I think I just lost 20T of files

Everything was fine up till this last weekend. Five 8T drives installed, double disk protection, and no issues in over a year.

I had one group of files that needed cleanup, so I started copying them to my desktop.
Suddenly drive 3 is showing failed.
Very coincidental, and of course conflicting messages, at first telling me the drive had been removed, then that it was ok, then removed, then ok, then “failed”.
So I go get a 10T Seagate pro drive, and replace #3. Everything as you’d expect for about a day, then drive 2 shows failed. So I totally stop accessing the system.
It’s still in rebuild from the first fail, four oranges and drive 3 green.
When I get up yesterday AM, all five are red!
The top two are blinking, bottom three solid.
Drobo says the top drive has been removed, but it’s sitting right there.

If I check status on the drives, EVERY drive, even the “removed” drive reports health as “Good”.

So… Now what? I asked support this morning, no answer all day. I’m afraid to turn it off, leave it on…

I suspect the problem is really with the main unit, but of course I have only one of those, no way to test.

I can’t get “Drobocare” either, “No plans available for this product”.

Warranty is supposed to be 2 years, and according to this:
I can purchase “Drobocare” any time within those two years.

Trying now to reset the Drobo. My disk pack is removed, and a spare 6T mounted.
After three resets from the dashboard, the system still hasn’t reset.

Had to do the pin reset (located near the power plug entry), The Drobo is now initializing the single drive.
I currently have NO idea if I can recover my data. I have the disk pack which was in horrible shape according to the Drobo unit, with the top drive incorrectly showing as removed, the second drive blinking red for reasons unknown, and the rest solid red. The third drive was a replacement, and I COULD try the original five discs again, but I really don’t know how to proceed here.

Would be nice is support would deign to answer…

I could do the pin reset with no drives in, then shut down the unit, install the disc pack and hope like hell.
I could do the same with the new #3 drive, but that set of drives was never all green.

After replacing the middle drive, support told me I should wait for the rebuild before changing any other drives, which is how I got to five reds.

The system is up and running on the single drive, seems ok. So I suppose this means the main system is ok?

I tried drives 1,2,4,5 with #3 out, all red, and “too many drives removed”, and all drives individually read “good”.

I shut it down and installed the original #3, and now it tells me #4 is not installed, #2 and #3 are blinking, and 1,4,5 are solid red.

So if I believe Drobo, I’ve had SIX hard drives of two different brands, one only a few days old, fail in as many days. Seems fantastically unlikely.

I updated my support ticket Friday AM. Didn’t expect to hear anything over the weekend… Didn’t hear anything today either.

Finally heard back at about 7:30 pm with instructions to reseat the drives. (Power down, reseat all drives, power up) No change… Patient still unresponsive.

My theory, bad power supply or main Drobo unit.

Almost three days since their last reply…

They agreed to exchange my Drobo under warranty saturday.
It took more than two weeks, mostly waiting for replies, to get to this point.

They got my Drobo Thursday, no word on when the new one might ship yet.
24 days in this nightmare so far, and I still don’t know if I can recover my disk pack.

The replacement main unit arrived today. It’s powering up, hopefully I will get a sucessful rebuild.

Nope. Five reds, two blinking.

After a reboot it’s changed it’s mind… Now showing one drive failed, one “warning” and it’s failed mounting the file system so it’s rebuilding, estimating 96 hours (and climbing)… Maybe there’s a chance I can get my files back after all. I still think it’s rather curious that the system after working fine for a year, suddenly failed one drive during a file copy, and now I’m supposed to believe a second has failed, with a third failing… AND I can’t do anything till the rebuild finishes, one of these days.

Last night, it was telling me 62 hours till done. This morning 105 hours till done.

This morning’s random number is 81 hours, but the progress bar and time already spent suggest Mid-Day Tuesday for completion of the rebuild. There isn’t ANYTHING that tells me whether it’s recovering ANYTHING or not. Drobo needs to pay WAY more attention to the customer facing side of things. Their error messages conflict with themselves, and the whole process is completely opaque. During the rebuild the Drobo tells me “You can continue to use the device” except you can’t, and it keeps telling me to replace one drive, except that seems to be a very bad idea during a rebuild. As an embedded systems developer of >30 years experience I’d grade this a D-.

It’s now jumped up to 11 hours remaining… I’m not getting my hopes up too far yet. I’ve been dealing with this sudden failure now for a month running. Replies from Drobo are taking an average of about 2 days.

Well, we’ve eaten the whole month of October in this mess. The LEDs went from orange to green, but now for the last day and a half I get emails every 15 mins telling me that the rebuild is done, and another one telling me that a rebuild is in progress. No access to the shares yet, and no real help from Drobo. They want me to open a new case on the replacement unit but I can’t because their web form won’t accept my Drobo firmware version or my dashboard version, copied and pasted directly from the dashboard screen.

When they work, they are great. When they’re not working, a nightmare of conflicting popups telling me to replace a drive, don’t replace any drives, rebuilding but you can use your files, etc etc etc. Support emails take about 2 days to get an answer and frequently the “answer” does not address the issue.

Still churning. Tuesday and wednesday I was treated to emails every 15 minutes telling me that the rebuild was done, and that a rebuild was in progress. That stopped last night when it went into yet another rebuild (this time the lights and the dashboard agree). When I saw it this morning it had 11 hours left and I still couldn’t access anything. Some time this afternoon it went back to a rebuild in progress according to dashboard but the lights are solid green except for drive 2 still flashing red. So I still have NO idea when this saga might end, NO idea if any of my data has been recovered, and really nothing useful from tech support either. They take so long to respond that when they finally do respond, if it even looks like they read what I wrote, the response is hopelessly out of date. I do hope this inadvertent blog will be useful to someone else.

Still churning. I had a response from tech support today after only 5 days, asking me to send yet another diagnostic. They don’t seem to read my questions, this time they say that it seems to be in a rebuild (yeah only for the last TWO WEEKS)… Still no access to my files, and no end in sight.

You are not alone in this struggle. I’m almost 2 months in with 14T of video production at risk. Support has been useless. My unit was purchased in May 2019. Just today getting the RMA replacement attached to the MAC host with same result as the “failed” unit. The MAC seems to see the unit, but DroboDashboard is not connecting.

Anyway…I’m not looking for technical advise. I just wanted to affirm, you are not alone in the DROBO struggle.


Support finally got back to me yesterday, advising me to power down the drobo from dashboard and reboot it. Unfortunately during a rebuild that is not an option, so I queried them about that. Today they told me to power down using the power switch and reboot…
Been there done that.

I now have the same big lights, 1,3,4,5 solid green, and 2 flashing red.
Counting from the left, I have seven blue LEDs on, no flashing etc there.
It’s been some 40 minutes since turning on the drobo, and it is not showing up on the network.

4 hours later, still same lights, and the Drobo is not visible on the network or to dashboard.