(Gen 2) Dashboard shows yellow, unit shows red

I sent this to Drobo’s support but they provided me with an irrelevant/useless response.

My Drobo has 4x4TB hard drives in it which I believe is the maximum supported for this model. It is nearly full; as of this writing I have about 1.2TB free space. Drobo Dashboard is telling me that I need to “replace the drive indicated by the yellow light with a larger capacity drive” and shows a yellow status in Dashboard (see attached screen capture). HOWEVER, as I understand it I cannot add a larger capacity drive to this unit, and more importantly the Drobo itself is showing a RED light next to the top bay which would indicate a drive failure. Therefore: (1) Can this unit support larger HDs (e.g., 6TB)? (2) Why is it showing yellow in Dashboard and red on the unit? (3) Which is correct, “yellow-capacity reaching max” or “red-drive failing”? How can I find out which is REALLY happening?

Can you confirm what firmware is currently installed on the Drobo unit?

1.4.2 [1.254.50341]

If your Drobo dashboard does not allow you to upgrade the firmware on your Drobo beyond 3.5.x then the maximum supported volume will only be 16TB (RAID 0) no matter what combination of HDDs in excess of that amount are added to the Drobo. It will only recognise or ‘see’ 16TB.

If you can upgrade the firmware then a larger capacity can be achieved, however you will need to add a minimum of 2 new larger volume HDDs to increase your usable space - but one at a time.

As for the current red & yellow reporting of the disks by your Drobo and the dashboard, I would suspect a directory error (given your advice on available space) - are you able to perform a disc repair utility on the volume?

I can confirm the Gen2 Drobo with updated firmware will support drives larger than 4TB.

There is no directory error, and I’m not sure what you mean by “given your advice on available space”. Is the fact that I have 1.2TB free space remaining somehow indicative of having a directory error?

My model Drobo cannot be upgraded beyond firmware 1.4.2.

I’m curious about your setup, AzDragonLord. You have 18TB physical space and 10.88TB useful space, whereas I have 16TB physical space yet also have 10.88TB useful space. This seems to imply that, while your Drobo can see a 6TB mechanism, you’re still locked into a maximum volume size of 16TB so there would be no practical difference between a 4x4TB Drobo and a 4x6TB Drobo. Using a 6TB hard drive would only be useful if your total physical drive space is 16TB or less; two 6TB plus one 4TB plus one empty bay would be useful, but turning that 4TB into a 6TB – or inserting anything into that empty bay – would be a waste of money.

AzDragonLord: Do you have just a single volume on your Drobo? Or do you have multiple volumes? If the latter, what are their sizes?

Ok - your firmware limitation is noted.
The comment on available space means your HDDs are not max-ed out with data which suggests to me the fault is instead due to a directory issue.

I had a similar issue first as a unrecognised Drobo unit that I was able to reconnect by running the Mac Disk Utility, but whilst it was now connected and showing files, the Drobo was reporting some disks as yellow. I then used a third party disk repair utility which identified further volume directory issues on my Drobo that the Mac Disk Utility did not identify or fix. After completing its repairs, the Drobo returned to all green.

I’m not sure how you came to this conclusion. Having 4x4TB drives gives me 16TB of raw storage and correctly yields 10.88TB of useful storage. As of this writing I have 9.69TB used and 1.18TB free. So, what is leading you to believe that my HDs aren’t maxed out?

I have a single 16TB volume right now.

If you have 10.88TB (12TB raw) of usable space and only have 1.18TB remaining, then yes you are near your max capacity and should increase it. Once your capacity grows beyond 16TB it will ask you to format a new 16TB volume, even if you don’t have 32TB of storage. This is normal and is called ‘thin provisioning’.

Inserting only one larger drive will not yield any new free space because Drobo will use your largest drive for redundancy. replacing two or more drives (one at a time of course) will increase your available capacity.

Best way to determine your usable capacity is to add up all your individual drive sizes then subtract your largest drive.

Hope this helps.

Re-read TwinTiger’s post. What you’re saying is what I’m saying, and is the opposite of what TwinTiger has said. TwinTiger said, “The comment on available space means your HDDs are not max-ed out with data…” (emphasis mine).

A solid red light means “add or upsize a drive here now”. A blinking red light indicates drive failure. I don’t know if yours is solid or blinking.

You CAN add drives larger than 4TB, as I’ve tested 6 and 8TB drives in my Gen2, but it will take swapping TWO drives to see any increase in usable capacity. Swap only one at a time of course, and have backups.

After conferring with Drobo Support, the conclusion is that this issue is a combination of software bug and poor UI. And neither is likely to be fixed, which is part of the reason why my next unit isn’t going to be a Drobo.

My Drobo is showing solid red which means “add or upsize a drive here now” (not drive failure as I originally posted), but Drobo Dashboard is showing yellow on that same bay which means “add or upsize a drive here soon”. So there’s a bug there somewhere insofar as both systems should be showing the same color.

However, since Drobo doesn’t OFFICIALLY support 6TB drives in this unit, the whole concept is moot. If Drobo officially says that it doesn’t support anything past 4TB drives then the Drobo has officially reached its maximum capacity. Therefore telling the user to “add or upsize a drive here now” on a drive that cannot officially be upgraded is a poor UI choice; the light should remain green. Alternately, if Drobo were to officially offer support for 6TB drives in this unit then the red light would be viable, but if the Drobo had 4x6TB drives that were at capacity then, again, the light should remain green as there’s no sense in telling a user to “add or upsize a drive here now” on a drive that cannot be added-to or upsized.