Multiple volumes with different filesystem formats?

I have a Drobo 2nd Gen connected to a MacBook Pro runing DroboDashboard 1.7.1. The Drobo had 2x500GB and 1x1.5TB drives with volume limit at 1TB and formatted at HFS+. This setup gave me a max size of 928GB for the volume. I have mainly been using the Drobo for time machine on the laptop. I have been wanting to put more space in to have a 2nd volume as FAT32 so I can backup my other laptop (windows XP) as well as have a platform that I can put files on to move back and forth between the two laptops (or home if I ever have a need of moving the Drobo back there)

Today I add another 1.5TB drive into the last slot so that I can have multiple 1TB volumes (as well as not having to worry about Time Machine trying to go past the 928GB and corrupting the backups). It said that I needed to reboot the Drobo to see the new volumes which I did. I saw the new space, but had no way of accessing it without re-formatting the whole diskpack.

I did the format and I now have three volumes with HFS+ format. I could not find a way to choose the format for the individual volumes. That isn’t that big of an issue since I went into Disk Utilities and reformatted the 2nd volume at FAT32. I go back to DroboDashboard and it still list the 2nd volume as HFS+.

My questions are:

  1. Is there another way of accessing new space to create new volumes without having to format the whole diskpack?

  2. Is there a way to selectively format a specific volume?


  1. When you exceed your current volume when upsizing drives, drobo will automatically prompt you to format the new volume.

  2. You can not choose which file system format, once formatted to HFS+ all volumes will be HFS+ (Elite is the only device you can have different file system formats.)

  1. It never asked. It just stated that I have to reboot the Drobo to have access to the new space.

  2. Will there be an issue since I used Disk Utility to reformat the 2nd drive as FAT32?

The only supported method to format and manage your partition(s) on your Drobo device is to use Data Robotics’ Drobo Dashboard. Using any other tool or method to manipulate your volume(s) can result in loss of data and is not supported. This includes disk utilities included with your operating system.

Although some utilities (such as Apple’s Disk Utility in OS X 10.5 and later) allow you to repartition or dynamically repartition a volume without losing data, Drobo device volumes do not support these utilities. Drobo storage device volumes should not be repartitioned using any application other than Drobo Dashboard. If you repartition a Drobo device drive using a third-party utility (including OS utilities), you risk losing the data on the drive.

Instead, copy the data on your Drobo device to another drive. Then use Drobo Dashboard to reformat your volume(s) to another size and copy your data back to your Drobo unit.

First off, thank you so much for the quick response!

Second, You stated that only the Drobo Elite is the only device that supports multiple filesystem formats. Is that something to do with the hardware of the Elite, or is this somethat that can be requested for firmware enhancement of the Drobo? The reason I ask is that I am wanting to use the drobo as a backup platform for several of my work and home computers since it has both firewirewire and USB connections.

If that is not possible. I wonder if a DroboFS (that I have at home) direct connect to a computer will work for a system restore? I know system restores will work from USB connections, but not sure about from the gigabit ethernet port.

It was by design. Elite has volume management when enables you to select HFS+, NTFS, EXT3, MultiHost for VMFS (VMWare).

You can request it, but I can almost guarantee you will not see it in a 2nd Gen drobo.

Not sure about a system restore on an FS. FS automatically formats in EXT3 and haven’t seen a system restore software that works over gigabit interface, just USB or FW.

I see what you mean Jennifer. I was playing around with 3 1TB partitions of HFS+. I took one partition and formatted it FAT32 from the Mac. Worked fine excpet when I took the drobo to the other laptop (Win XP) to do a backup. It failed due to limitations on max file size. So I reformatted that partition as NTFS and successfully did a backup last night.

I came in this morning, hooked the drobo back up to the mac and powered up. My Macbook just hung until I pulled the connection to the Drobo, and then it came right up. Reconnected the Drobo and I can see all three partitions. Rebooted the Mac and still it would hang until I pulled the cable connection to the Drobo.

Is there a way of making XP see a HFS+ filesystem?


Maybe with 3rd party software.

I have used these before, though I’m not sure I would trust them 100% to not corrupt the filesystem: