mSATA drive uses? 5N firmware?

Hi all,

I’m super excited to be upgrading from my old Drobo FS to a new (to me) Drobo 5N. I needed some slightly faster write speeds and that was considerably cheaper than upgrading to another NAS from QNAP.

I have two questions.

First, the mSATA drive. I’ve read that it’s only used to accelerate reading the data (frequently used files.) My workload is very media heavy, but it varies considerably and the files are large. (Mostly bluray rips served through Plex.) Does the SSD get used in any other operations? (Write cache, rebuilding arrays, etc) If not, then I don’t think I will see much of a boost from the SSD.

Second, should I update the firmware on my drobo? I’ve been reading about people having issues with certain versions. I don’t, for what it’s worth, use the DroboApps since I have a separate computer that runs the Plex server. I typically don’t upgrade the firmware on NAS devices unless there’s a feature I need or a problem that I’m experiencing.

I’ll be migrating my 5 X 3TB red drives (slowly) by using two spares and then slowly migrating the data (and gradually decreasing the number of drives in the original drobo.) [Which I’m sure will make for an exciting weekend.]

I don’t think you will get any benefit from mSATA SSD in your case.
In fact I also used mSATA for file streaming (mostly Blu-ray remuxed MKV files) via NFS and since about 6 month ago I removed mSATA card to use it elsewhere - I’ve not noticed performance decline.

I would definitely recommend to upgrade firmware on a new unit and keep it updated unless there are some obvious incompatibilities with your existing infrastructure or other reasons.

As for the data migration definitely move as much data as possible without triggering data rebuilding in source unit (removing drives) as it will increase the risk for drive failure (intensive read/write). It will take time but you’ll get there.

I found adding an mSATA SSD helped a lot with I/O contention. In other words, I didn’t see skips in Plex playback due to other processes/users writing to the disk pack at the same time. Without it the Drobo was much more sensitive to read/write contention.

Thanks for the tips! I think I’m going to skip the mSATA card for now. There’s usually pretty minimal writing going on so I haven’t actually seen any skips in my Plex setup. Sometimes it takes a few seconds to start playing, but that’s probably the Drobo waking the drives.

I actually have been planning that out how to minimize the number of rebuilds that I need to do. I’m going to write it down here, not because it helps anyone else, but just because I needed to do this anyway. :slight_smile:

I’ve already reduced the drobo to single disk redundancy and removed a disk (3TB.) So I’m at my minimum state right now.

Starting with…
1 - Drobo FS (4 Disk X 3TB) - 7.3 TB of data
2 - Extra 2 TB Drive (Full of data counted within that 7.3 TB drive - It’s faster. Important data also backed up to a third location.)
3 - Drobo 5n (2 Disk X 3TB) - Empty

1- Move 2TB of data from Extra Drive to 5n. (WinMerge to verify with source remove after verification.) FS(5.3)
2- Move less than 1TB additional data to 5n (WinMerge to verify) FS(4.3)
3- Add 2 TB to 5n (3 Disk , 3TB x 2, 2TB x 1)
4 - Move 2TB more (Verify, remove, etc) FS (2.3)
5 - Remove 1 X 3 TB from FS , migrate to 5n (Wait for rebuilds.)
6 - Migrate remaining data FS(0)
7 - Move remaining disks, swap 2tb drive out. (Rebuild(s)…)

The reason I moved it to a source other than the drobo is to prevent (on that initial transfer) having to pull that from the FS to the 5N through another computer. (And it’s a 7200 RPM drive, so may be it’ll be slightly faster than my WD red drives.) The data is still on the drobo, so it’s safe I should just be able to move it into the new drobo a bit faster.

All subsequent moves will be FS to 5N (through a desktop)… which will likely be a bit slower.

Either way, I’m excited.

good luck for the weekend plans justin, and its always good when people air their thoughts or plans as it helps others to spot things or to follow similar approaches that work.

(at first i was going to ask how you could do step 4 after the 2tb was put inside, but then had some more coffee and realised via the network) :slight_smile: