macOS Big Sur, Drobo volumes show as Uninitialised (Thunderbolt)

Same here … annoying …

well, I did contact support & this what they had to say.

Same problem with mine. I logged it with apple support. For some reason its not reading HFS+ file format or not allowing to mount the drive as it did on the Catalina.

I am bit stuck as I don’t know what to do.

Well, I got a USB A 3.1 to USB C cable now - and I can see my Drobo again (though not in the dashboard). I am now copying a folder to the Drobo (12 GB). The speed is well into USB1 territory! The first gigabyte took only 6 minutes:face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

Adding myself to this list. Drobo Mini is seen in the dashboard as well as disk utility, but is not mounting. Connected via TB-USBC adapter to 2018 mac mini. I am able to mount with USB 3A to USBC

Same here. Updated to Big Sur and my Drobo 5D3 shows in disk utility uninitialised. I can’t access any of my data via thunderbolt. The usb 3 port however seems to connect…
Drobo, when can we expect an update?

I’ve been running a Drobo since 2012 and this is the last straw. EVERY OTHER App and connectivity utility works fine with Big Sur but not Drobo. I’ll be purchasing another device.

I’d like to question what Drobo actually sold to us. They sold 5/8D boxes with a number of standard connections like ethernet, thunderbolt and usb.
Now I am asking myself why no other manufacturer seems to suffer from comparable problems. My explanation is that we - in contrast to what we paid for - did not get normal thunderbolt or usb connectors. Why else would standard connectors stop working with a software update? And, to be honest, this sounds like some kind of fraud. Maybe some kind of unintended fraud in the beginning, but now to me it seems to be obvious, that we never got standard connectors. And this is why we suffer from these otherwise inexplicable problems - and why we most probably will suffer from comparable issues in the future.
This has legal implications of course. Because I bought and paid for a thunderbolt 3 connector (as promised by Drobo).
Therefore I am asking Drobo to reconstitute fully operable connectors on my 5D3 - if possible at all (which I doubt) or I will demand my money back.
Really, I am completely fed up with companies selling ‘adapted’ or ‘improved’ standard connectivity without telling anyone which ‘potions’ they use and causing nothing but problems for the user!

Yeah me too with my 8D, 5D3 and 5D. I have been very happy with my Drobo units except for a few instances. I will have to say that I will not immediately jump to Drobo in the future after this. From the start not having a way to test software with developer releases of Big Sur, to this ridiculous situation of not being able to work at all. You can even look at the web page and the 8D is still listed as NEW after almost 2 years on the market. The sad part is that Drobo could have been the “it” thing. Sad for me and all you users who put out the thousands to a company who considers their customers a “problem” and not the asset who help them build their company. The statement on the front page of the web site does not make me feel confident that the issue will be resolved any time soon. They even add addition information adding that we should have 3 backups per EXPERTS. This this is a true statement but they added it when we could not use Big Sur for many months since you were not able to use Drobo after installing Big Sur. As I write this, I’m getting more mad by the minute. " NOTE: Drobo Thunderbolt had been working properly up to RC2 posted on Nov. 11. If your Drobo has a USB port, use this. In the interim we are looking into the issue."…Last note. Prices for DroboCare is a joke. SORRY but again…I question if Drobo ever followed the rules that Apple has for proper hardware and software created to be used on a Mac. If they had, this would not be a problem and their Dashboard would not look and work like a Windows program. And still again…Why do I have to purchase cables for something that should not be having a problem? Any other manufacturers of storage devices having this problem? I wonder if they are working this weekend or waiting to address the problem on Monday from 8 to 5.


And I would like to add that although I am a lucky user who has a USB port available on their Drobo this is so f…ing slow (speed is like USB1 although USB3 is built in) that it is unusable!

I can tell you that the G-Technology and OWC Thunderbolt storage devices I have, all but one of which are also RAID units, are working just fine. They’re not expandable (without taking the data off entirely and putting it back) nor as flexible as Drobos are, but they are working as expected.

I’m having trouble imagining what would have changed between a release candidate, and an RTM build. The entire point of release candidates is that they ARE the code that gets shipped. Any changes from RC2 to RTM should have gone out as an RC3 first.

To this point my Drobo ownership (5N, 5D, 5D3), which spans at least 8 years, and longer I think, has been largely uneventful; occasional issues with devices not showing up in Dashboard notwithstanding. I’ve made good use of the flexibility in adding storage and upgrading drives in an operating unit - that flexibility is excellent. It was the only solution of its type that operated as direct-attached storage; all the competitors were NAS only. And NAS complicated off-site backup (e.g. Backblaze is a lot more expensive if you want NAS support vs. DAS) and was a performance issue.


Well, the better NAS units, even if bridged over WiFi, operate at about the same speed as the directly attached Drobo units I have. And MUCH faster than this 5D3 was running at over USB3.

So …

Yesterday I moved my 5D and 5D3 to the Mac Mini I use as a Media server. It’s limited to Catalina anyway, and the units are both working over Thunderbolt there. I exposed them from that machine as network shares, and they’re running about as fast as they did when they used to be directly attached. They can continue to serve in that capacity until they fail. One just backs up the other anyway. And the reduction of noise (from moving the 5D3, especially, out of my office) is very welcome (it was about a 15 dB drop).

I can’t afford to be down for multiple days, and holding off on OS upgrades is rough since I’m a developer (VMs only go so far). So, at this point, while I’ll continue to use the units I have, I’m putting in a pair of Synology units for my primary production RAID needs, switching to DAS RAID/mirrored SSDs for faster DAS storage, and letting the Drobo stuff age out in non-critical use cases.

I probably wouldn’t have made the changes I describe above so quickly, had I not discovered that similar connectivity issues have occurred in the past while looking for solutions to this issue.

Bummer, and not how I wanted to spend the last three+ days.

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I just read that Promise Tech. has had some driver problems with BigSur so it is possible Drobo is not alone here. I still stand by most of what I have said but this issue could be bigger than we know. According to the Promise forum, some are having trouble a lot like Drobo. Remember that Promise is also sold in the Apple store.

Hi Torq,

This makes a lot of sense.

Could you recommend on the NAS Synology you are using?
Also interested in a good DAS SSD - I was looking at some solutions like that but was not sure how to choose …


Hi. I have a Synology 1819+ which I LOVE. I wish they made a DAS model. The problem here is that they are way to slow for a workable solution of read/write while working. Forgive my memory but I believe it is around 2,000 m/s read but only 450 m/s write which makes for a very slow response. I use it for backups. If I decide to change from Drobo, which I am strongly considering, I will change to Promise Technology. They look to have excellent products. The only draw back I can find is that they do not sell diskless units as far as I can find. Apple sells them as well.

For the main unit I’ll be going with the “1821+”, which is just a minority updated version of the 1819+ that @calebbowen mentions above. It’s supposed to ship this year, and if it wasn’t imminent I’d get the 1819+.

In the mean time I’m adding a pair of the “1621+” units as replacements for the 5D and 5D3. If it’s connected to the same wired network as my Mac Pro I was not seeing any real difference in read/write performance vs. the 5D3 when I tested one recently (if anything, the Synology was 10-15% faster … both units equipped with SSD caches).

Though for performance critical stuff I’ll be switching to a Thunderbolt 3 OWC ThunderBlade (which you can configure in various RAID modes for performance or redundancy).

Hope that helps!

I should add that, with the Synology devices you need to run a UPS as well. The Drobo units have a built-in battery to allow for a clean shutdown in the event that you lose power. The Synology units don’t. Though if you have the right UPS with them (see Synology’s recommendations), they can talk to the UPS and shut themselves down in the event that you lose power.


Super helpful! Thanks a lot - appreciated!

Will there be a fix for this issue from Drobo or what is the solutions. I have lot of videos and pictures and docs. Is there anyway I can recover the whole lot?

just give them time, they will get to it, as this most likely affects all their products using thunderbolt & think about they would lose a lot of profit if they didn’t do fix this. as I’m sure most people who use Drobo are on mac’s.

It’s called communication and Drobo simply does not believe in doing it.

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I have the same problem. Is there a solution using thunderbolts, I don’t have any other cable.