Drobo

I must be the only one happy with my Drobo FS

Reading these forum postings I get the feeling I am the only one happy with my Drobo FS. I had outgrown my Buffalo 2TB NAS and needed something larger which offered a bit of fault tolerance. So after doing a bit of searching and reading reviews I decided on the Drobo FS. I purchased the unit along with (6) WD 2TB Caviar Green drives (one drive stays in the box as a spare). I inserted the drives, attached the unit to my network and mapped it to five PC’s. That’s it. It just sits in the corner and does its thing.

For the most part I’m happy with the Drobo FS as well. Mind you, I’ve only had it up and running for 4 days now. I use it for back-up (duh!) for a Windows (5 users in the household) environment and Time Machine for my Mac Mini. It also functions as an audio server for my SONOS system. I may even use it to stream video to my Apple TV and need to try it out. It’s quiet and extremely easy to set up. The only thing that disappoints me (aside from the initial cost) is the zero DRI support & documentation for DroboApps despite it being advertised as a feature on the main product page.

I just love it aswell! Works just perfectly with itunes 10.

For the most part, happy people don’t post in forums…

Well, I can’t say I’m a 100% happy with it. For example, I do think that the fan is a bit too noisy, and that the power supply does emit a high frequency whine.

But on the other hand, as you said, it does its thing flawlessly, offers a decent performance on my gigabit network, and the best of all: it allows me to get my hands dirty and compile all kinds of interesting stuff for it.

If I had the right to wish one feature, it would be a simple way to synchronize 2 DroboFS over the internet. It would be really nice to have at least some of the stuff on my DroboFS (pictures, movies of my kid) mirrored on my parents’ DroboFS. If I managed to do that transparently my backup strategy would be complete.

apps apps apps apps … although I have a couple of servers that could take that part away from the FS I still want it :stuck_out_tongue:

I have learned to live with the high pitched whine the PSU tends to emit on 240v, other than that I am quite happy with the Drobo FS. After switching to a gigabit Ethernet switch the transfer speed is perfect for my needs.

I am happy but not overjoyed with the Drobo FS. It’s a pricey bit kit and for the money I expected to have no issues.

Facts:
[list=1]
[]The unit not silent when idle
[
]The power supply buzzes and hums in 240V power
[]Data Robotics support don’t seem to have answers for anything:
[list]
[
]Support can’t tell you if the drives spin down
[]Support can’t tell you how noisy it should be (or if the noise is “normal”)
[
]Data Robotics won’t provide a silent power brick
[/list]
[/list]
I am happy with the Drobo FS, I love BeyondRAID and having one place to dump all my files. I am not happy with Data Robotics, for a company that sells top end gear Data Robotics treats its customers very poorly.

If they would just post videos / webcasts on what each app for drobo FS exactly does and / or can do AND they show me, step by step how to set it up… then I would be really happy.

Telling me briefly what apps are available doesn’t work. I don’t understand the language like
"Pure-FTPd is a free (BSD), secure, production-quality and standard-conformant FTP server. "

I don’t know what FTP is, I don’t know what BSD is. I don’t know what “standard-conformant is”.

What I do want to know is how to access my files from anywhere in the internet. I want to know how to stream my drobo FS videos to my TV.

An updated podcast / web-cast / lecture / video / tutorial would be nice for each app that goes in to extreme detail would be nice.

Maybe some users could get on YouTube and explain this stuff?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to rip on you, but it is not that hard to answer that question: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=what+is+an+ftp+server

About accessing your files on from “anywhere” on the net. Boy oh boy, there are so many variables involved it is not even funny. Basically, it depends on how your home internet connection is like, and what the connection on the other side is going to be like, and what kind of access you want.

For example, what kind of upstream bandwidth do you have at home? Is it enough to really warrant remote access? What kind of router do you have? Does it have a fixed IP address? Can you configure it to update a dynamic DNS service? Can it forward specific ports? Can it assign specific specific address to machines on the LAN or does the DHCP server just assign random address?

Now, you have also to plan for which possible remote sites you want to support. Some places give you full access to the web, some only to some ports (HTTP and HTTPS). Some sites will be behind a firewall, and will really restrict the kinds of ports you’ll be able to access. Is the remote site only allowing connections through a proxy? What kind of proxy is that (HTTP, SOCKS)? Can you establish arbitrary connections over the open ports? Can you tunnel a connection through a 3rd party proxy? Can you establish a VPN to your home? What kind of VPN (OpenVPN, PPTP, IPSec) is allowed?

Once you find out that, then you need to decide what kind of access do you want. Do you want just to read files? Or do you want to be able to save files as well? Do you want to access the Drobo files like a removable drive (i.e., “mount” the shares like you would on your local network)?

That is just the beginning of it. For each answer you give there is a different set of instructions, software, and limitations.

In my particular case, I have an SSH server running on the Drobo with port-forwarding setup on the router so that I can do quick file manipulations (such as starting wget and torrents).

Otherwise I have a VPN server (IPSec) on the router so that I can connect home and the mount the Drobo using NFS over the VPN.

To come to this setup has not been easy, I can tell you. It takes a lot to figure out all of the details, although since the original setup it has been pretty much smooth sailing.

For the other question, about streaming to the TV: well, the DroboFS ships with windows file sharing enabled (SMB), so pretty much any device or software that supports SMB should be able to stream from it. If you have a PC/Mac/Linux box or even an AppleTV you should be able to use XBMC. Probably the best “living-room” media center out there.

My current setup is like that: AppleTV (1st gen) hacked to run XBMC and accessing the DroboFS shares over wlan on the bedroom, and a Nintendo Wii hacked to run WiiMC on the living room. Both access the Drobo over SMB, and it all runs like a charm.

Second that; did a lot of NAS etc research before buying Drobo FS and so far, so good-- actually it performed quite close (maybe even exceeding) the generally published, and my expected, specs on Time Machine backup, manually copying multiple files (drag-and-drop), quite operation so far, and by and large plug-and-play.

FWIW I initially compared price, feature, warranty, ease of use with the following… note I tried to cover most of the ranges, some I was going to use as raw, single disk manual swap (like the Thermaltake) and others as daisy-chained over FireWire, on up to doing my own RAID etc. Here’s what I compared at the time (about 1-2 months ago) largely based on $/MB when storage maxed, warranty, reputation, and ease-of-use:

Synology DiskStation 5-Bay Scalable NAS DS1010+
Drobo S + WD2TBx2
Drobo FS + WD2TBx2
TimeCapsule 2TB (refurb)
Drobo + WD2TBx2
AirPort X (refurb) + WD Elements 2TB External
Lime unRaid RB-1200 Server
Onnto DataTale 2-Bay FireWire 800, eSATA, USB RAID Enclosure
LaCie Wireless Space b/g/n + 2TB
Thermaltake Duet + WD2TBx1 (BB)
Thermaltake Duet + WD2TBx1 (AMZN)

I looked long and hard at especially the Synology DS1010+ and while it had impressive performance, features, and warranty, from the DS1010+ YouTube setup tutorials and reviews I read it also had a (IMO) much steeper learning curve. I used to do a lot of in the trench tech, but these days I don’t have the time to get intimate with hardware and really only needed a robust backup solution (not tons of additional server features). Also, I think adding DroboCare (like $220) to DroboFS effectively moved the warranty up to a similar 3 years as the Synology standard warranty.

After much soul searching and matrix comparisons, I decided to trade off speed and features for quick uptime, config, and management, and so far have been really happy with it-- especially the overall plug-and-playness of it. I did experience one surprise where copying over a single 140GB+ file (iPhoto Library) by drag-and-drop seemed to take forever, much longer than I had timed for previous drag-and-drop of multiple files equaling similar size collectively. But I then read somewhere on this forum that others were sometimes experiencing similar with single large files? Since I don’t do that type of copy regularly-- mostly TimeMachine and multiple smaller files-- that particular drawback wasn’t a deal breaker for me.

I’ve heard a lot of other mention loud fans, buzzing power supplies, etc, and thankfully so far mine has been IMO extremely quiet. All in all I’m happy for the peace of mind and ease of use, and will likely get the DroboCare before my 1st year ends unless I read negative reports recommending against it.

Can you guys please consider making YouTube videos showing the set up process for some of these cool things that you do with your drobo fs apps??

RESPONSE: I have a Time-Warner Cable connection. Not sure of the exact speed. Whatever comes with the standard TV / Cable package. I’m in a major city.

RESPONSE: I don’t know, how do I test that?

RESPONSE: I don’t know, not knowledgeable enough on that topic yet.

RESPONSE: Linksys. I think it still has wireless G - so it’s not the latest and greatest. I can try to give you the model number later. Would that help?

RESPONSE: Not Sure what that means.

RESPONSE: These questions are (currently) all over my head. Can you obtain some basic information to guide me in the right direction before going off in to the details? Maybe we can focus on these details at “a later appointment.” PS. How much does this consultation cost? :slight_smile: (Thank you!!)

RESPONSE: what does “remote sites” mean?

RESPONSE: still don’t understand “sites.” And what do you mean by “places?” Are you talking about my work’s internet connection? Or like the university’s campus’s internet connection? I have a VPN software that allows installed on my computer, but I don’t know how to use it besides following step-by-step directions when I need to use it to access restricted documents away from my work’s intranet. I do not, however, know how to set up my own VPN at home.

Well… I mean, I guess that mount shares would be a pipedream… but that would be the coolest solution… don’t you think?

Until I get to that point, wouldn’t it be a good hold over just to be able to go in a copy a document to the local computer I am using and then send it back to replace it on the drobo, or change the name slightly (add the date) and send it back to the drobo fs after I’m done for the session?

[quote]
That is just the beginning of it. For each answer you give there is a different set of instructions, software, and limitations.[/quote]


I’m exhausted getting this far. Would love to learn about your setup later. Maybe I can just copy your set up for my place. Could you post a youtube video on how you set everything up?

[quote]In my particular case, I have an SSH server running on the Drobo with port-forwarding setup on the router so that I can do quick file manipulations (such as starting wget and torrents).

Otherwise I have a VPN server (IPSec) on the router so that I can connect home and the mount the Drobo using NFS over the VPN.

To come to this setup has not been easy, I can tell you. It takes a lot to figure out all of the details, although since the original setup it has been pretty much smooth sailing.

For the other question, about streaming to the TV: well, the DroboFS ships with windows file sharing enabled (SMB), so pretty much any device or software that supports SMB should be able to stream from it. If you have a PC/Mac/Linux box or even an AppleTV you should be able to use XBMC. Probably the best “living-room” media center out there.

My current setup is like that: AppleTV (1st gen) hacked to run XBMC and accessing the DroboFS shares over wlan on the bedroom, and a Nintendo Wii hacked to run WiiMC on the living room. Both access the Drobo over SMB, and it all runs like a charm.[/quote]

There is always mediaportal or mythtv

Try speedtest.net.

Ok, so I’ll assume you have a standard Linksys router. That thing should have a dynamic IP address (meaning: your external IP address changes every once in a while), but I think it also has dynamic DNS support (meaning: you can assign it a DNS name like myrouter.dyndns.com).

You have to have a look at your router’s manual and figure out how to configure this.

It means places outside your home. Local = inside your home, remote = “anywhere in the internet”.

Well, sorry to say it, but as of today to make this stuff work “anywhere on the internet” requires quite a bit of effort. It seems to me that in your case you’d have to figure out how to connect from your work/university to your home. It may be the case that the network is wide open and you can just connect to your home router. But I’m pretty sure that your workplace’s network is locked down and won’t allow arbitrary connections to the outside world.

It is pretty nice, but not necessarily the best solution. As I said, imagine that your workplace only allows HTTP connections (websites) to the outside world. Then you can’t mount a filesystem, but you could have a webserver with all your files browsable through that server. It would also mean that you wouldn’t be able to send files to the Drobo.

That would be almost impossible. Since I started from scratch, it took me several man-days over the span of weeks of work to get all of this working. Of course, if I had to redo it, it would go much faster, but it is still a lot of command-line work. And that makes for terribly boring videos.

I would suggest getting comfortable with your router’s administration web interface, figuring out how you would be able to connect home from work/university (ask your sysadmin), and when you know that you could start thinking on how to make this work.

Other speed test sites:
http://www.2wire.com/bandwidth
http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/
http://speedtest.comcast.net/

Also enjoying my DroboFS. I have 4 1.5TB and 1 1.0TB drive in the unit. The unit is in my little redneck network cabinet. It’s a an extra shelf I added to the top of a closet that houses my cable modem, DroboFS, router, Sprint Airave, HDHomeRun tuner, switch, and a 500VA battery backup. And yes, there’s a fan that draws air in to this closet and dumps it into another. Sounds funky, but it works great and all my equipment is out of site and out of mind. The temps in the closet are usually only about 2 degrees above what the house is during the summer.

I use my DroboFS for backing up my 2 desktops and laptop. My HTPC drops all of the HD streams from BeyondTV onto the unit. I usually archive them and convert them from the raw MPEG2 TS files to H264 MKV files and cut the commercials later. I also have a pretty massive array of movies from my collection that I stream from the unit using my Boxee Box.

I’m really loving the DroboFS. It is very simple to setup, maintain, and upgrade. Pop out the drive and pop in another. Can’t get much easier than that.

When I had my unit in the office, I did notice the power supply had a weird tone but I couldn’t hear it over the 3 desktop’s running in that room anyways. Now that’s in the closet, I don’t even hear the thing at all.

I can use WebVPN through the university and make the browser go anywhere. It’s not perfect and sites like facebook link/buttons/icons don’t work well.

but, it allows to enter these different site modifiers:

http
https
cifs
ftp

Does that help at all?

Your CIFS access would be the SMB/Samba share access, so cifs://myserver/myshare might work, where myserver is the name or IP of your machine and myshare is the name of the shared folder.

Here’s how I access my shares remotely via SSH if that helps…

I’m liking my drobo fs so far.

Most of my annoyances actually have more to do with the utter lack of linux support for the thing. Best I can tell, drobo-utils does not support drobo fs - and there’s no dashboard drobo app.

So, if my win XP laptop were to fail, I wouldn’t be able to safely administer the machine - I trust that over me ssh-ing into the box and messing with linux commands.

I have all my machines mounting the drobo via nfs. I’ve disabled smb access to the drives. Doing this made me somewhat uncomfortable, but … everything seems to be running great so far - so good!

Drobo’s smb installation is not adequate out of the box if you are at all concerned about ownership and permissions. Granted, for what I need at home, it’s a bit much - until I think about the kids accidentally deleting financial records, projects, music, videos, and the like.

So, at this point, my biggest requests are:

  • linux dashboard for drobo fs, please!
  • improved smb access control