What I want? DroboPro with eSATA

8 bays with fast eSATA connectivity.

That would be nice indeed. :slight_smile:
I quite like that my DroboPro offers dual redundancy plus 6 bays for data, which is rather better than 3 bays for data.

Unfortunately, drive manufacturers (and now Drobo Inc) are pushing us to buy enterprise-class drives for anything larger than 5 bays. This increases the costs after purchase so much that it might change the value of the DroboPro itself.

Incidentally, how fiddly is eSATA? I’ve heard different experiences with eSATA, but my own experience is that iSCSI is very reliable.

My DroboPro DroboCare expires in about two years so I need this as well - through probably Thunderbolt as opposed to eSATA.

Also, one of my 2TB WD Green drives had a timeout last night so I’m wrestling with whether to get 3TB WD Reds or 3TB WD RE4’s. I know the Reds aren’t technically supported by WD in this environment, but I can’t afford the Enterprise class ones, not to mention the increased heat and power costs.

My experience with Drobo eSata, on my 1st Gen Drobo S, is generally good, with some caveats…

  1. I used one of the few available eSata cards listed on Drobo’s HCL KB article. I used a Rosewill RC-219. Based on what I’
    ve read here, that is almost mandatory, in the sense that if you do have any problems that is the first thing tech support will “demand”. I recall seeing a lot of problems here with various unapproved eSata adapters, and likely very few motherboards support the port multiplier multi-LUN features that the Drobo needs.

I run 3x2TB partitions on the Drobo so I really need all the HBA features.

  1. I have never had problems with dropped mounts, which would be my biggest concern, short of it not mounting at all.

  2. I DO occasionally have problems with the Drobo not being recognized by Win7 Pro on bootup. The solultion (according to Drobo tech support) is to unplug and replug the eSata cable, and that always works, the first, as I recall. More often than not it will boot up properly but since it happened to me very recently it is not apparently resolved yet, within Windows or Drobo.

I think USB3 might be a better solution but USB3 has as many or more driver compatibility issues as eSATA. Both suck :). But at least USB3 connectors are more solid than eSata, which I think is really poorly designed. Whenever I think about that I want to go back to an abacus!

I have another multi-disk enclosure (Sans Digital TR4UTBPN). That box has its own HBA HCL list, and they do not intersect with Drobo’s. The Sans Digital uses only RocketRaid 622 or equivalent. Drobo expressly advises not to use that card.

I don’t mind spending $50 or so for a compatible HBA but I am running out of slots on my motherboard! This is the main reason I would prefer USB3, but my Drobo does not support it.

Yes, very few of the motherboard-native controllers support port multiplier
See the PMP column at https://ata.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/SATA_hardware_features

Agree on the fiddly-ness of the eSATA connector… too thin, too easy to jam in upside-down. I think the only connector I have less faith in is the 4-pin Firewire (the pin contacts have a tendency to get caught and rip out). USB keying is much more robust, even if I have a tendency to accidentally stick them into 8P8C jacks (aka RJ-45), hehe.

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