to have severely dragged down the performance of my iMac 3.4 GHz Intel Core i7 8 GB MHz DDE# OS X 10.9.5

I had used my new Drobo 5D for a few days and all seemed fine. Then, after I had finished copying a 2TB Disk from my pre-Drobo archive into it, the activity light just kept blinking as though it were still copying. This went on and on and my computer slowed down something awful. I was trying to work in Lightroom at the time, and a process there that would normally be almost instantaneous could take minutes to complete. I tried to access the Drobo tools through the Dashboard, but I couldn’t. I could not shut it off through the dashboard. I finally dismounted Drobo in the Finder and manually turned it off. My computer continued to be extremely sluggish.

I closed and restarted Lightroom. No difference. I restarted my computer. No difference. I shut my computer down, started fresh. No difference, I wrestled with it for a day and a half, tried a purge, multiple restarts and shutdowns and nothing helped. I repaired disk permissions, then did a forced shutdown of my computer and went to bed.

The next day, the computer appeared to working ok - for a short while. I turned Drobo back on. In less than half-an-hour again slowed to a drag. Never as bad as that initial period before the disk permissions repair, but far more than before I added the Drobo.

I use Lightroom a great deal and when I pull up a new image to process, I always click “Auto” tone to see what will happen, and then I fine tune it. This has always been an almost instantaneous process. I click “Auto” tone and the changes appear instantaneously. Now, it generally takes anywhere from 5 seconds to a minute or more.

I don’t know for certain Drobo has caused this or if the computer just developed a major problem at the same time as I brought Drobo on, but it does look to me like Drobo is to blame. I need to fix the problem - quick! Anyone have any experience with something similar and know how to deal with it?

Are you using the drobo for active storage, opening files directly from Drobo and perhaps using it for scratch disk space for Lightroom (does lightroom have a scratch disk?)

I have not been using it as a scratch disk, but at some point using search to find a file I believe I accidentally opened directly from Drobo, but that was well before the incident. I am not quite sure what you mean by active storage. All I had been doing was copying my individual hard drives, of which I have at least 30, if not 40, ranging in size from 500 mb to 4tb into the Drobo unit (I have ordered a second Drobo 5d with 5 4 TD drives, btw, and even that will not be enough to take all my backlog).

For sure I would to keep my whole archive online, as what I would assume active storage means - available to do a search, find what I am looking for and open it directly from Drobo, but I have not intentionally tried to do so yet. Given the nature of your question, I assume it is not recommended.

Drobo is no longer online - maybe that’s what you mean by active storage - but even so ever since the episode I referred to everything runs slower than before. I have been using Lightoom heavily. A little further along on the projects I am working on, I will also use Photoshop heavily, with big, layered files and InDesign.

hi frostdog, when things seems to go slow,
(with or without the drobo being on and connected etc)

could you check if dashboard service and app are still running in the background and if they are utilising cpu/memory etc? (just wondering)

Yes, Paul, Dashboard was using both when I originally encountered the problem - and much higher than 13.2 mb, but I didn’t right it down and can’t remember. Drobo has been disconnected all day now and dashboard still shows in both, .3 cpu, 24.5 mb memory.

thanks, i wouldnt have thought 25mb of memory to cause the slowdowns…
but if your dashboard isnt even 1% cpu then its probably not that either.

on some versions of windows, memory leaks have often caused computers to crawl (happens to me on the gen1/gen2) sometimes on a standalone xp machine.

if you are not using the drobo at all (and not connected) can i check if your mac is working as fast as it used to?
if not, then its probably not the drobo.

if it works fine without any drobo or dashboard, then one thing you could do, is to check any firewall logs that you have, to see if something is throttling the ddservice (or similar on mac) connections to the drobo from dashboard.

i have seen a few cases when one of my drivers was conflicting on a similar port as dashboard and caused me problems before, but i restarted the services in a different order and it was ok again (but that was on windows)

For Lightroom, i seem to remember reading somwhere that it wasnt that efficient on external storage (though it might have been an iphoto or imovie) but maybe you can also check some settings in lightroom, in case you can find something that allows for more buffering (or less active/manual indexing) just in case lightroom is trying to monitor changes to the drobo in real-time but is somehow resetting the folder view and starting again? (just like the old scandisk or defrags used to do on windows)

Paul, the 25 mb of memory was at that moment… I’ve seen it in the many hundreds… when it gets really bad, I can’t check it at all because my screen locks for awhile…

However, I have not had my Drobo turned on for several days now and Lightroom is working just as it is supposed to - fast and efficient. It didn’t at first when I turned Drobo off, but a number of shutdowns and restarts later, it is. This makes me strongly suspect Drobo, though it could still have been another factor.

This is a little frustrating as I want to keep Drobo online and, in fact, Fed EX has my second Drobo Unit ready to deliver to me as soon as our schedules match. I would like to be able to run both Drobos, but I fear the results if I even run one now.

hmm ok thanks for the info frostdog.

when you get the 2nd drobo, if you can try that, we can see if it works fine (even while empty) using the same type of connection method etc, but without putting the original drobo online too, just to try and pinpont things.

then after verifying that the computer does not slow down a lot, we can try some more tests if you have time, such as:

  • copying some existing files and folders (images etc) from somewhere where LR room works fine, and pasting them into the drobo.
  • and trying to use those in lightroom as per normal.
  • then deleting those files/folders from the 2nd drobo (as its just a copy)
  • then waiting a bit to let drobo settle,
  • then to try and copy some of the files/folders that you tried working with while things slowed down and had problems, and pasting them onto the 2nd drobo. (try to do this without using the same computer if you can, so that the original drobo is “not” connected to the computer which went slow.
  • then to try using LR on those files and folders that you copied to the 2nd drobo, to see what happens…
    (if problems arise, it could be LR with those files and folders or LR configs or something else but lets wait to see hot the above goes before trying to plan everything out like playing chess) :slight_smile:

Thanks for this suggestion, Paul. I’m not sure where the time will come from, but I will try to find it and see what happens.

One of thing to try …on a Mac System.

That is to disable Spotlight Indexing on the Drobo. If you have tons of files in Drobo and OSX Spotlight indexing all of those… is going to be cpu intensive…

ah yes thats true, indexing programs like that, (and windows search) can slow lots of things down, including active virus scanning and pre-scheduled scans.

i think it was terry pratchett who made a book called “the thief of time” … it initially took me a while to understand the simple meaning of the title :slight_smile:

btw just as a thought (from one of brendas recent posts),
does your Lightroom have a large folder or file which represents its own master index/catalogue database?
if that is stored on a NON-drobo device, then maybe you could use some tools to see whether that Lightroom database is badly fragmented? On windows there are tools that can let you defrage a particular folder or file, instead of the whole hard drive but not sure about a mac.

you probably already know that people should Not run any defrag on the drobo, but the idea came to mind recently, because i remember having to defrag my windows movie maker database (on my windows drive) to get it work again, after it kept crashing due to a corrupt database… and all it needed was a defrag in the end.

Something to add to what Paul mentioned, regarding Lightroom catalog.

I’m a Apple Aperture and Abode Lighter user, and also Drobo :slight_smile:

Personally, me NOT a Pro Photography… so what me going to suggest here are mainly personal view and non-professional :slight_smile:

Lightroom Catalog file are mainly DB (DataBase) - if I am not wrong is a plain file DB, SQLITE. With Lightroom catalog, such DB can grow in size with thousands of records. Sad to say so… Drobo is not tune to optimize such DB operation, small I/Os…

Although with 5D or 5N mSATA accelerator, it does “helps” a little, but it still can’t match the performance where the Lightroom catalog lives on the Host internal HDD.

Recommended Setup

  1. RAW, Original Jpeg - all stored in Drobo
  • These will offload your Host machine internal HDD, which can be a huge space saving for those having small internal SSD.
  1. Lightroom Catalog stays in Host HDD for faster access…

  2. Lightroom has Catalog Backup function built-in, so you can point the catalog backup to a folder in Drobo.

  • This will be your LR Catalog Backup

*Your daily LR workflow still having access the catalog in the HDD, referencing the RAW and Original on Drobo.

In the event of a “disaster” or a fresh new machine… all you need is …reinstall LR, copy the backup LR Catalog from Drobo back into the fresh installed LR… and you are back in business.

Of cos’ you can also timely backup your user’s LR Preset to Drobo just like the LR Catalog and revert it if you ever re-install LR.