FAILURE == BigSur + Drobo 5D3 + DashBoard 3.5.2 + 4.2.1 Firmware

Summary :
Drobo’s outsourced engineering team is draining my time, budget and (worst of all) access to my data. Abandon Ship!

My support case with Drobo Tech Support is 201111-102299 filed on November 11. Since then, the 5D3 goes through cycles of declaring a drive has failed, then a day or two of “Data Protection mode”, followed by re-inserting the “failed” drive back in and Drobo marks it as good … followed by Drobo later deciding another drive has failed and the cycle repeats. Along the way, tech support has zero assistance other than to suggest I use a USB cable with 20mb/s transmission speed connected to a high-end 2019 MacBookPro with Thunderbolt 3. I have little to no remaining faith that Drobo’s outsourced engineering team should be trusted to write KEXT drivers for macOS.

My immediate workaround :

Buy a 6TB drive and thunderbolt 3 external disk dock, copy the contents of my Drobo over to that drive, and then use a resilio.com client application on my MacBookPro to continuously replicate the 6TB drive to my zfs & double-disk failure proof 8-drive TrueNAS.com tower – where I have automated snapshots enabled to recover to any point in time within my 36TB storage capacity there.

How long have I used Drobo on macOS? I started using Drobo Gen 2 in 2009. I upgraded to a 5D in 2013. Then the 5d’s power supply failed in June 2019 and I purchased a Drobo 5D3 with the three year protection plan and a $300 UPS to ensure there is clean power at all times. Point of sharing is I’m a long time Drobo customer having faced its ups and downs and so when I declare I’m abandoning ship, this recent slate of issues has convinced me Drobo lacks the technical chops to address their issues, and for certain I should not allow Drobo to install kernel-level KEXT drivers to my macOS system going forward…


any updates from anyone @ drobo?

No response, no indication of when they expect Drobo will be reliable under Big Sur. And Drobo Dashboard 3.5.2 crashes when when I run a diagnostic to send to Drobo, although I did manage to send Drobo the diagnostic tar files via DropBox.

With macOS 11.1, Drobo 5D3 + DashBoard 3.5.2 + 4.2.1 firmware now works with Thunderbolt 3. Also, Drobo diagnostics is uploading without crashing. Still, I’m setting up my drobo alternative to avoid future needs to load Drobo’s KEXT kernel modifications…

1 Like

I seem to have a somewhat related problem. My Drobo 5D3 reports a failure of one drive repeatedly. It is always the lowest of the five drives. It sends me a message that it changes to data protection mode. A few seconds later it sends the message that data protection has finished successfully and behaves normally without any further limitations.
Until I restart my computer (while the Drobo was asleep overnight - i.e., not switched off).
There is one more point: It almost always happens on Saturdays … :open_mouth:
I am not sure about the last point because I did not monitor the date of the occurrences in the beginning. As a consequence the lowest drive is marked with ‘Warning’ status now - but it looks like some kind of weird bug to me. (Meanwhile I am on macOS 11.2.1 and the Drobo is on the latetst firmware etc. of course.)
Did anybody notice a similar behaviour with their Drobo?

And: its Saturday again. I get the failing drive info and four more warning messages. And in the end?
I guess everything will work as normally as ever.
What is this?