How do I back up my 16 TB Drobo?

I purchased a Drobo Pro with 8 2 TB WD Drives. It is awesome and houses my full boxing dvd collection. I have filled it to 10 TB now and will probably fill the remaining 2 TB by the end of the year (16 TB Drobo only provides 12.4 TB worth of space)

I would like to have a back up copy of this off site just in case my Drobo Pro malfunctions or my place catches on fire.

How do I go about making a duplicate backup copy of my data?

  1. Is it possible to just make a copy of the disk pack without having to purchase a second Drobo Pro. If so how?
  2. If I do have to purchase a Drobo Pro, do I just connect them and make an exact copy of one onto the other? How do the two Drobos connect and how long will it take to copy 10 TB from one to the other?
  3. When I make changes to my main Drobo Pro, can I just bring in the other Drobo Pro and have it update those changes?

thanks for any assistance.

Drobo Dashboard has a build-in function called DroboCopy but that’s just the file-levelinstead of block-level copy w/o de-duplication & compression and no bit-level or block-level change detection. You should look into investing a 3rd-party disk-based, block-level imaging solution. There are over a dozen of them and we use AppAssure Replay4 cuz we only do Microsoft Windows but you may take a look at Code42 CrashPlanPro.

  1. You can snapshot the entire BeyondRAID partition to another storage media w/ equal or larger capacity but I don’t see how we can mirror the 10TB to itself.
  2. The ans depends on how ur 1st DroboPro is now being connected to your host. PC or Mac host? iSCSI or USB? Ideally iSCSI and Windows based. Then connecting the 2nd DroboPro or Elite via another iSCSI, take a look at StarWind Software.
  3. Not the 1st “full backup” but subsequently runs those software will perform a sort of “incremental” backups of the data or technically the change image of the blocks and copy them to the 2nd DroboPro or any other storage media.

Now, pls share w/ us more abt ur digital lib infrastructure so we can share ours w/ you.

Possibly. I would check with Data Robotics if it is possible to image each disk in your disk pack in order to duplicate the set (e.g. a utility like “dd” or similar).
This would give you a once-off backup only. If you wanted to update the backup you would have to image each disk again. This would be a very slow process.

This would be copying at the file level. Just have both Drobos connected to the same computer and copy across the files. You want to use a utility like ‘Drobo Copy’ (built into the Drobo Dashboard) or rsync.
The time it takes will depend on how fast your write speed is. At say 35MB/second its going to take 3.5 days for the initial copy (firewire speeds). iSCSI will be faster. Speeds are also dependent on how many disks you have in your Drobos and if you are copying many small files or fewer large files.

Yes - using either of the utilities I mentioned you can just copy across the changes and new files. If you set the other DroboPro up offsite connected to another computer this is something you could potentially do over the internet - feasibility of this depends on how much data you need to backup each time and speed of internet connections.

Thanks for all the information guys. Here’s more info on my set up that was asked for:

  1. My current Drobo is connected via iSCSI to my PC that is running Windows 7. I only have one port on my network card so I would probably have to connect the second drobo via firewire in order to use the computer to copy one to the other.

  2. My digital lib infrastructure is pretty simple. I’m storing video files (DVD format and MPEG format) of fight films and full boxing and MMA shows. So I have about 3000 DVDs and 500 MPEG files on there right now. I just have a folder structure that goes something like:
    Boxing->Careers->Muhammad Ali->Ali disc 1->Video_TS

I have about 230 careers, new shows since 2009 and so on so I just arrange them in folders and I can easily find them that way.

  1. As far as small files vs big files, I’m copying bigger files with most being about 1 GB.[hr]
    OK so here’s my plan of attack, please critique to let me know if I’m wrong somewhere or how I can improve it.

  2. Completely organize my current DROBO PRO so that the folder and file structure is exactly how I want it.

  3. Purcahse DROBO Pro from Amazon (~$1252) with 8 2 TB Drives from Amazon (~$880). Also an Ethernet Switch ($20) so I can connect two Drobos to my PC via iSCSI

  4. Connect the two DROBO PROs to my PC via iSCSI through my ethernet switch.

  5. Copy out the folders from the original DROBO to the new DROBO just using drobo copy - it should all take about 5 days or so.

  6. Take the new Drobo Pro to a new physical location for storage. I’ll go there and turn it on every couple of weeks to spin the drives and make sure everything is in working order.

  7. When I add new material to my collection, copy it to an external drive too and then when I go to check on the other DROBO, just copy it all from the external to the new Drobo to keep the backup up to date.

Thanks for reading all this and providing any feedback.

Sounds like a good plan. Just make sure you purchase a Gigabit Ethernet Switch (1000Mbit).

A FastEthernet (100Mbit) is way to slow for transferring that amount of data.

Also make sure it is a Switch and not a HUB.

Pls get a “Smart” 1 Gig switch that supprts Flow control, QoS, VLANs, JumboFrame, blah, blah, blah … and pls spend the $$$ on a dual-port PCI-e 1 Gig NIC, Intel or Broadcom. They don’t cost that much.

I thought DroboPro didn’t support JumboFrame (and not sure on Flow Control).

Glad U brought that up. I ran a check on Drobo Support forum & only Elite & FS support J-Frame. Hope DRI Engineering will enable that in the future firmware upgrade. Glad I have an Elite.

At this time, Data Robotics supports jumbo frames only on DroboElite and Drobo FS.

You can also use jumbo frames with DroboShare using a DroboApp (“Jumbo Frames”). See What level of performance can I expect from DroboShare and how can I improve its performance? for more detail. Note that DroboApps are supported by the developer community and not Data Robotics. For more information on DroboApps, please visit

There are a number of things you should consider when using jumbo frames. For a detailed discussion on jumbo frames, please refer to:

Would you recommend something like this: or this:

OR should I go for this:

Do I need a network card with 2 ports OR a switch OR both? I don’t care about the cost, I only want the best technology to back my data up as it is priceless and replacing it all would take years and a large part is irreplaceable. So any recommendations regardless of cost would be appreciated.

I would personally go with a switch as it will be simpler to manage and more flexible if you expand anything in the future. You will connect the one network port on your PC to the switch then both Drobos to the switch.
Technically you may get slightly faster performance by putting a second network card in your PC instead of a switch. You use one solution or the other.

Of the switches you listed I would go for the Netgear model. Netgear are a well known brand for switches and that model has some good features.

As Rambo pointed out, Using AppAssure’s Replay 4, you can sync, then set up replication between the two. That would remove the need to physically monitor the other Drobo as it is always in use as well and if errors occur, you will be notified. You also no longer have to manually copy new stuff as replication would take care of that for you.

I work for AppAssure and it is a pretty cool product. Check it out at We have a ton of customers using Drobos and are very happy with the results.


Does DroboPro honor GigE flow control?

And make sure to use Cat6 cables. Some better quality Cat5 will work but it’s not rated for GigE speeds and so could cause issues. iSCSI does not like delays or missing frames and will drop out if the switch can’t keep up or the cables introduce too many errors.