Partitioning, bootable volume and new space (OS X)?

After plowing through Knowledge Base and this forum numerous times I’m still somewhat confused trying to make Drobo future proof for my setup. I’d greatly appreciate your patience with this noob - and any guidance!

  • Drobo (v2)
  • x2 1Tb drives (WD Green WD10EADS)
  • Dashboard 1.6.8 (fresh install)
  • Firmware 1.3.6 (manually from 1.3.5, that’s been auto-updated from 1.3.0)
  • OS X 10.6.3
  • FireWire connection to MacMini

The case and HDDs are fresh and haven’t been used until now. Drobo is currently formatted as a single 16Tb drive. Test transfers work well.

I want to have two partitions:

  • (A) 500Gb. For bootable backups of 320Gb HDD in MacMini (via CCC or SuperDuper). I’ll reformat Drobo should I ever need more than 500Gb for this.
  • (B) whatever else is available. For media files, iTunes and Aperture libraries, etc. Will be accessed from MacMini (FW) and other Macs (LAN). Ideally, this partition is the one that gets all the new space once HDDs are added to the Drobo.

My questions:

  1. What are negative side effects of a partitioned Drobo (vs single partition)?
  2. Is it necessary to have partition (A) as the 1st partition for it to be bootable?
  3. What software should I partition the drive with?
  4. Any problems with Dashboard when a Mac runs of a cloned volume on Drobo?
  5. How will the new space redistribute between partitions once additional HDDs are added?

Thank you!

when you add new drives… they are added to the free space available which si shared between all partitions

as soon as your physically available space exceeds the total space of your partitions… and additional partition is automatically created

only partition drobo with the drobo dashboard

im not a mac guy so cant really comment on your other questions.

Docchris, thank you very much for your prompt reply!

The distribution of new space to all partitions is even better for my situation - I can update MacMini with HDD of any size and avoid reformatting the whole Drobo. (I see now how limitless expansion could become a problem for Time Machine backups.)

Could anybody comment on questions 1, 2 and 4?

  1. There are no side effects having more than one partition. I personally prefer multiple of organizing my data.

  2. I don’t think it matters which partition you are using as your bootable partition. But we don’t recommend it unless for emergency situations.

  3. Yes, dashboard will show your capacity incorrectly.

From the KB on this question:

Apple’s OS X supports booting from external drives, including Drobo devices. Windows, however, does not.

The bootable backup on a Drobo storage device is meant to be used in emergency situations where you cannot access your main internal hard drive. We do not recommend this as a permanent solution since Drobo Dashboard will launch but does not display the Drobo device or volume information correctly in this configuration. Therefore, even though you can use your Drobo product in this way, Data Robotics does not offer technical support for setting this up or problems you might encounter with the bootable volume.

Note that the Intel-based Mac must be connected to your Drobo device via FireWire or USB in order to boot. Mac does not support this function using the iSCSI connection (on DroboPro and DroboElite only) or eSATA (Drobo S only). Also, PPC-based Macs do not support booting with USB drives.

Hello MVD,

I have a similar setup like you.

ad1) no negative sideeffect that I am aware of. I have the same setup for more than 2 years now
ad2) not that I am aware of
ad3) you have to format the Drobo as “GUID” otherwise it is not bootable. You can only do this with Disk Utility. I use Dasboard 1.6.1 because with 1.6.8 my second partition does not show. This is a sideeffect of formating with DU. You can get 1.6.1 from Data Robotics
ad 4) no
ad5) see answer above