Drobo

Salvaging data from bricked 5n. Help!

My 5N died today. It has power, the green power light comes on, but no other lights. The fan runs, loudly and constantly, but that’s it. It appears to be bricked. Yes, I tried unseating and reseating the drives. I tried unplugging it for 10 minutes (actually, an hour) then plugging it back in. No dice.

I have tons of vital data on this thing and was simply going to buy a new Drobo when I realized that Drobo is either out of business or unable to get stock.

So. How on earth do I get my data? It’s not standard RAID format so I can’t just plug the drives into my PC. I do have two older 4 bay model Drobos, but it’s supposedly not backwards compatible. If I put 4 of my 5 drives in the older model, will I be able to get any of my files back? Even if Drobo is not dead, I need access to the files now. Any assistance greatly appreciated.

I did find one site that explained a method but it involved installing all of the Drobo drives into your PC and I do not have the bays for that. I have 2 internal bays and one external hot swap SATA bay.

Seriously desperate here. Any assistance greatly appreciated.

I have not heard about DROBO going out of business? I did have a DROBO 5D3 die, I replace it and by putting the drives in the same coresponding bays it read it fine. It is important not to mix top drives, & you probably will have to buy a new DROBO. I would talk to one of the DROBO guys to be sure what you should do.

Thanks Len. I’ve been calling around and every store/dealer I talk to says they haven’t been able to get DROBOs since early 2020 and most stores have delisted them. There is an indefinite wait on all backorders and Drobo’s own online store apparently hasn’t had stock in many months. If they are still in business, that’s great, but it’s clearly going to be quite a while before I can get a new one and they don’t provide much info on how to get your data if you can’t get a Drobo unit to read the drives. I’m seeking any way to salvage my data in the meantime. It’s good to know that if I can get one I can move my drives and get running again.

First thing to try is a replacement PSU, they quite often go bad & still show a green light, as long as the replacement meets the right voltage output & meets or exceeds the wattage requirement & has the right barrel plug it’s worth a shot. They’re not expensive and a generic one will do if you can’t find a genuine one.

Failing that in the current situation your fastest approach is to find a working used unit, they show up on ebay & other sites quite often.

An older Drobo will NOT read drive packs from a newer one, also the packs are incompatible between network & direct attached units. Starting with a pack from a 5N basically your only options are another 5N with the same or newer firmware, or a 5N2 with up-to-date firmware.

Failing being able to get one your options are sending the pack to a data recovery company who can handle Drobos, which will be expensive, or using data recovery software which can yourself.

Off the top of my head the only two I know of are UFS Explorer, or RecliMe Pro, neither is free, & both require plugging all the drives into a computer at once, or a computer with enough storage to hold images of ALL the drives from the Drobo at once & mount them, PLUS enough storage (direct attached or a NAS) to store the recovered data. The only basic difference between a Drobo pack & standard RAID in this situation is that standard RAID would give you a wider variety of recovery software to pick from, you’d still need to plug all the drives in to a computer, & you’d still need enough space to store the recovered data.

Sorry, there’s no magic wand here & this highlights the pitfalls of not having a current backup, with a backup you could simply restore it to any make/model of NAS with enough space. When people ask me about buying a NAS unit, my pick for brand may vary, but the part when i say “Get TWO & have one replicate to the other, or get a tape drive as well & back your NAS up REGULARLY.” never does, exactly because of the chance of situations like this.

Depending on where you are located, I have a 5N that I’m no longer using. I upgraded to a 5N2 a couple years ago. I’m located in Arizona.

I appreciate the help! Alas, a new power supply yielded the exact same situation. I was hopeful though …

Clearly I should have had yet another layer of backup and will do so going forward. I admit I had not prepared for being unable to get a new Drobo when I needed one. The kicker is I have an external drive of sufficient size: I just hadn’t gotten around to setting up a scheduler. Whoops.

I’m in Calgary, Canada. Happy to discuss purchasing your old unit. I’m sending you a PM with some more info