Drobo

Western Digital WD10EARS

Does the Western Digital WD10EARS work properly?

It has 4096 byte physical blocks. If your filesystem also uses 4k blocks, but expects a 512-byte physical blocksize (which the drive can emulate), and then uses offsets which are not multiples of 8, then each 4096-byte read/write will reference two physical blocks. This causes appalling performance problems.

There are a couple of approaches which fix this if you put the drive in your PC, but if you put it in your Drobo, it is less clear if there is anything that you could do.

so your question is basically “do 4k drives work in drobo?”

it depends - if you check the most recent firmwares for the devices - they are adding support for the 4k drives

if your newest firmware doenst say “ads support for 4k” then dont use them, if it does then it will work fine.

That’s a blow. DRI say that the latest, 1.3.6 adds support, whilst “Check for Updates” in Drobo Dashboard says that my 1.3.5 is the latest. I’ll await events.

It’s often been like that. Turns out that’s some DRI’s policy to make some of the firmware versions “auto-updateable” and some of them as “manual updates” and then promoting them (or not?) to autoupdates afer some time. Just use the “CTRL-“search for update” button” method. I’ve done some 3 firmware upgrades on my Drobo so far and never had the patience for waiting for them to appear as an auto-updates.

Yeah, it’s sort-of like how some MS hotfixes are optional, some are critical, and some you just have to find on your own.

i think they probably base on on a variety of criteria - i.e. something which fixes a bug will probably get pushed out, whereas just adding anew feature isnt a critical upgrade for most people so may not be pushed out at first / at all

I got a Drobo V2 + DroboShare and use 3 WD 1,5TB EARS in it, working fine!
As I sent a diagnostic file to the support concerning some strange boot behavior, they said that there have been some issues according to the spin-up time, but nothing to worry about.

I just took the HDDs out of the package, didnt change any jumpers and its just working fine!

Kind regards, Kai

its not a question of “working” - i think from memory - Jennifer said that they do “work” but they lead to data corruption - so i would make sure you are running a compatible firmware ASAP

She wrote “These drives DO NOT work in a Drobo.”

However, I bought my drobo end of January and updated it before I inserted the first two drives. My Drobo and DroboSpace are up to date concerning the firmware so I am not too frightened…

“Not working” has many configurations. Most times it means “Not working as intended” so it doesn’t necessarily mean a failure to power up or strict halt of operation. RAM that “does not work” can appear to run fine, but randomly corrupt the system, but maybe not to the point of a reboot or hard crash. I’d still consider that as “not working.”

As long as you are running a firmware that officially supports 4k drives, then you should be okay, because you’re running in a supported configuration.

If you’re not running in a supported configuration, then you’re gambling with the safety of your data, and that seems contradictory since you got a Drobo which helps you protect your data. It’d be like putting your child in a car seat, but not securing the car seat to the vehicle. :wink:

Nice comparison :wink:

Firstly - always go by what Data Robotics say as best practice.

Having said that the new 4k Advanced Format Drives appear to any computer or storage device as a typical hard drive. Even though things are stored in 4K sectors internally, the disk still presents itself as a series of 512byte sectors - like any typical hard disk.

The problem with these drives is when the operating system formats the disk into clusters (say 4K for NTFS) and these do not properly align with the 4K size sectors used on the physical disk. The result is that whenever you write anything out to a 4K cluster on your filesystem it is spread across two 4K sectors on the physical disk.

So every one write at the OS level generates two writes at the disk level (actually since the sectors need to be read into cache to be partially updated it also results in a couple of disk reads). The disks work - they just perform really poorly.
The only danger you may get with Drobo is the disks being too slow and possibly being kicked out as bad - i’m not sure on how likely that is.

In regards to the jumper on the Hard Disk - this is a specific fix for Windows XP and earlier Operating Systems. Under Windows XP NTFS is misaligned by one 512k sector. The jumper offsets everything by 1 so that when the OS asks for sector 63 it actually gets 64 on the physical disk - so it aligns properly.
Unless Drobo happened to misalign its partitions in exactly the same way the jumper won’t make any difference.

O.K I am a bit confused by all this 4K talk and a bit worried

I am new and just bought a Drobo in the last day or so and bought 2 x WD15EARS to go with it.

I installed the drives and setup while on firmware 1.3.5 and have proceeded to load data. Everything seems to be running fine. But since reading the forums I have upgraded the firmware to 1.3.6.

Should I have upgraded the firmware BEFORE I installed the drives and data? Or am I fine that it is now installed after the fact?

I think you should have upgraded before. The drawback for you now is that the speed of writing is a lot slower. When the Drobo write a 512B sector the HD read a 4k block, modify 512B and write back 4k.

You should back up all your data and delete all partitions from the Drobo. Then copy everything back.

This is how I think it is. Please feel free to correct me.

yeah, i woudl tend to agree, you may need to reset your drobo.

however if you were to pull one drive… then format it on a desktop computer (so drobo wont re-accept it as part of the same pack) when you put it back onto drobo it will rebuild onto the drive in the correct manner. you would then need to repeat this for the next drive.

you would be “at risk” during this operation, but it would save you having to copy everything off and then onto drobo.

As others have said, you need to apply the firmware before inserting the disks. This is because the old firmware formats the disks in a way that is not optimal for the 4k sectors.

You can either

  1. Backup all your data and Reset/Erase your Drobo then load all your files back on
    or
  2. Pop out one of the 4k sector disks. Connect it to a PC and erase the start of the disks / reformat it so the Drobo info is gone. Then reinsert the disk. The new firmware should then format it properly. Once the Drobo has rebuilt, repeat for any other disks. This could be a far slower processes if you have several disks and lots of data - the rebuilds by the Drobo can take quite a long time.

Thanks for the replies guys.

I have copies of all I put on the Drobo anyway so its a snap to start over.


[color=#0000CD]The QUESTION IS[/color]: What is the right proceedure?

Is it not as simple as doing a reformat from the Drobo Dashboard?

or does it need to be done in a more convoluted way? ([color=#FF69B4]Jennifer[/color]??) please chime in or anyone else


I am running an iMac and have no way to reformat a hard drive outside of the Drobo.
[color=#777777]
Thankyou for your assistance. It is my intention to learn best practice. And not to slag off at Data Robotics as someone not understanding the nature of backups and the intention of this device. Cheers
[/color]

As far as I know all you need to do is go into the Drobo Dashboard then under
Advanced Controls --> Tools --> Reset
This should completely erase everything.
I would be good if Jennifer could confirm this reformat the disks properly as per the new firmware.

As an alternative you can always pop out the disks, connect them to a PC, and erase them (or at least the start of the disk) with a utility. This will definitely blow away any Drobo formatting :slight_smile:

Thanks Ajspencer, you got you first post in while I was writing mine.

I did a factory Reset on the Drobo dashboard and have re-formatted (firmware 1.3.6. installed)

Is that sufficient to resolve the 4K issue? Please?

P.S. (I did the reset above while the drives where still in the Drobo. I did not remove them at all.)

I would appreciate if [color=#FF69B4]Jennifer[/color] or Co. could chime in please. Cheers

From what I have done. Files seem to be transfering faster than before (around 70% faster).

I am getting about a rate of 70GB per hour over firewire 800.

Does this sound reasonable or should it be faster? Is my 4K issue resovled?