Relocate drives to a new enclosure?

Quick question, I have been considering upgrading from a V2 Drobo to a Drobo S to gain an extra bay for capacity.

If I do so, can I just migrate my existing 4 drives into the new enclosure without it reformatting them?

The contents are all backed up elsewhere, but I’d rather not loose them.

Just an idea right now, I might just replace the 4 1TB’s in my Drobo with some fresh 2TB WD20EARS’s and call it a day.

Thanks in advance.

Yes you can. Move all four at once, then power on the Drobo S.


Thanks for the link, I searched around for this but came up empty.

Similar question: I have 2 drobos. I swapped one disk out for a new one in the first drobo and want to reuse that disk (from the first) in the second drobo.

I knew that 2nd drobo would recognize it being a disk from a different drobo set so I repartitioned it and formatted it (not a full wipe). Well, it still recognized it. Right now I’m doing a full format (wiping the entire drive - looks like about 11hrs left). Is this going to work or is there some secret partition that drobo is using that’ll stop it?

I wish there were some drobo utility that would just remove all drobo data from a drive so you could use it fresh (so in a min it would just do a drobo-wipe and then you could put it into a new drobo).

on your second drobo, there are two possiblities:

  1. thats the only disk in your drobo - in which case you simply use the reset hole on the back of the drobo while the disk is in - and it totally wipes the disk for you

  2. there are existing disks in your second drobo, in which case just add this disk and drobo will wipe it and add it to the disk pack

neither option should take more than 5 minutes

There are already disks in the second drobo. I pulled out a drive I’m trying to replace and put in the new drive from the 1st drobo and it acted as if there were two separate disk packs (which is sort of true, when you think about it) in the single drobo.

I didn’t see an option anywhere to just wipe the new drive (from the first drobo) and allow it to be rebuilt as part of the larger array (the 3 other drives in the second drobo). It just stopped with: “I don’t know what to do”-basically.

Now, one is a backup of the other so I could just put the new (from the 1st drobo) drive into the 2nd drobo and reset it, format it, etc. and then copy everything back over, but I’d really like to just toss the drive in and have it do it’s own thing.

Swap in the new drive while the Drobo is running, NOT while it is powered off. That latter method can lead to all kinds of bad.

Nope. Putting the drive into the 2nd drobo (while on) just gets me the drive being recognized and a note of: REPLACE HARD DRIVE

I even pulled it back out, made sure it recognized there was no drive there, and popped it back in. No luck.

– EDIT –

Nevermind. I was about to pop it back out and it identified the drive and started working it back into the pack. Thanks!

When I normally add a new drive I power everything down, pop out the old drive, and add a new one. The reasons are that it makes me nervous to bounce around a spinning drive. It also always seemed like the ‘cleaner’ way of doing it meaning I figure the drobo is just saying: “Hey! New drive! I’ll sort it.” Instead of: “OMG! I lost a drive! I’ll do what I can to… Oh, what??? Another Drive?!? OK… I’ll go start on that…”

I could be wrong - it’s really just a guess. It may not make any difference in the world.


IME, the Drobo is built to perform the latter procedure. It likes it like that.

On power-up, the Drobo (like most RAID controllers) reads its config from the installed drives. You really truly don’t want to give it multiple conflicting configs to choose from.

I haven’t heard of Drobos arbitrarily picking the “wrong” (ie. not the one the human had in mind) disk config – I guess they just halt – but I’ve seen and done that several times with HP, Dell, and Sun arrays. That’s 30 seconds of surprise followed by 5 minutes of dawning terror followed by several days of restoring from backup and waxing your boss’s car during lunch.
As yoyoma observed, these products are designed to remain up while drives are replaced, so it’s best to stay within that design.

There have been several cases reported here where the Drobo came up with 4 red lights (too many drives removed) after upgrading a drive with the power off. I believe the last case reported here ended with an array loss, despite a two week heroic battle to save it :-(. In all cases the new upgrade drive was previously part of a Drobo pack although it may have been reformatted in the interim.

We speculated that the Drobo happened to pick the new drive as the “pack reference” and then determined that the other 3 drives were from some other Drobo pack and not valid.

I agree that pulling a spinning drive is not a good idea. I don’t think drives were mechanically designed to be hot swapped like that and I don’t do that with my eSata docks, for example (actually they supposedly don’t like that but I wouldn’t anyway).

If you are concerned with this, then a better procedure would be to power the Drobo down, pull the drive, then power it up with a drive missing. Then when it is fully booted up, install the new drive. Now the Drobo is up and running, it knows the drive is a replacement and should deal with it properly even if it’s been in a Drobo in some distant past lifetime.

An alternative solution is to dress up in cammie, sneak up on it, and pull the drive when the Drobo is sleeping and the drives spun down :-).

Qualifier: I don’t design disk or work specifically with disk in any capacity.

In a hotswap, you can press the blue eject and the disk is disconnected from power but is still not moved off-plane. Wait a few seconds and then pull the disk all the way out out of the drobo. I also press the blue eject and pull the disk all the way out and gently move it to a flat surface, like the table. I don’t see any harm in it. But, I had a standup external HD that stood up, placed on a shelf next to my desk. Don’t remember what knocked it over but I hear the sound similar to silverware clattering on the floor. I never could get that disk to work again. When I opened it up after multiple failures to get it working again, I found the three platters sheared off the main spindle. I worry about this happening again somehow, but I don’t think that the hotswap process will necessarily damage the disk unless you are brutal with it.

“press the blue eject and the disk is disconnected from power but is still not moved off-plane”

I was not aware of that. I’ll have to try it sometime when I have a spare drive or two to test it. Nor do I think it is documented by DRI. It is my understanding, though, that it takes more than “a couple of seconds” for the platters to fully spin down. My rule of thumb is 30s but I know that is overly conservative (by intent) but I never wanted to find the edge of that envelope.

Hot-pluggable drives have been common in business class hardware for more than a decade.
All the mechanisms I’ve seen eject the drive edge-out just like the Drobo does. As yoyoma noted, this doesn’t torque the spinning platters.
In my experience, it’s pretty easy to feel when a drive is still spinning and when it’s stopped. (This hasn’t stopped me from playing like a child with spinning 15k RPM drives, but we won’t go there. They worked fine afterwards.)

Hot plugging is the recommended and supported way to replace drives in a Drobo and other similar products. It can be fun to discuss theory, but don’t actually sweat it too much. :slight_smile:

I assumed hot-swapping was recommended, I shouldn’t have to shutdown the system when doing backups of large files or lose availability of the data pack to users during a disk failure or a disk upgrade.
We all understand that performance s-l-o-w-s down when such a thing happens, but we still have access and it stills works during that time period.

i think a better way of looking at it is in terms of the drives actual specifications…

for WD20EARS:

Environmental Specifications
Operating Shock (Read) 65G, 2 ms
Non-operating Shock 250G, 2 ms

so it can withstand a short shock of 65G

thats actually an immense smack! i know obviously most things to do with humans moving drives during operation are going to last more than 2ms and be less than 65G, but even so - the drives are quite happy to withstand surprisingly large movements while operating - frankly you could probably even swing it round your head while its writing without a problem