Fastest way to Copy Data off Drobo FS?

My DROBO FS is probably dying, but I’ve got the data repaired enough to move to another drive.

What is the fastest way to move or copy files off of it to a Non-RAID drive?

I have a headless Mac mini sitting on the network that can handle the 1.3TB data transfer I need to do, which includes some old TimeMachine Backups I’d like to save, along with photos and movies for long term archival protection. I have a USB 3.0 drive plugged into that, and have mounted the DROBO FS on that desktop. The Mac Finder is notoriously slow and I wondered this:

Will rsync speed things up noticeably?

Or, does the DROBO have enough access to its Linux to run rsync or some other similar command?

I don’t want to make this more complicated than it has to be, of course, but if it will save hours of copy time, I’ll abort the Finder copy and run something else.

I will not replace this old DROBO with another DROBO NAS, but really want to get all of the data off of it and will try a Synology NAS once all of that is done.

Very much obliged for any assistance with this!



I wish I had an answer for you (and I wish this forum was active like the old one used to be).

I’d be curious to hear what your experience is moving to Synology. I’ve heard so much good about their products.

Hi Leroy,

Wow, I just could NOT login to answer this using the very latest version of Safari. There must be some kind of nasty Java or crappy Flash running these forums. Bummer. Chrome was finally able to get through. Maybe that’s why it’s not so active anymore? It was truly onerous to try and simply reply to and I would have just replied via email, but wanted to make sure it reached you. Whew!

I can’t get Grammerly to work here either (it notes misspelled words but I cannot fix them…), so there’s truly some crappy, restrictive code here. Maybe the admins will read this?

All of that is a shame because I will say that I’ve had excellent email based tech support from DROBO techs in the past, which is why we sold a lot of DROBO units to our Mac customers. I wonder if the company is having trouble…

Meanwhile, I have some great solutions to my problem from 6-7 weeks ago and happy to share.

  1. Directly connecting the DroboFS to another computer via ethernet is the only was to move any significant data. It sucks that DROBO didn’t bother to add even a USB 3 or thunderbolt port just for this purpose, but I’m guessing they felt it would cannibalize sales of desktop RAIDs. Seems to me building an all-in-one, network AND desktop unit would lower production costs and be fun to market, but I don’t get to make the calls there.

  2. FreeFileSync is not a pretty piece of software, but it was powerful and amazing. Using that, I saw copy rates I’d never seen before. No support whatsoever in their fairly geeky forums (I’m a geek, so I can make geek jokes), but I got it working and was very impressed. If I recall, I believe it’s just using some terminal commands under the hood, but I’ve never been completely Terminal savvy and just wanted a GUI to confirm what was happening. It was very cool and I read about it in some other forum and was grateful to find and use it to copy something like 4-5 TB of data over ethernet.

For reasons that are not relevant, I needed/wanted to copy that data from the FS to an attached WD USB 3 drive, and then moved that drive to the new NAS I bought to replace the DROBO FS. It was FAST. It also has error correction commands built in (was it ditto?..) and if the copy fails at any point, it will pick up where it left off and not force the user to start all over again like a Finder copy that fails. That was HUGE for me with so much data.

  1. The Synology NAS I bought (DS418 ) is da BOMB! I don’t know if DROBO admins will delete this honest review, but I had heard from so many sources that Synology was one of the favored RAID manufacturers for MacHeads (Apple doesn’t make a RAID). This thing is FASTER than any network RAID I’ve ever seen and even though the FS was an older model, I’d wager that DROBO’s proprietary formatting and RAID data protection scheme is still noticeably slower. I don’t know that, but after a decade of owning and selling DROBO hardware, I’m just going to call it an educated guess.

After plugging in the USB 3 drive to the front of the DS418 Synology NAS, the drive was able to transfer the data I’d spent a few days pulling off of the dying FS. I watched it copy data from the WD external drive to the NAS at over 100 MB/s !!! There’s really not that much in tech that I get excited about, but after years of seeing massive files take 24-36 hours or more to copy, seeing 4-6 hour copy times was pretty cool!

Okay, I’m all out of time and have to go. Please let me know if you see this. I’d like to know that at least one person did for the time I put into it. :slight_smile:



Read your post, thanks. How are you liking the DS418 Synology NAS? Can you mix drive capacities and manufacturers like you can with a Drobo? What happens when a drive fails? It is a case of swapping a drive and walking away like it is with Drobo devices or is it more involved?

I used to build RAID arrays for clients and wasted too many days of my life on that. That’s why I’ve been using Drobos for over a decade.

Hi Leroy,

Drop me a line directly? Seems neither of us visit these forums often enough to have a conversation here. If you slap a Mac and a dot com onto my user name it should reach me. Happy to converse over email. I thought I wrote in a fair amount of detail about the Synology NAS, but happy to share more if you read that and still have questions.



Emailed you. Thanks.

Not seeing it here…. Check your spelling?

Oops. It did bounce back. Trying again.