Drobo

Drobo info

Hi,
I’ve been looking into increasing my storage space on my mac and how I can back it up and Drobo looks brilliant. Can I just confirm a couple of things:

  1. Say for instance I have 4 x 1tb drives installed and I was to just pull one of them out and replace it with a 2tb drive, I wouldn’t loose any of my data?

  2. Is the 4 Bay Drobo good or would you recommend getting the 5 bay drobo? I literally want to expand my storage space to 5tb+ because I take lots of photos and do quite a bit of video work. Im not looking to have it on the network (or what eve its called) I simply want to have it connected to my mac to increase my storage capacity.

  3. Does time machine still work? I like that if you delete something you can go back in time and find it.

Many thanks,
J

  1. thats generally correct - you would lose data if one of your remaining three 1tb drives while it was rebuilding (a 24-48 hour window)

  2. the 4 bay one is very slow - definitely get the 5 bay - plus then you can enable two disk redundancy - which would protect your data even if a drive failed during rebuild as i mentioned in number 1

  3. i think so but im not a mac guy

Thank you for your very prompt reply! Sold! I shall got and get myself a 5 bay drobo!

  1. Beware that Drobo S (5 bays) is much more noisy than Drobo 2nd Gen (4 bays).
    May be an issue if you work in a quiet room
  2. Drobo in general has (very) poor performance on short writes.
    Unfortunately, Time Machine generates a majority of those…
    Furthermore, you should partition your Drobo (using Drobo Dashboard) with a dedicated, non-expendable, Time Machine partition.
    Otherwise, Time Machine will progressively fill ALL your Drobo, and slow it down.

I’m in my own room so the noise isn’t really an issue, is it excessively noisy?
As for the speeds, I do photo editing in aperture 3 more than video work, is it likely to lag?
Thanks for the advise of partitioning the drobo and using that for time machine backups. I’ve been reading quite a few reviews saying that the drobo is slow. I don’t mind it taking a day and an age to initially put all my data on the drobo, but say for instance selecting a song to play on iTunes, will it take a few seconds before it plays or is it as instant as say it normally is on my internal hard drive?

I have 2 Drobo v2 and 2 Drobo S (one original and one G2).

The Drobo S units can be louder than the v2’s, but in my setup (granted, it’s been in the low 50 degF inside) they’ve both been quiet. We’ll see how it goes when we reach the summer months when my v2’s used to run the fan at mid/high most of the time.

Just another question:
I plan to use the drobo as my primary storage. So I will be doing photo editing in aperture working off of the drobo. Will it be slow? Likewise with video editing, will it be slow when editing video clips stored on the drobo?
I plan to connect it via FW800, I’ve read so many reviews and comments saying they are unbearably slow and should be avoided and that are are just for ‘backup purposes only’ I want this to be where all of my data is stored and leave my iMacs internal hdd free.
There are so many contradicting comments, some from drobo fanboys others from drobo haters… confused!

Photo editing is fine as long as you’re not working with really huge files (hundreds of MB’s, as that may take a few seconds for the data transfer.

For video editing, it will largely depend on:
[list=1]
[]What bandwidth/data rate of the video (remember that bandwidth/data rate is independent - you can have 2 Mbps 1080i and 160 Mbps 1080i, for example)
[
]Will you be editing multiple streams simultaneously?
[/list]
Remember that Drobo doesn’t necessarily make disk speeds faster, it just makes the data safer (fault tolerant).

I do not recommend doing that…
[list=1]
[]Your internal HDD will almost always be faster than Drobo, unless you have one of the enterprise-end iSCSI Drobos, but then I’m not sure you’d be able to boot from iSCSI anyway.
[
]If you have some kind of catastrophic error with your Drobo chassis or configuration that prevents you from accessing the Drobo’s files, you will have tremendously fewer recovery options than if you just had your data on a “regular” drive. Most data recovery places do not have the knowledge or hardware to be able to read a Drobo disk pack.
[/list]

For your video editing and OS-level disaster recovery, I would be more inclined to use Drobo as a backup target for some kind of automated backup rather than using it as the OS drive.

Also remember that fault tolerance is not a substitute for backup, nor is a single backup truly “safe.”
Regardless of what you use for primary/working storage, you should still have backups of anything that’s important.

Definitely browse around the Drobo knowledgebase and other Time Machine-related threads here (though you can probably safely ignore the ones related to Drobo FS issues) for hints and tips on making Time Machine work properly with Time Machine. Drobo’s Thin Provisioning can sometimes confuse things like Time Machine and whole-disk encryption as both assume there is “real” free storage behind what’s reported.

hi freeman, i have a gen1 “4-slot” drobo and a gen2 as well.
i still use the gen1 as primary and use it for windows movie maker using clips from any drive including drobo, and saving final versions to drobo (all gen1) and its all workable from my perspective.

even live audio recordings work great (almost) all of the time (but then again im on xp and my machine specs arent that great) but ive had no regrets so far.

(my gen2 is a mirror of the gen1 - i need to do the reverse sometime but so far its been more concerning and agro trying to workout how to safely do that, that i havent bothered :slight_smile:

if you work with images, try also using a parity tool such as quickpar. it is very good at creating checksums of your image files in a folder, and creating a few extra which you can use to reconstruct image files in the rare case of any corruption, or even accidental resaving over one of the images… certain conditions need to be met, eg you need enough recovery parts to utilise it, but for an increase of say 10-20% for important stuff, if you lose a couple of files it could use the remaining 8 good ones to reconstruct the bad ones.

its very good, checkout the website too.