Drobo

New to Drobo and my feelings are mixed

Greetings all.

I just purchased my 1st Drobo this week and had a few newbie questions.

Here is the setup:

iMac i7, 8GB, 2TB, 10.6.4

Drobo, 1.3.6/1.6.8, 2x WD Caviar Black 2TB SATAII and 1X WD 1TB GP SATAII

The Drobo is connected to the iMac via FW800 and is the only FW device.

16TB volume, with 2 partitions (1.25TB for Time Machine and rest for iTunes)

Easy setup, quiet and a great value (in light of other options).

However, this thing is SLOW!!! Transferring my 718GB iTunes library took almost two days! The initial Time Machine backup has been running for 27 hours now and is about 3/4 done.

Should I really expect ~20MB/sec read and write?

Thanks for any insight/tips.

yes , its not the fastest thing in the world

PLUS - if you have just set it up - it often needs 24-28 hours to finish its housekeeping tasks - it should get a little bit faster

PLUS - itunes library is presumably a LOT of relatively small files - and almost all storage systems suck at that - compared to a handful of very large files, so im not surprised the performance isnt as good as if you were copying over individual large files.

Ok, thanks.

Once I get through the initial setup and transfer, I think ~20MB/sec will be plenty of speed for what it being used for. (iTunes local and streamed to AppleTV’s and Time Machine)

Just wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing some ‘low hanging fruit’ performance-wise.

On another, kinda related note…

VMWare makes me nuts because every time you use the virtual machine, it makes Time Machine think the whole file has changed and I wind up backing up the .vmdk file multiple times per day. Besides excluding it completely from the backup any tips on that?

What do you do in your VM? I don’t do anything in mine that I keep in the VM, it’s always either in a folder shared from the Mac side, or on a network drive. I have just on backup of my “golden VM” image, which I just update if I install some big program or other, and I exclude the actual “working” VM from Tome Machine altogether.

Nothing special in the VM. I usually use it in Unity mode when I have to run something through IE7 or IE8.

That’s what I was thinking I would do. Just make a copy somewhere and exclude the one I use daily.

Thanks for the tip.

I don’t use a Mac, but VM virtual disks have a “Nonpersistent” setting which causes it to discard changes when you power down. if you are only using your VM for IE then you could consider using this option to discard any runtime data generated by using your VM and it might help.

So, I just passed 48 hours with my unit setup and docchris was right.

My performance has improved markedly.

Last nights Kona was avg reads and writes in the 20MB/sec range.

I just re-ran Kona and got 30.5MB/sec writes and 43.5MB/sec reads.

I’m happy.

I’ll have to check my packaging to see if there’s already a note, but if not, there should be a final step that says “Let Drobo get comfortable in its new home. Performance will increase over a 24-72 hour period as Drobo optimizes itself.”

It’s a lot like the break-in period for thermal compound.

Well, yet another reason to break from tradition and RTFM! :smiley:

Do standard disk utilities like Disk Warrior and Drive Genius work with the Drobo?

I ask because I can see a time when I might need to increase the size of the Time Machine partition.

I know Drive Genius will let me re-size HFS+ partitions non-destructively.

NO ! See this FAQ answer.
AFAIK, you cannot repartition a Drobo with Drobo Dashboard without losing all data :frowning: .
Better be right the first time…

Yes, I read that, but was more than a little confused since this article
http://support.datarobotics.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/119/kw/time%20machine/r_id/100004

Told me step-by-step how to use Disk Utility to partition my Drobo.

So, they say it’s not supported except for when they tell you to use it?

Has anyone tried anything like this?

Essentially, yes. It’s not supported except for the case they describe. Other uses and other tools can and will confuse Drobo.

Even though Drobo (except for DroboShare and Drobo S) doesn’t handle the maintenance of the filesystem (the OS does), it still needs to be aware of the filesystem usage, and because of that, it needs to know how to access the filesystem.

Think of it like taking your car to the mechanic.
If your car is all OEM parts, no problem.
If you have some kind of special part, the mechanic may not be familiar with it, and repairing it or related systems may be difficult. In other words, Drobo/DRI/Dashboard doesn’t know what you’ve done with Disk Utility or other drive-manipulating software.
However, if that same mechanic installed that special part, then (s)he is familiar with it, and repair of it or related systems is fine. This is the case for using Disk Utility as DRI describes. Drobo/DRI/Dashboard is aware of it and understands it.