Drobo Gen 2 Full 4-Disk Failure on Mac OS 10.11.6

Suddenly things went wrong. After an Apple OS update to 10.11.6 on my iMac, my Drobo Gen 2 showed a full disk failure: 4 vertical red lights on the right side of the box, blue lights all along the bottom, and a non-blinking red power light. It stays like that for a while, then reboots, and the process starts over again.

All 4 of the installed hard disks are brand new w/in the last 4 months.

This is going to be a long description of what has happened since, but please understand that I bought this Drobo used, therefore have no warranty support from Drobo (which is fine, I understand that), but I need to get this Drobo back up and working again.

Drobo Dashboard did not recognize a mounted Drobo unit.

First step: I panicked a bit and thought that perhaps a software upgrade was needed, so I installed Drobo Dashboard 2.8.3. [color=#FF0000]That was a mistake: Drobo Dashboard 2.8.3 seems to be incompatible with Apple OS 10.11.6. At least is prevented my iMac startup from happening,[/color] so I uninstalled 2.8.3 and reinstalled v2.6.4, which seems to be working fine.

I cannot upgrade the Drobo firmware, because I can’t get Drobo to mount w/in Dashboard. But am not sure that would fix the problem anyway. I believe that I am running firmware v1.4.2 for Mac.

Current state: when I power up my Drobo Gen 2, it recycles the lights then ends up at the configuration mentioned above: 4 red lights down the right side, all blue lights on along the bottom, and a non-blinking red power light.

I have followed the troubleshooting advice at https://myproducts.drobo.com/article/AA-01649 : “What should I do if my Drobo storage device keeps rebooting?”

And I have followed the instructions from there to test the power supply.

The last part of the “reboot” issue instruction states: “Without drives installed the Drobo device should boot to the following condition: Top (or left) drive light is solid red, power light is Green, all other lights off. Drobo Dashboard should see your Drobo device.”

It get to that point for about 10 seconds, with the “Top (or left) drive light is solid red, power light is Green, all other lights off.” During this time, Drobo Dashboard still does not see my unit. And then it reboots and the cycle starts all over again.

The final bit of advice based on the above scenario is “If Drobo continues to reboot without drives installed, contact Support.” Which I did, supplying all the diagnostics info. But since I purchased this unit used…well, I’m SOL, unless one of you folks on this forum can help in some way.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions you might have.

(just linking related post)
hi heakland, can i check if this mac os version is el capitan?
if so, can you remember if the uprade was actually carried out while the drobo was plugged in and on / in use?

im not sure if this applies to you, though in essence, the general advice mentions to unplug the drobo while doing the upgrade, for example as mentioned here:

it ‘could’ be something to do with the way some mac programs work (such as elcapitan) where programs sometimes use the largest drive (or volume / mount) available, for temporary files, or maybe even trying to make extra backups during the upgrade for rollback purposes behind the scenes, and that maybe it has overfilled your drobo in some way, but am not sure exactly, and do not have a mac, but maybe this has happened?

for the dashboard though, maybe some of the information regarding permissions could help you, with regards to at least testing your drobo while empty? (sometimes a new software upgrade or update can change permission and firewall settings, and maybe you can gain access to the drobo via dashboad again via some setting checks and changes?)

if so, and if you happen to see your drobo again, please remember that diskpack drives should only be removed (or inserted) in their entirety, and only while power is all OFF and unplugged.

it might also be possible that your physical drobo unit encountered a problem, (and if that is the case, then your diskpack drives might still be ok), in which case you might be able to follow one of the migration processes to essentially use yoru diskpack in another similar or newer compatible model, for example as mentioned here:

it could also be something wrong with the diskpack though, and if you feel ok with it, then it might be worth still raising a ticket with the support team, as i think you can still get some support via a pay-per-incident method, if you wish, even if out of support.


thanks so much for the detailed reply. I really appreciate it. It’s going to take me some time to work through all of it, but I wanted to reply quickly to let you know that I’ve seen your suggestions.

Yes, this is Apple OS El Capitan, and the most recent update is 10.11.6, as I’ve mentioned.

I don’t think my Drobo Gen 2 was turned on or connected to my iMac when I installed the OS update. Pretty sure it wasn’t.

Also, I’ve been corresponding back and forth w/ Drobo support, letting them know most recently that I’m willing to pay for some tech assistance but haven’t heard back from them as yet.

I’ll keep at this, trying to work things out, and report back here with any progress.

Thanks again for replying to my post. It’s helpful to know I’m not entirely on my own with this. :slight_smile:

ah ok no problem, thank you for the update so far

Paul (and anyone else who’s monitoring this discussion),

Here’s the update: I was able to get my Drobo Gen 2 back up and running by switching over to a USB connection instead of the Firewire connection that I had been using successfully for quite some time.

I was also able to get Drobo Dashboard 2.6.4 running smoothly again, as it seemed to be a firewall/port issue (did I mention yet that I’m not really a tech guy when it comes to all this computer stuff? I know enough to be dangerous but trouble shooting isn’t my strong suit).

Once I switched connection ports, Dashboard recognized my Drobo and the unit went into Data Protection mode for 9 or 10 hours or so. But as long as I’m connected from my Drobo to my iMac via USB, everything seems to be running fine. The little bit of issue that I’m not too pleased about now, however, is that my iMac only has a USB 2 bus, which means a slower file transfer than w/ Firewire. And I’m not sure why the Firewire connection would have gone bad. Is it a hardware problem w/ the Drobo unit? or something that changed w/ my upgrade from Mac OS 10.11.x to 10.11.6?

The other thing that’s happening is that Time Machine and Drobo don’t seem to like one another. When I’m running Time Machine to back up my iMac, the desktop app icon changes to the orange TM image and then Drobo Dashboard can’t see the unit. But that, apparently, is another story, and I’ll check other community discussions for that.

Given all this, do I dare upgrade to Mac OS Sierra? Think I’ll wait on that for a while. :slight_smile:

Thanks again, Paul, for providing your suggestions and helping me out with this.

thanks for the update heakland, and am glad you are up and running again via usb (even if a tad slower) :slight_smile:

for the timemachine area, another use johnm made a post here with lots of info that could help you:

and i think you made the right choice regarding sierra :slight_smile:
if you do find an urge or need to ugrade to it though, then i think it would be good to make a backup of yoru data beforehand if you can, (or at least of the most important data), and to only upgrade when the drobo is all powered off and unplugged.