Drobo FS issues

I purchased a Drobo FS 3 weeks ago and have been getting it set up. Unlike a lot of the people here, I don’t mind it, although there are some issues I’d like to get opinions on.

First, I find it a good way to back up my files and have them accessible. I have lost hard drives of movies files and other files before and hopefully that will not happen with the Drobo’s better designed systems.

First, my setup. It’s a new Macbook Pro hooked to the Drobo FS through a hub (Buffalo, a cheap one but Gigabit). The hub also connects a Mac Mini Server (also new). I have plenty of space on the unit, 6 GB total with 3 GB free or so.

One issue I have is speed. The device is very, very slow, and copying files from the device is ridiculously slow at times. Christmas was almost ruined when it took 45 minutes for me to copy the Charlie Brown Christmas Special off the disk, and it’s only like 200 mb.

I am also trying to use the device as a backup since my Firewire hard drive just died. It works, but again it’s terrifically slow, taking like 6 hours to backup 20GB. It’s slow enough that I often don’t complete a backup while working at night.

Can anyone give me advice on how to improve the speed? It’s just not fast enough for anything but archiving stuff I have plenty of time to wait for. I don’t think direct connection will improve much but I can try that. (it kind of kills the point of a NAS if only one computer can access it.)

Also, all things being equal I’d like to backup over airport if I can stand the reduced speed. How would i go about setting this up by the way? Currently the hub is only connected to the Drobo and the Mac mini but there’s another airport base station I’ll eventually connect with ethernet, will that make the Mac be able to open the shares directly? How will the Drobo app “see” the shares if ethernet is not hooked up?

Are people happy with it as a backup system? Are the Sparc virtual disks reliable enough when restoring data after a crash?

(Incidentally, the word “drobo” (dorobo) in Japanese means “thief.”)[hr]
A little more info in case it’s helpful. I have Drobo Apps off, and I am getting an IP for the Drobo via DHCP.

[quote=“ppayne, post:1, topic:2133”]First, my setup. It’s a new Macbook Pro hooked to the Drobo FS through a hub (Buffalo, a cheap one but Gigabit). The hub also connects a Mac Mini Server (also new). I have plenty of space on the unit, 6 GB total with 3 GB free or so.

The first thing you need to do is replace your hub with a switch to prevent packet collisions.

lol thats cool re the japanese word :slight_smile:
Data Dorobotics - data thief :slight_smile: just kidding


This sounds like issues with the rest of your network. I write 20GB to the Drobo in typically less than 15 minutes. Usually around 26 MB/220Mb per sec. Read is 50-75% faster.

Do you have proper cabling, updated network drivers, and the most important a good switch - lots of crappy switches out there.

I always buy switches I can monitor and manage.

Happy new year :slight_smile:

Yes, I think so, I might have a hub that’s only fast ethernet and not giga, even though it says “giga” on the side. I set the Drobo up as a wireless device and it’s working reasonably fast, so I am happy. And it’s in the next room so no noise at all (although the noise was not a problem for me).

There are some ahem cheap gigabit switches that do not have full switching fabric (which means the switch itself cannot handle a full 1000 Mbps full-duplex on all ports simultaneously). These will slow down transfers when there is heavy network usage.

@ppayne: thief/burglar is “dorobou” (long “oh” at the end) - Japanese has both long and short sounds. Once got a funny look because I used fusen (label) instead of fuusen (balloon). Same with chizu (map) and chiizu (cheese). But it is amusing.
I looked at Drobo Japan’s site to check, and they get around the funny pun by writing Drobo in English. :slight_smile:

Definitely avoid anything labelled as a hub - honestly, I didn’t know hubs existed past the old 10Mbps days. Get a good switch (I use NetGear switches, which work quite well), and then make sure you have good Cat6 cabling. Cat5E might work, but the price difference is minimal, and in my opinion it’s not worth the headache of “gee, is that what’s causing the problem?”. As for wireless, beware that the “gigabit” ports on Airport products tend to perform pretty poorly - I run all of my wired connections to a NetGear switch, then a single uplink to the Airport (well, Time Capsule in my case).

My colleagues in Japan like to call switches “HUBs” (sometimes “switching hub”) so I always have to ask them for clarification.

Have yet to see a true Gigabit hub, but definitely have some 10/100 hubs lying around. :slight_smile:

Hi, some updates. I found an article by Drobo which I can’t find now saying that certain Gigabit ethernet switches “were being investigated” for poor performance with NAS type disks. Well, that explains the ridiculous speeds I was getting (time to copy 36 GB of data, 3,300 hours???). I had bought a (cheap) Gigabit Ethernet switch from Buffalo (I live in Japan), and the speed was so slow when going through the hub I was ready to shave my head and go live in the mountains. So I bought another (slightly less cheap) hub, this time by Logitech. And the speed is…still the same. So can anyone help me out here? Basically I need to keep buying switches (I said hub earlier, but I meant switch) until I get one that works acceptably, or connect my one laptop directly (which is reasonably fast), negating the entire point of the NAS?

I feel the company has knowledge of this limitation, that the NAS will be very slow under a lot of normal home network situations, and has kept the information from its customers.

Ahh, you live in Japan, very cool. Think of me the next time you stop by a Mister Donut. :slight_smile:

Very naughty that a device would have such troubles with standard network equipment.

I wonder if it’s an issue of things going too fast - and therefore the switch is having to stop the packet flow, which overall makes things slow.

It might simply be that FS is forcing/using Jumbo Frames that are too large for those particular switches, which would cause excessive packet fragmentation and.

Switch-wise, you want to look for something that has “full switching fabric” or 2000 x (number of ports) bps.
For example, an 8-port gigabit switch must be able to process 16000 bps in order to provide full-duplex GigE on each of its ports.

Have you checked with the Drobo Japan office? They hopefully have a better idea of what local makes/models work well - at the very least they should be able to tell you what they’re using in their office, without you having to continue playing switch roulette.