Drobo performance and reliability, i've had it!!

For those who want to read, long story and wall of text ahead.

My Drobo 2nd generation plus Droboshare are now about 1 year old. Attached are 4x1.5tb WD Green hard drives.

In the first few weeks, I’ve contacted support multiple times about performance and reliability problems. I’ve send log files, information about everything, photos of the power bricks, jumped through any loop they presented.

For example, putting Drobo to standby via Drobodashboard, would get me a critical error, saying there was no capacity left, all drive lights would be red etc. Support told me to change cables, change computers, and in the end they even offered to send a new power adapter, although mine was already the newer, more powerful model. The adapter never arrived btw…
In the end i did some testing. A power outage put me on the track. I was thinking ‘now the drobo will be fried for sure’. It wasn’t, and in fact, it just booted up as if nothing had happened. I tested it out, pulling the power cord provided a more reliable way of shutting down Drobo, than the standby button in drobodashboard ever had.

After i did no longer suspend it via Drobodashboard, simply left if running, I didnt get any more critical error, and Drobo was working, albeit frustratingly slow.

I tested 4 computers (Windows XP/Vista, Mac OS/X 10.6), via Droboshare and directly via usb, with different cables etc, performance always was horribly bad.

Drobo would write (via direct usb connection) about 15mb/s, which i find is ok, but only for about the first few hundred megabytes you would give it. Then speed would drop to a mere one or two megabytes every 20 or 30 seconds, with 0 bytes/s in between. After some 10-30 minutes, seemingly after Drobo digested all the data, it would be back up to 15mb/s as if nothing happened. Then this would start over and over again after some time, relatively good speed (so no, it’s not the data cable, power brick, computer or anything else) dropping to almost nothing in between.

The same happened with reading operations by the way too. Data speed were unreliable to say the least. 25mb/ (again if directly connected via usb), and then dropping to almost nothing, only to go back to normal after some time (couple of minutes to up to an hour).

Accessing a folder with some thousands of files in it, would make drobo activate its hard drive light, and then sitting there scratching the drives for 2 or 3 minutes at a time. The computers would always give me the ‘this network drive is no longer available’ error, resp. show me the drive was not properly ejected error if connected directly via usb instead of Droboshare. Give Drobo time, it would reappear in explorer/finder, as if nothing happened. Accessing another directory would start the same scenario yet again.

And that was with one simultaneous connection. Two users at the same time? Even accessing the root directory from two computers would send Drobo thinking about it for a couple of minutes.

And this either with an almost empty drobo, or an 60-70% filled up one. Although, the more data was on it, the shorter the periods became where it would operate at maximum speed and the longer it’s working times became.

Since I wanted to update to 1.3.6 (from 1.3.5), i thought i’d get myself a backup copy of the Data stored on Drobo beforehand. It took more than 3 weeks (!) to copy everything. Luckily I took the time, because after the update, Drobo would simply state the my drives were not formated. (!!!). So, i had to recopy everything back to drobo, another couple of weeks of waiting, managing etc.

Then, the second week of copying data back, my pc would crash. Now, since that moment, I am unable to reconnect Drobo. To any computer. When it boots, the capacity lights come on in the normal startup sequence, and then they turn off, never to get back on. Drobodashboard tell me everything is fine, 70% used space, only the hard drive access light never goes on, and neither to the capacity lights, and i’m unable to access Drobo, neither direct usb connection works, nor droboshare.

Since all my experience with drobo, i was still stupid enough to move (instead of copy) the data! If I’ll ever be able to access it again i don’t know, but either way this is it!

All my support periods have expired so I guess I won’t be getting any support (and sincerely the next time someone tells me to try some other cable, when i’ve used i don’t remember how many cables, i don’t know what will happen).

If I ever acces my data again, I’ll copy it off drobo and then retire it. I’ll then be in need of a replacement for drobo, and another NAS since capacity need has increased, but those two will for sure not come from Data Robotics. So I’ll have a couple of hundred euros sitting the bricked, knowing I gave them to Data Robotics getting nothing but lost time and frustration of it.

It’s been one year of read and write timeouts, errors because of unreliable data storage, and I don’t even mention the countless hours and days I’ve been busy copying and managing files!

I’m done with this.

Just so anyone who took the time could read this story.

A frustrated user from europe, moving on with life and a whole bunch of lost files and data, and praying that the rebuild operation i forced onto drobo will result in at least me recovering my stuff.

PS: Now I know why these forums ask for a valid Drobo serial number, so that no word of the frustrations packed within reach the world outside of cute video demonstrations and yet another explanation of what the lights on Drobo mean.

i suspect most of your issues are related to droboshare.

at any point did they replace the droboshare unit?

No, it’s still the original one, but since I’ve had the Drobo directly attached via USB to computers (Mac and Win) for an exteded amount of time, as I stated in my post, i can assure you that the problems don’t come from Droboshare. Maybe it didn’t help, but Droboshare can’t be accused for all the trouble.

I think my V1 connected to my Mac over USB does this too. I have my BitTorrent download directory on the Drobo (it’s where I have the most space). If you watch the upload/download speeds in uTorrent you can see it build up to a maximum (about 2.5MB/s on my FIOS) then it drops down to close to zero, then runs up to 2.5MB/s again. I thought it was my router, but while I’m getting zero read/write to the Drobo I can still get full download speed if I do a download from a web browser.

I didn’t think it could be the Drobo, but I think I’ll hook up a spare external drive and move my BitTorrents to there. I’ll report back…

dont run bittorrent on drobo!

drobo works well for large transfers… big files, or sequential transfers.

because of the way the block mapping works, hundred of tiny read and writes from all over the place REALLY hurt its performance!

It was the only place I had 100G or so at the time!