Systematic Drive Failure Bay 2


i have a situation following the swap of a 2tb drive for 3tb. my initial array was 2tb-2tb-3tb-3tb-3tb. i swapped the drive in bay 1

to start, the reorganization of data (8.5 tb) took more than a week. and during the last several days it was impossible to connect to drives.

it finally finished, but was still impossible to connect to drives, so i did a re-boot. after boot, drive bay 1 light went red even though new 3tb disk was still present, then all drive bay lights went to flashing green/yellow for two days.

after this reorganization drive bay 2 light indicated disk failure. i took it out and replaced with another 2tb disk.

drobo reorganized data again for another two days. after this reorganization, bay 2 light indicated drive failure a second time.

it seems unlikely to have two disk failures in 48 it possible that there is a hardware explanation ?

i am up to date on firmware and drobo dashboard.

drobo support is giving me grief, so i turn to the forum. thanks in advance for your help !

  • scott

I agree. It’s unlikely that you have 2 drives fail so quickly in the same bay. It’s also unlikely that you have a faulty slot, and unlikely that your Drobo doesn’t like that model of drive. Heck, maybe the drives just weren’t properly latched.
Unfortunately, one of these unlikelies is likely to be true.

Drobo Support should tell you the error which your Drobo reported on these drives. If the errors are different, I suspect different faults (and therefore the drives). If they are the same, perhaps the nature of that error will provide a clue.

8.5TB is a lot of data, but I urgently suggest you make a backup of everything.
Once your data is safe, you could wait until the array rebuilds, shut down your Drobo, and re-arrange the drives so that a different drive is in Bay 2. See if that “known good” drive suddenly fails. Note that you might lose another drive this way.

Did I mention you should have a good backup of everything you value?


thanks rdo.

and what’s weirder, is that both of the 2tb drives that now show as failed have been running just fine for the year prior - one of the drives in the exact same slot.

i thought of trying a drive in an external closure to see if it worked correctly, though i am not sure how to stress-test it. what do you think, would it prove anything ?

thanks again !

  • scott

Ugh. Drives have a relatively high failure rate at the beginning of use (because of defects or whatever), and of course they do fail eventually, but it’s highly unlikely to have a second drive die from independent causes within a 48-hour window.

Maybe you do have a bad slot. If you’re still under DroboCare (or under warranty – I bought mine with a credit card that extended warranty by a year), I would press Tech Support for resolution or replacement (or call your credit card issuer).

Unfortunately, external testing often doesn’t correlate with Drobo failures. That is, external testing might find no problem, but RAID conditions might expose something like failure to respond in time.
Last May, I had a string of drive failures in my DroboPro. Only one drive had what I thought were unhealthy SMART metrics.
After the second replacement RE2 drive failed immediately, I demanded answers from both Drobo and WD about why so many brand-new RMA drives weren’t working. (The DroboPro died in its sleep not long afterwards, so I’ll never know whether the new drives solved my problem, or the new Drobo.)

Rdo’s right - it’s highly unlikely that it’s the drive(s). I would look to it being a problem with the Drobo chassis itself. Perhaps the backplane connector has become fiddly.

Order of business #1 is definitely to make or verify a recent backup.
After that, submit diagnostic log to Drobo, record the ticket number, phone Drobo support and reference ticket number.

i think so too,

unfortunately, my drobo is 6 weeks out of warranty. :frowning:

any good ideas on how to back up 8.5 tb of data. other than buying another drobo. :wink:

  • scott

I would:

  1. Buy a few large hard drives and an external SATA dock. I’ve been happy with my BlacX, though I wish I’d gotten something faster than USB2. Use something like xcopy (Windows) or rsync (Windows, Mac, or Linux) to copy-and-verify groups of folders from the Drobo to these hard drives. You’ll end up with a stack of drives with Avery labels or Post-its that identify what’s on them.

  2. As bhiga said, ask Tech Support to tell you what the diagnostic log indicates.

3a) Call Drobo and grovel to see if you can hastily buy DroboCare for this. Explain that you intended to buy it and just forgot, and maybe ask if you can buy for more than 1 year now that you’ve learned your lesson. Alternatively, buy a replacement DroboFS (maybe used.)

3b) Accept that you might have a 4-bay DroboFS, and decide whether to tinker with it. Consider that whatever caused one slot to fail might affect other slots as well.

Let us know what happens, and good luck!

+1 rdo’s comments again, especially 3a

All the Drobo folks I’ve spoken to on the phone have been very reasonable and understanding. Definitely does not hurt to ask if you have buy DroboCare, and definitely a good safety net to have.