iTunes expansion/ Daisychaining

Hi, My first post here. I have been using my Drobo 1st generation with 4x1TB drives for a couple years now as storage for my iTunes library. It is now 85% full so I bought another Drobo 2nd generation to daisychain together for increased storage. My understanding from reading here is that this can be done, but must be done properly or all data can be lost. Don’t want to do that! I hope members of this forum can confirm my plan or get me headed in the right direction.

First, as I understand it, I must transfer all data on the Drobo 1st gen. to a separate temp HD. I understand from some posts here that can take a day or more? If I understand correctly I should double click/open the Drobo icon on the desk top and drag the files to the new temp storage. Correct? Is there a different / preferred way to transfer the data? Should I select all and drag to the temp storage or do it incrementally?

Then I must reformat both Drobos to 16 TB for max flexibility and expandability. Both Drobos would be formatted to the same storage capacity and use the same firmware and dashboard version… but I don’t know if that is an absolute necessity? I don’t understand if this should be done with the drives in place and the units linked together?? Or if I connect the Drobos separately? Without drives? Does each Drobo have a different name?

Since the Drobo Gen 1 only has 1 USB connection, it would be connected to the Drobo 2nd Gen via USB, and then from the Drobo 2nd Gen. to the computer via the Firewire 800 connection. Is this correct? Will it show on the desktop as a single Drobo or as two separate drives/volumes (… not sure of terminology here)? I want to connect it directly to the computer, rather than via DroboShare, to maintain the fastest, most reliable connection possible. Also I’m not sure if the data shows up as being on two separate drives/volumes will iTunes be able to access the whole library or will it get confused and not know where to look for the “tunes”? Will I wind up having two iTunes libraries? I’m hoping someone here will have some experience with this.

I guess the next step is to reload the external data back onto the connected /daisychained Drobos. Again I assume it will be a drag and drop operation from the external temp storage to the Drobo icon/s? Where I assume it will be spread evenly between the two Drobos. If the Drobos show as separate drives/volumes on the desktop is there a protocol on naming them? Should I drag and drop the data to the first Drobo in the chain or does it matter? If this operation needs to be stopped or delayed for any reason is there a protocol for doing that with our loosing data?

My computer is a iMac (7,1) with 3 USB ports, 1 FW 400 port, 1 FW 800 port, and an ethernet port. The FW 400 port is used to connect directly to the DAC. The FW 800 port would connect to the Drobo 2nd Gen. and via USB to the Drobo 1st Gen. Will this setup work? I am not sure if the FW 400 and FW 800 share the same buss. Will that be a problem?

I’m very paranoid about doing this because I don’t want to loose data and see 2 1/2 years go up in smoke. Any comments, suggestions, or personal experience will be welcome. Thanks, Rod


Sorry to dissapoint but you have either been misled or have misunderstood.

you cannot connect drobos together and get them to work together.

They do have firewire ports and you can daisychain them - but they will still be two totally separate drobos - in the same way you could also dasiychain a scanner in the middle but it wouldnt affect the drobo’s either side.

The stuff you were reading bout copying data off to a temporary hard disk , that sounds like the instructions for if you want to replace an older drobo with a newer drobo.

if you have two drobos - they will appears as at least two drive letters (each drobo will contain its own discrete and totally independant disk pack ) the drobo will in no way be aware of each other or communicate with each other.[hr]
Sorry i shoudl have been clearer:

“you cannot connect drobos together and get them to work together.”

they will both WORK - just not together. if you plug in two drobos - then you simply have two drobos, its not like having one giant super drobo (which is what i believe you were hoping to achieve)

Thanks for your answer Docchris.
Darn! Well I guess my alternative is to buy a new series of 2 TB hard drives with greater than 4 TB of space, install in the new Drobo and transfer the data. Still not sure if I can just drag and drop from one Drobo icon to the other because they will be formatted differently?? I did a brief search for recommended 2 TB drives but didn’t find what I was looking for… any suggestions?
Anyone looking for a slightly used Drobo with 4x1 TB drives?
Cheers, Rod

WD20ears are good drives - make sure your firmware is up to date.

if you are wanting to move to 4 bigger drives then yes, putting the 4 big drives in your new drobo and then moving your files across is the fastest/safest way to do it

alternatively - you could just put all of your current 1tb drives into your new drobo and then start it up, then when you need more space you can replace the 1tb drives with 2tb drives whenever you need additional space (you will need to replace at least 2 in order to get more usable space)

Thanks Docchris. I’ll start searching. Cheers,[hr]
After a quick search for WD20ears I see different rotational speeds, different cache sizes and different SATA 1, 2, 3 specs… Is there a “good, better, best” among these choices? What do I need to know to make everything work together? Can drives of different speeds, cache size, etc work together or do I need to get all alike? Thanks,

WD20EARS is Western Digital (the manufacturer)'s specific model number for the 2TB WD Caviar Green drive.

If the drive you’re looking at is a WD20EARS, it will have the same specs as other WD20EARS. There should be no variance. However, many vendors like to put related drives on the search results.

Here are the WD20EARS specifications directly from Western Digital, the Green series page

Notable difference aside from 4K sectors, the WD20EARS has a 64 MB cache while the older non-4K WD20EADS has only a 32 MB cache.

neither of which will make any difference in a drobo :wink:

True. :slight_smile:

After looking online at the WD Community Forum I came across this:
“WD Caviar Green Hard Drives are not recommended for and are not warranted for use in RAID environments utilizing Enterprise HBAs and/or expanders and in multi-bay chassis, as they are not designed for, nor tested in, these specific types of RAID applications.” (This was in a windows setup)
Obviously bhiga is using WD20EARS drives in his Drobo set up. Not being a tech type and not wanting to make another error because of my ignorance can you comment on this WD forum post? Will use in a Drobo void any warranty?
Thanks, R

They work fine.

Drobo is not a typical HBA or RAID.

See this thread, and its resolution.

Just be sure you have updated to a firmware version that supports 4K sector drives, if necessary.

iTunes can use more than one location. Just change where you want to store you iTunes media in iTunes Preferences.

It can easily tell where each file is located even when they are on multiple drives.

The short and easy way to do this is when your old Drobo is full just change the location of your iTunes library in iTunes. All new data will be saved to the new Drobo. I can safely say this will work, because I have had my iTunes library spread across 3 drives in the past.

Thanks for the link bhiga. Very interesting. My iMac is 4 K compatible. Looks like everything should work. Thanks![hr]

I have decided to bite the bullet and upgrade to 4x2TB drives in the Drobo and keep the library in one place. I will use the Apple suggested method of transferring to a new source so I retain all album art and metadata. Here’s the link to the Apple site:

Thanks for your info. Cheers,

If you’re putting the drive in your Drobo, be sure your Drobo firmware is updated - it’s the device that the drive is directly talking to that needs to be 4K-aware. :slight_smile:

Haven’t used it, but since the question was asked… :smiley: