I'm on the fence whether I should get a Drobo FS or not, what's your experience?

I’m looking to get my data backed up without worrying about a hard drive failure destroying years of family pictures and videos, among other media. I keep reading reviews from different sites saying Drobo FS is the best thing since sliced bread, to the other end of the spectrum claiming it raped and kicked their dog.

I registered here so that I can get some feedback from current (or past) owners who can better tell me whether it’s a good decision to drop this much money into a Drobo FS. I like the idea of expanding my storage down the road. I’ve looked at Synology, but I feel somewhat limited to their max storage in their boxes that are within my budget.

My network will mostly Macs, PS3/Xbox. I’m not sure if that makes an impact on whether that keeps things simple or not in the setup and daily network interaction.

Let me know your experiences and whether this is a smart decision to get one. Thanks.

if you enable dual disk redundancy then you should be fine

keep in mind that RAID (essentially drobo) is NOT a backup!

it ONLY protects against a drive failure

it does not protect against:

user error (you’d be amazed how often this happens)

you should always have some irreplaceable backed up and off site (i leave a pile of a few re-writeable blu-rays at my mothers house!)

100% agree with Docchris.
Drobo provides fault tolerance, but fault tolerance is not a substitute for backup!

Backups are separate copies of the data.
Fault-tolerance just lets a hard drive (or two) die on the “live” storage without losing all the data.

User error happens way more often than the other things.

Yeah, that goes without saying but how reliable are the Drobos as far as performing as they are advertised? How have your own personal experiences been with the units in terms of performance, reliability, compatibility and daily usage. Any quirks with Windows/Mac?

if by performance you mean speed i have always found them to be sub-par :S (although i havent had a drobo-S but i dont think its faster than the pro which i have had)

they are fine for backup and media storage - (20-30MB/sec seems to be typical for a regular drobo v2) they could easily stream back a blu-ray (three in the case of my drobopro) but i wouldnt want to use it as a scratch disk for video editing

in terms of protecting your data i haven’t really had any fault with them - my drobopro got stuck in a reboot loop they sent me a new drobopro and a new firmware and while i couldn’t “repair” the disk pack (i.e. get it operational again) i could copy ALL of my data off it onto other disks and just reformat it

i have had a drobo, a v2 and a pro and only the pro failed (and even then that was a firmware update which left it in an unusable state and it didnt affect the data on the disk pack and they sent me a replacement drobopro pretty quickly)

compatibility - they work fine - firewire on windows is a nightmare but thats just a general fact and not specific to drobos!

In my experience (Drobo v2), they are fine for single-access applications. They get significantly slower when multiple simultaneous accesses occur, and get slower when simultaneous access happens across multiple volumes on the same unit.

Compatibility-wise, I haven’t run into any problems on USB or Firewire 800 connections to my Windows Home Server (WHS) PC, nor my Windows 7 Professional machines (both 64-bit and 32-bit).

Thanks guys, hope to hear from more people. Waiting on a refund from Amazon before I make my decision. I just returned a Synology DS211+ with a couple 3TB Hitachi drives. I liked the DSM software, but the unit was having issues with the hibernation feature (would randomly wake up, even when not on the network). I also didn’t like the 6TB max with the DS211+ (impulse purchase), so I’m looking at the long term storage options.

As for offsite, I’m looking at BackBlaze, but not sure yet since they don’t backup network storage drives.

I’ve got the DS1511+, I’ve found it to be considerably faster than the drobopro (usually just over 100MB/sec - which is limited more by the single GBE connection than anything else)

My Drobo FS typically writes at 27 MB/s and reads at 45 MB/s. That should be enough for EIGHT full Blu Ray rips playing at the same time. I have not tested more than five at the same time. No stuttering.

Note that your network will be an issue here. I have cabled network (cat 6) and managed Cisco switches as some media players really need flow control when receiving data from a NAS.[hr]

your quote of 8 is of course assuming that speeds scales of multiple reads/writes - which at least for regular drobos and the drobopro is NOT true - accessing more than 1 or two files at once and performance started to drop off VERY quickly