Drobo

So is this product reliable?

It looks like it is the perfect product for me.

However, there are a bunch of Amazon reviews that pretty much say that this product is flawed and useless.

http://www.amazon.com/Drobo-5-Bay-FireWire-Storage-DRDR3A21/dp/B002Y40FQY

Can any of you experienced people please tell me if those Amazon reviews are accurate, or products of perhaps a single peeved customer?

As someone who owns a WD ShareSpace fiasco drive, I’m very hesitant to leap into something with bad press.

So… is this a good product?

on the front page of that - 2 out of the 3 are very positive

the only bad one of those three is probably due to using an incompatible esata port/card

THAT part of it (esata) can be a little fussy - but they do recommend cards to use

i’ve had the drobo, drobo v2, and drobopro

so evidently i like their products :slight_smile:

they do exactly as it says on the tin - it protects you against a drive failure (or two)

its isnt the fastest product in its class - but it does have some very unique features (like being able to easily shrink the array - i have yet to find another product which can do that)

there are several other NAS devices which you may wish to consider - but for direct attached storage there are very few (if any) RAID boxes in its class

let me know if you have any specific questions/doubts since its not very easy to just come up with stuff to tell you :wink:

Thanks – some of those negative reviews on the 2nd page do look a little “samesey” to me, as if a single author was targetting the product.

Do you know what the throughput is like with USB 3.0 and the Drobo S? I will likely purchase a USB 3.0 PCI card shortly to upgrade my machine for USB3, and so would probably use a Drobo under that. Fast I hope?

Another question: With 5 * 2TB drives, what is the usable space with 1-drive failsafe? And with 2 drive failsafe?

And the same question, except with 5 * 1TB drives?

Thanks

[quote=“terryf, post:3, topic:2551”]Another question: With 5 * 2TB drives, what is the usable space with 1-drive failsafe? And with 2 drive failsafe?
And the same question, except with 5 * 1TB drives?[/quote]
Use the Drobolator.
Rule of thumb :

  • w/ 1-drive failsafe : Total disks size - 1*biggest disk
  • w/ 2-drives failsafe : Total disks size - 2*biggest disk

Note also that a Drobo filled beyond 60% starts slowing down (possibly by as much as 50% in some cases) and that you can only use 95% of the theoretical capacity (beyond that it slows down abysmally, due to thin provisioning).

basically the protection uses your single largest disk (equivalent capacity)

or your two largest disks… depending on what you pick

and remember that when a manufacturer sells you a 2TB disk - the true capacity is 1.82TB

Don’t have any benchmarks for you, however I have tested with
USB 3.0 and is respectable. I’m currently using it with an esata
connection which is faster and would recommend it as well. Do
check the recommended esata cards as suggested.

So far my experience is that this product is totally unreliable.

Do you care to expand on your views?

http://www.drobospace.com/forums/showthread.php?tid=2461

Just venting, I’m still in the middle of it. At least my data is still intact.

you think esata is faster?

can you post benchmarks?

i i wonder if thats down to immature usb3 drivers (as in for your controller card)

in theory there should be next to no difference, since both interfaces are way way faster than the drobo itself

I agree. After my latest experience I can no longer recommend this for enterprise backup.

All of our company’s data is backed up on our Drobo S. The Drobo was on a power conditioning UPS.

Basically, it went into a reboot loop and wont come out. It no longer shows up on USB at all.

Called Drobo support, its a couple months out of the 1 year warranty. Even though it is very clearly a fault of the Drobo, a $270 Drobocare purchase was our only option.

If this happens again out of the year looks like we’re buying a brand new Drobo.

The Drobo has no flash only bios type support mode like nearly every other modern device. There was no leeway since it was clearly not abused. Just, out of warranty you’re screwed. Here is a bit of a discount on another Drobo but if it happens again you really are screwed.

I know I knew the Warranty terms when buying it but most companies are willing to work with you a bit. I didn’t expect it to fail within a month or two of being out of warranty.

If my car’s wheels fell off right after the warranty I’m pretty sure I’d be suspicious it was a planned obsolescence.

Either way, good luck with your Drobo, I hope you have deep pockets.

My experience after 1 year with the Drobo S is that is certainly hasn’t been reliable for me. I use mine for Time Machine backups - and thankfully my primary data has remained intact for the two occasions where I’ve had to reformat the Drobo and repeat the backup (losing any old versions of files stored by Time Machine).

My Drobo S went into a reboot loop about a month ago - support saw my diagnostics file and immediately said the Drobo needed to be replaced. They sent me a replacement, which was fine for a few weeks. Then about 2 weeks ago the Drobo went into read only mode (which is what the old one had done before the reboot loop), then after restarting it the volumes wouldn’t mound, Disk Utility couldn’t repair it, so I had to reformat and partition and repeat my Time Machine backup. Then yesterday the same happened again.

I admit that it’s possible this might not be Drobo’s fault (entirely) - perhaps the Firewire 800 cable is faulty, or perhaps there is a fault with Firewire on my Mac Pro, or perhaps the Drobo’s power supply is faulty (which they didn’t replace). Before reformatting on this occasion I’ve plugged it into USB 2 just in case. Perhaps if it runs fine for a few months, I’ll then try again with Firewire 800 using a brand new cable. My Mac and Drobo are powered by a UPS, so at least I know it’s not that that’s causing problems.

It took about 2 days to complete a Time Machine backup using Firewire 800 - so I dread to thing how long it’s going to take with USB 2. It’s concerning enough to be without any backup for that period of time - but I cannot imagine the disruption it would cause if the Drobo was being used for the primary data store.

Honestly, I have thought about selling the Drobo and going back to having a bunch of simple external hard drives. Though I admit I’ve never had an external hard drive where the enclosure has lasted more than about 3-4 years. Thankfully Western Digitals 5 year warranty with advance shipping has saved me a few times.

‘Reliability’ is hard to judge from forum posts, the sample size is way too small and the odds are that 90% of the responders are either active promoters of the product or have had a problem and are grinding their axe.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Drobo is not a ‘perfect’ product, and data on the Drobo should not be considered ‘backed up’ if it only lives on that single device.

The Drobo does 2 things well:
Provides a large data pool that is expandable to 16TB (currently) by just swapping in larger drives a needed.
Protects against single (or dual) drive failures, and provides 100% ‘up-time’ if needed when these occur.

The Drobo does not:
Provide single source infallible backup of your data.
Use an ‘open’ RAID format (if your device fails the only thing that can read the disk pack is another Drobo).
Protect against massive hardware failures of the Drobo itself.

Most of the negative posts I see on this board are either due to:
Expectation that this expensive product can/should never fail.
Usually related to item 1, failure to backup the data that is on the Drobo if that data only exists on the Drobo. Redundancy <> backed up so never trust irreplaceable data to a single device.

Remember that data never permanently exists unless it exists in at least 3 places, with 2 of these preferably being on different formats, and one of these existing off-site.

I received another replacement Drobo S today. The firewire ports don’t work on it. I’ve tried both, and it doesn’t mount, nor appear in Drobo Dashboard. It does work using USB 2.0 (I moved the disk pack back to the old Drobo S and it mounted fine using Firewire 800, so I’m certain it’s the unit that’s at fault).

The one it was supposed to replace was working most of the time, but I had 2 incidents of it being read-only etc.

The one that replaced had become read-only and then went into reboot cycles.

I’m wondering whether the replacements are actually refurbished Drobo’s that people have returned - and perhaps they have not been able to identify the faults and sent them out to customers? It seems highly suspicious that replacements are being sent out that don’t work properly.

I have requested a refund - I’ve no idea whether they will agree. The Drobo was supposed to keep my data safe, but I’ve had to reformat it twice in the last month.

Replaced units are definitely refurbished ones. And the quality control on these stinks!!

I bought a Drobo S a couple of months ago. Had problems with it rebooting during heavy data copying using firewire (error still persists in current fw and they supposedly are working with Apple on this). Received a replacement unit from germany, was damaged due to bad packing, another one, was clearly a used one. Then another one this time from the US (had to pay import duties), this one was new.

my drobopro replacement unit was in really great condition[hr]
you dont have to pay import duty if its a replacement unit and you have sent/are sending an old one back - they both kind of cancel out.

Wow, this is bad. Isn’t it bad enough having the device fail, without being sent a faulty one in replacement. Actually, make that TWO faulty ones sent in replacement.

For a device that keeps you’re data safe (with dual drive redundancy) - it should be a very rare event for the device itself to fail. It seems to me that Drobo’s fail FAR more often than the drives themselves.

i’ve lost 4 drives so far this year

[quote=“Docchris, post:16, topic:2551”][hr]
you dont have to pay import duty if its a replacement unit and you have sent/are sending an old one back - they both kind of cancel out.
[/quote]

Perhaps where you live but not here in Portugal!!