When I went on the site today to renew my DroboCare support, I ran into a page indicating that neither DroboCare nor any other form of tech support is available for Drobo V1.
That does not effect me directly but the V2 is next in line? Just a matter of time?
I sent the following to my DroboCare rep and thought I would post it here to see what other users think…
I am not impressed that DRI has already terminated support for the Drobo V1. I assume anyone with a V1 that has a problem can just dump their unit in the trash? I guess I will be next with my V2??? You are the “high priced spread” in the “cheap” Raid Box arena, having rather low price/performance. Your strong suit is support. Or it was…
And… UNLIKE ANY OTHER COMPARABLE PRODUCT, such as ReadyNAS, QNAP, etc., since your extensive diagnostic logs are encrypted and regardless are not presented in a readable end user format, your end users are forced to rely on DRI for any and all technical support. That is the nature of Drobo- something most of us customer’s do not like but have to live with.
In summary, I would not ever buy another DRI product knowing that only a couple years down the road I will have ZERO support or repair options for a black box designed not to be supported by even tech savy users such as myself.
To my knowledge, DRI has always limited their tech support to 3 years after date of purchase.
The severe limitations on support that you mention are what I point out to clients who are considering Drobo products for their business. It’s a deal killer.
I hope that DRI reconsiders their support policies. I love the concept and want to see them succeed. Unfortunately, like you and some other “old-timers” here, I’m becoming disillusioned with how they treat customers.
P.S. I do have clients with ReadyNAS. Their tech support is quite good, and as you say, their appliances are designed to be supportable by a skilled end-user.
I was not aware that there was a fixed 3 year limit. How long DRI would continue to sell me a contract has always been an open question.
My assumption that Drobo V1 is no longer supported (at least after the expiration of any Drobocare contracts that may still be in force) is based on a web page that I ran into only because of a peculiar state of affairs with my own V2 Drobocare contract. I’m not sure it is possible to display that page on demand unless you have a Drobo with an expired contract. At this moment in time there appears to be a difference of opinion as to exactly when I purchased my own Drobo :-(, but that is a side issue and a work in process.
And as far as I know there is no official policy statement on this issue posted on the DRI site(s). One of the reasons for my post was to solicit any opinions or even better, actual experiences from Drobo V1 owners to support or refute my assumption.
The Drobo V2 introduction press release is dated July 8, 2008. That’s the announcement date, not the first delivery date. I have no recollection of when they generally became available and when DRI at least officially stopped offering V1.
However, I distinctly recall that when I purchased my Drobo in early March 2009 DRI was running a special on V1 and I could have bought one and saved $50 or so. From that I am very certain that DRI was officially selling Drobo V1 as recently as 24 months ago. On top of that, various resellers were surely selling NOS for some (unknown to me) time.
From all the above, I can only assume that the availability of Drobocare for V1 owners may have been cut off as quickly as 24 months from purchase - meaning Q1 2009 buyers were likely offered their first Drobocare contract in early 2010 but, based on my interpretation of that web page, they apparently were not (or may not of been) offered a renewal in early 2011.
Since I have no knowledge of exactly when Drobo V1 support was apparently discontinued I have no idea how many V1 owners were effected and when. I’m surprised that I seem to be the first one to bring up this issue- I have not run across it in my forum reading and searches.
I think that is a rather rapid EOL of the contract, to say the least. And, consider the $800 Drobo S (V1). That was discontinued only one year or so after introduction, in favor of the USB 3.0 V2. Are they in the same boat, to the tune of $800? How about the DroboPro through Elite line? Is there a different policy regarding the high end business and enterprise models?
Now, obviously, DRI also likes to sell 3 year contracts and if those late Drobo V1 buyers were fortunate enough, in retrospect, to buy a 3 year contract they would be covered for at least a total of 4 years from date of purchase. Personally I did not go that route, considering it a bit risky. In the event of fire, theft, etc., etc., the end of the life of a piece of gear can often expire well before a 3 year contract. But I did not know that DRI was apparently in such a hurry to abandon their customers, especially the early adopters that suffered so much through the teething phase of the original Drobo.
Spiney- It is pretty obvious to me that DRI will never give us decrypted logs. They made that clear when they changed encryption last year. With the recent discussions about using php, I would expect another change at any time to thwart further attempts here to self-diagnose their Drobos.
I think I would have a VERY tough time plunking down $800 for an S model, unless my thinking is seriously misguided. I don’t like HAVING to pay for support because a product is specifically designed to impede any possibility of user self support. But when support is apparently withdrawn in as little as 24 months after purchase, depending on how the dice is rolled, that is just unacceptable. And, of course, it will radically change the recommendations I give to perspective buyers on the many other forums I frequent.
Just as a follow up, yesterday afternoon I talked, on the phone, to a “DroboCare Specialist” about my own problem with the contract termination date discrepancy. I also discussed with him, at length, my feelings expressed above, and how it relates to the absolute lack of exposed diagnostics available to Drobo owners.
The short story is that he suggested that he “thought” or it was “most likely” that all Drobo V1 owners would have 3 years of post-warranty support available, regardless of purchase date. However, he could not state that as an absolute fact. I found that interesting that a “DroboCare Specialist” at DRI could not, with absolute certainty, answer that simple question and leave it at that.
What I got from the conversation (my assessment reading between the lines) is that if someone were concerned about making sure they got at least 4 years total support it would probably be a good idea to buy the 3 year support package up front. For example, you can no longer buy 3 years for a V2, but it was available to me for, I think, $119 when I bought my Drobo V2 two years ago, and I think also at that price when I did the first year renewal. Considering that the first year cost me $50 and the second year will cost $69 (with no iron-clad guarantee offered that I would be offered a 3rd year- just “a vague assurance”) it makes sense to get while you can and there is no way to know what that 2nd and 3rd year will cost when the time comes.
It was also suggested to me that enhanced diagnostics will be implemented some time in the future, but with no time frame and no specifics, but it sounded something like maybe within the next 12 months kind of time frame (but not stated as such- that is my WAG).
I don’t understand the pricing and positioning of the 4 and 5 bay Drobos at all.
A brand new V2 on their site lists at $399. If I was going to replace my V1, I’d want an S, but $799 is a bit steep. I don’t see $400 worth of extra features there though. (You could get two V2 Drobos for the price of an S and have dual-Drobo redundancy, which must be better than dual disk! )
An FS, with arguably more features than an S, is actually $100 less than an S, at $699.
The S has a faster processor than the FS. As I understand it, the performance of the FS is midway, more or less, between the Drobo V2 and the S.
The FS is good for about 35MB/s, as far as I can determine here, in real life performance.
The S seems to be good for up to 80MB/s. It provides eSata and USB3, which for a windows user like me would be critical since Windows and Firewire seem to be mutually exclusive :-(.
I agree that the V2 is too slow and the S is too expensive.
At $650 - $700 for the FS, there are many attractive alternative NAS boxes out there that seem to perform far better in real life, and have far, far more features. None are quite as close in terms of BeyondRaid flexibility but some are so close that it comes down to very obscure features, such as the ability to contract a disk array (removing drives to shrink the array).
Drobos are priced as if they offer a very unique feature- BeyondRaid. The rest of the world is catching up. I hope DRI’s future pricing reflects that reality. The one thing I don’t see out there is a DAS box with BeyondRaid type flexibility- they all seem to be NAS, which is good for some people, maybe not a “feature” for others. I kind of like DAS myself, for various reasons, but it isn’t a deal killer for me. I’m flexible.
I was also under the impression when i bought my v1 (and later v2) that we are always supported,
and that you just have to keep renewing your yearly support fee (drobocare package)
i think i got a 2 year pack, and when i last checked there was an option for me to rew it for another year (which i didnt as i was still on the support)
i still dont know when my current support runs out and when to renew it (since the “right-click” about drobo dashboard popup just says serial numbers and devices) but ive always been under the impression that they email you beforehand, and then you just renew for another year and they support you.
DRI - you need to keep supporting your consumer hardware at least even for a yearly renewal fee
Otherwise “what is the point” of promoting the 4-bay drobo as unlimited storage etc, with future proofing for large drive sizes as they come out, if by the time large drives are here, and by the time you release firmware to work with it, if by that time the hardware isnt going to be suported anymore!! ?
As well as much more noisy than the V2 (I refer to the fan noise, not to the additional problem of some power supplies).
This is a deal breaker for people like me, using a Drobo for HTPC purpose in their living room.
Paul, I would call them and check on the renewal date, or check your account at www.drobo.com/support, as was mentioned previously. I recall reading a post a while back about someone complaining that he was denied renewal even though he claims he never received an email notice. If you renew a day late the cost is $189/year unless you can find a sympathetic ear.
I should also make clear that nothing I’ve said relates to firmware updates. I have no idea how long they might provide firmware updates and did not ask. That is a very good question, though.