Drobo

Have questions and need help

Let me begin with my setup.

my drobo is plugged directly into my router(Airport Extreme). My main computer is plugged into router as well. I have a Networed Media Tank(popcorn hour) attatched to this network as well.

I was able to get all my media onto the drobo with ease and it shows like it should in finder. Running OSX lion btw. I would like to have all my itunes media stored on the drobo along with all my blurays and any other videos that I have. I want to do this so that it can be accessed by my popcorn hour and my appletv. Once I had moved my music library over and changed itunes settings to see the drobo as the source I have noticed that a few things seem lagging. when I scroll through the albums, itunes tends to freeze up on me. Bigger bluray movies will skip a small ammount during playback via VLC on my mac and I can not even find a way to get the popcorn hour to notice the drobo.

I am not to savy when it comes to the nomenclature’s of networking and what have you so please be mindful. I just want to make sure I am setting everything up correctly and am doing everything I can to make this an amazing media server.

also, I have a 1.5 tb drive and a 750gb drive in the drobo right now. Is there a way to tell drobo not to be “so redundant?” I was excited to think that I was gonna get away with 2tb to fill but as we sit right now, I am stuck at about 650Tb which is less then what I originally started with. I actually had to pick and choose between which movies I was going to keep and I had a hard time doing that. I really would like to avoid going out right now and buying another drive and if thats the case, is it safe to say that the drobo is actually only capable of storing half of what it is fed ie, 10tb=5tb, 5tb=2.5??

any help would be greatly appreciated.

Colin

[quote=“colinwoods84, post:1, topic:6281”]
Once I had moved my music library over and changed itunes settings to see the drobo as the source I have noticed that a few things seem lagging. when I scroll through the albums, itunes tends to freeze up on me.[/quote]

The DroboFS is never going to be as fast across the network as your local hard drive. Scrolling through albums requires reading in massive numbers of small pieces of data (the album art, mostly), which is close to worst-case performance for storage.

[quote=“colinwoods84, post:1, topic:6281”]
Bigger bluray movies will skip a small amount during playback via VLC on my mac and I can not even find a way to get the popcorn hour to notice the drobo.[/quote]

I’m not familiar with the Popcorn - does it mount shares directly and play what’s on them, or is it expecting something to serve up the data (DLNA, etc)? If it can read data directly off of shares then you should be able to make it work, but if it’s expecting a server you’ll have a harder time of it. The DroboFS does not have a very strong processor or much memory, which limits its multimedia serving capabilities.

[quote=“colinwoods84, post:1, topic:6281”]
I am not to savy when it comes to the nomenclature’s of networking and what have you so please be mindful. I just want to make sure I am setting everything up correctly and am doing everything I can to make this an amazing media server.[/quote]

Well, even in the most optimized setups the DroboFS can be a difficult machine to eek performance out of as a media server. And optimizing network performance can be difficult. Generally speaking, make sure you’re using ethernet (preferably Cat6, but Cat5E is alright), and use the DroboFS has storage only. A computer or dedicated device should handle any media serving or transcoding required - the DroboFS just doesn’t have the CPU/memory required.

[quote=“colinwoods84, post:1, topic:6281”]
also, I have a 1.5 tb drive and a 750gb drive in the drobo right now. Is there a way to tell drobo not to be “so redundant?”[/quote]

No. Any RAID-style redundancy will always use the largest disk for redundant storage. The reason is simple - if your 1.5TB drive fails, there’s no way a 750GB drive can hold all the data that might have been on it. You cannot select specific files to be redundant - you’re protecting against drive failure, not any other type of loss.

If you have two disks as you do, the larger of the two is dedicated for redundancy. In my case of 1 x 1TB drive and 3 x 2TB drives, I get 5TB usable (2 x 2TB + 1 x 1TB), and a 2TB is used for redundancy.

The Drobo automatically backs up your data across available drives so that a drive(s) may fail and you do not lose your data. Yes this results in the loss of useable storage. There is an online calculator you can use to determine your net usable space… http://www.drobo.com/products/capacity-calculator/index.php

In terms of speed… if you have slow drives you get slow performance. So my recommendation is to use 7200 rpm drives such as the 2TB Caviar Black. There are cheaper drives but these provide solid performance and reliable

I’d have to disagree. In most network setups the drive spindle speed is not going to be the gating factor - network configuration or Drobo ethernet performance is.

Copying from my “slow” Caviar Green eco drives over a gigabit network to an SSD, I get 70MB/sec (so well over half of theoretical max throughput - none too shabby). Most folks transferring data to local hard drives (Finder/Explorer copies) see about 30-40MB/sec, gated by the local hard drive speed. Dedicated media playback devices will vary based on their capability to play the incoming data, but they will usually be the bottleneck, not the DroboFS, and certainly not the spindle speed.

Using higher speed hard drives might drive my 70MB/sec (560Mbps) higher, but for most people seeing 30-40MB/sec, its not going to make a lick of difference.

when you were asking about “shares” this is the stuff I do not understand. All I know is that I use to have a 1tb drive that I slipped directly into my popcorn hour and it just read all the files on it.[hr]
Did I make a bad move with purchasing the drobo? I hope not? It sounds great but i am not to sure its going to do what I need it to do.

hi do you have a link to popcorn?
(when i search for it i just bring up pictures of the tasty stuff) :slight_smile:

in terms of drives, when you start out with just a couple of drives (its ok, but not the most efficient and with every single drive extra that you add you’ll probably get a nice increase in usable space)

i started out with 4 drives (basic 1tb green power slower speed ones eg in my sig) and after “losing” 1 of them to redundancy data, it left me with just under 3tb to play with.

if you can, play with the drobo calculator link to see whats the most efficient setup you can go for, usually good to start with 2 drives of the same size, whih then gives you half the usable space to be available.

(one feature is that the drobo can cater for mixed drives, thats true, but the magic really becomes more efficient when you have more drives)

at the moment your 750GB drive is simply copied onto the first 750GB of your 1.5TB (an oversimplification)

the rest of yoru 1.5tb drive is completely wasted at the moment (reserved for expansion)

your best and cheapest bet right now is to put in a second 1.5tb drive

that would give you 2.25tb total usable space with nothign wasted

I use my Drobo for the same job as yours, I run Plex and have 7.5TB of music and Movies (over 800+) in a mixture of Blu Ray 1080p and regular 480p DVD rips.

My FS is connected via a Cisco E500 router to a Mac Mini which is a dedicated Plex Client / Server host and is then connected by HDMI to my TV. I can run 20Gb Blu Ray files in 1080p resolution to the Mac Mini and across the network to another user who wants to watch Plex (Plex is available throughout the house). The only trouble I have is running HD across the wireless network which is not really up to the task.

My FS is getting full now so I am considering my options of dumping Drobo (as the dashboard is hopeless) and maybe moving to a more ubiquitous NAS solution.

Anyway in answer to your question there should be no reason why you can’t stream fast enough to Popcorn. I uses 5 x 7200rpm 2GB drives and have no problem.

My only problem is that while Drobo works fine I can’t access it through the dashboard!!

@Paul
I believe OP is referring to Popcorn Hour

@Pioneer
Likely you already know this, but just in case…
Your wireless issue may be more one of latency (or instantaneous speed) rather than throughput (or speed over a period of time). Since you can’t make up for lost time in streaming (most devices have fixed buffers, but the extreme case is buffering the entire thing, which is essentially download-first) - you need to have to data for 12:34 at (or perhaps slightly before) 12:34, or you just don’t have the data.
Increased base throughput can mitigate latency issues only to a degree… Like you said, “not quite up to task” :slight_smile:

@colinwoods84
I echo the rest of the folks - Blu-ray streaming is fine.

If there’s a lot of “background” access to Drobo, for example, search indexing on the unit, then this can slow down the data access for other things and introduce latency as well as reduce the overall throughput.

I can stream 1080p Blu-ray content to my media center PC from my Drobo v2 all the time.
It goes:
Drobo v2 —USB2— Windows Home Server 2011 —GigE— Netgear GS116 —GigE— Media Center PC

Works fine, my real bottleneck is the CPU on my Media Center PC, heh.

thanks bhiga,
(i also found recently that a decent laptop running vlc can be just as a good - albeit a smaller screen :slight_smile:

Always make sure to get 2 disks with the same storage capacity that are bigger than the rest of the drives.

The Popcorn is a good device, have a HDX1000 which uses the same hardware (and you can flash with the popcorn software) but wireless I get horrible speeds, 2MB/s from Drobo, always use cable if possible which will improve 5 fold in my case.

Best is to copy first to popcorn and watch the movie afterwards.

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