Drobo

Drobo Performance

I just got a brand new Drobo FS for christmas and put (2) 1TB Western Digital Caviar Green drives in. I enabled jumbo frames on the drobo and my iMac 7,1. I have it all hardwired with a Airport Extreme (2 years old, not the dual band) and then started copying files. What I’ve noticed is that I’m getting about 12.5MB/s write and 40.7MB/s read. I realize that write is always going to be slower, but 60% less?

I’ve been trying to investigate my slow write speeds but can’t seem to find anything. I did find that my read speeds fit within the specs for the Drobo FS with Jumbo Frames enabled.

I’ve rebooted the Drobo, my iMac, swapped ports on the Airport Extreme…Anyone have any ideas?[hr]
Just wanted to add that I just connected directly to my iMac and the performance didn’t change. Now I’m completely out of ideas.

Are you sure the Airport Extreme supports Jumbo Frames?
Seems to be a bit of a mystery according to this discussion at least.

It’d be worth a try without Jumbo Frames enabled, just to see.

Also, if you just set up your FS, it may still be doing its initial housekeeping, where the performance will be slower-than-usual.

bhiga,

Ya, I’ve tried without Jumbo Frames enabled and the write speed goes to about 11.5MB/s, but the read speed drops to about 30.7MB/s. Theres a difference when its enabled for sure.

I’ve had it up and running for almost 2 weeks. Seems like the initial housekeeping should be in order.

12.5MB’sec is pretty good, I’m lucky if I get 10MB/sec write. Streaming I get 10-20Mbps (thats MegaBITS NOT MegaBYTES!!!)!

Really? I’ve just seen so many responses that say on a Gigabit network I should receive about 25-30MB/s. I was following this benchmark review of the FS Drobo FS: Benchmark and Review.

Sorry, my comment was being a bit sarcastic (towards the Drobo FS, not you), yes you should be getting much more than 12.5MB/sec, and I should be getting much more than 10MB/sec, this forum is littered with user problems and performance issues, and still there is nothing from DRI by way of a firmware upgrade for over a year!

As you can tell, I’m getting more than a little annoyed with my Drobo FS experience, and its going to end up as little more than a paperweight!

How are your read speeds? Speedy or also slow?

There’s definitely a performance difference between writing lots of small files vs large files. Large files go faster.

Not it my experience, I only write large files; I.e. 15-45GB and still only get 10MB/sec max, sometimes as low as 5MB/sec!![hr]

Very slow, sometimes as slow as 3MB/sec transfering a file from the Drobo - streaming is even worse; around 15-30Mbps (megabit sec) according to the internal network test in my current media player.

@Blade1001: What’s your drive configuration and connection method? I regularly burst to 30 MB/sec, and have averages between 12 and 15 MB/sec on my Drobo v2.

Odd. I just did an AJA test and when I send a 128MB DVCProHD 1080i60 to the DroboFS, it clocks in at 40.6MB/s write and 76.8MB/s read and it starts immediately. When I send a 256MB, its 5.9MB/s write and 22.5MB/s read and takes a few seconds to start. 512MB results in 12.2MB/s write and 39.6MB/s read which is pretty much the same on files larger than that.

Those numbers seem really random…

That is odd, though your read speeds seem very good. When I am streaming to a media player, the rate fluctuates from 15Mbits/sec up the 30Mbits/sec, very occasionally spiking to 40Mbits/sec - I don’t know if this sort of fluctuation is normal either.

Have you tried repeating the AJA tests to see if the results are repeated for the same file sizes; if they are, thats wierd, if not, and speeds are completely random but highly variable, then thats not good!

Yea, I’ve done multiple rounds of this test and always get similar results.

This is a total newb question, but if I have the settings for the File I/O API set to Macintosh it gives me 12.5MB/s write and 39.6MB/s read. If I set it to Unix, it instantly starts and writes at 34.7MB/s and 43.3MB/s. Anyone know why it would be dramatically better?

'Cause Apple is crap?! “cough!” - sorry, did I say that out loud?! :-0

I take it this setting is in the test software you are running, not in the Drobo?

It is a strange result, unless the Mac API resuires some sort of handshaking or error checking which slows it down?

The settings is in the AJA System Test software that I’ve seen come up a couple times as the DR benchmark tool. After setting it up to do a whole swhack of file sizes ranging from 128MB to 8GB, its definitely writing at the speeds as per this guys benchmarks and DR.

I updated my support ticket with all this information hoping that they can provide some input into my findings.

Let me know what they come back with, but I doubt they are going to say anything other than “the Drobo FS isn’t fast enough for your requirements” as has been quoted elsewhere on this forum.

I think ultimately I’m coming round to the realisation that the Drobo FS, just isn’t very fast and hasn’t been very well implemented.

I am on the verge of putting together my own unRAID server from an old Core Duo PC, which has the same single disk redundancy, but speeds upto and over double the Drobo.

Given that DRI have not updated the firmware in almost a year, to deal with any of these speed or functionality issues, I have to question whether they even intend to - it doesn’t take even a single developer that long to write test and debug a new firmware.

what are the bitrates of your files?

15 Mb/s = about 300 MB file size for an hour tv show (45 minutes) which is about right for a “SD” rip you get online.
(they normally clock in around 350-375 MB, but as you said the speed goes up and down so it probably averages out about right)

you media player isn’t reading the whole file as fast as it can, it’s reading as fast as it plays it, so those numbers are expected.

also chances are, the file is encoded VBR, or variable bit rate, you can work that one out on your own.

I’ve read somewhere that there should be new FS firmware out this month. don’t remember where it was though

Hi waw74,

The files are blu-ray rips. So bit rate is variable, and is anything up to around 40Mbps (although the recommendation is to allow at least 50Mbps min for streaming without stuttering). File size is anything from 15GB to 45GB.

The files reside on the Drobo, and are connected to my DIR655 router via 1m of Cat6, then another 1m length of Cat6 connects from the router to the Netgear NeoTV 550 which acceses and play the blu-ray rips.

In terms of the NeoTV’s streaming rate that I have quoted before (approx 15-30Mbps [thats MegaBITS per second not MegaBYTES]), this is an internal network test that can be performed within the NeoTV’s system settings. So this is an absolute performance measure of the connection speed between the NeoTV and a particular network share, its not relative to a particular file size or file bitrate.

Incidentally I performed a small test last night as a comparison. I connected my Dell laptop, which has a 10/100 ethernet port on it, to the DIR655 router via an old 15m length of Cat5e cable and set up a share folder with a blu-ray rip in it. I then performed the network test within the NeoTV . . . I got 70-80Mbps - up to three times what the Drobo can achieve with its Gigbit ethernet?!?! And that was via SMB - NFS should be even faster and more stable! And if my laptop had a gigabit ethernet port, I’m sure it would be faster still.

I then tried streaming the blu-ray rip, and it played flawlessly, not one blip, stutter or freeze.

For me this is almost the final nail in the coffin for the Drobo, when an aging laptop, with inferior network connection, and slow little laptop drive can so massively outperform it.

If I don’t get any joy through my current support case, or if the forthcoming firmware you mention doesn’t materialise, I think I will be starting to gather together the parts for an unRaid server.

[quote]I’ve read somewhere that there should be new FS firmware out this month. don’t remember where it was though
[/quote]

Here maybe?
This update should add support for larger than 2TB disks. I doubt it will make the slowmo-box any faster.
I agree it is so slow that I would never buy another box, but it does stream my uncompressed BluRay rips just fine. Not sure what happens if I try to stream two Blurays at the same time though.
Im probably going for a Synology DS1010 or 1511 the next time.

Here maybe?
This update should add support for larger than 2TB disks. I doubt it will make the slowmo-box any faster.
I agree it is so slow that I would never buy another box, but it does stream my uncompressed BluRay rips just fine. Not sure what happens if I try to stream two Blurays at the same time though.
Im probably going for a Synology DS1010 or 1511 the next time.
[/quote]

Hi DroboLars,

What do you stream to? Do you know what speed you get (in Mbps)? Are your blu-ray rips as .iso’s or folder structures?

The Synology boxes are pretty good I believe, but if you’re happy to do a bit of building (and I know you open to it given your fan mod of the FS), you should definately look into building an unRAID server.

See here

It seems to have all the boxes ticked; cost effective (can be made from the bones of almost any old PC), easily expandable (up to 40TB!!), easy to set-up (web GUI - 1hr set-up time), efficient use of storage (single disk redundancy), very flexible (allows specific disk allocation for file types), very well supported (regular updates and what appears to be a very active community) and most importantly fast (streaming rates in the hundreds of Mbps)!! I’m going to give it a go!