Adventures in Drobo-land, upgrading to a Drobo 5N


1 Like


I have a National Style 1:

1 Like

Upgrading the Drobo series-one took me almost 2 weeks.

i recently upgraded my NAS from the original 250MB drives to shiny, new 1TB drives. rather than do the swap/rebuild/reboot dance for each drive, i went for a much simpler solution: i copied the contents of the NAS to a 1TB USB drive, replaced all the old drives, let the NAS reboot/reconfig/whatever itself, then copied everything back. it took a couple of hours. and, i didn’t have to live in fear of the NAS killing itself while trying to rework its file system with each new drive.



cool and all, but I can’t figure out how in the world you could actually use 18TB of local storage. Do you just rip every Netflix DVD that you get just case you feel like watching a second time?

Pretty much. I’m ripping all my blu-rays onto my 50TB fileserver


A little hi-def video editing will eat up terabytes like candy…

1 Like

There proprietary system is something to consider. I have a few of the first USB models. When one went belly up after doing an update, they were originally unwilling to do anything except sell me a newer model. To their credit, I did howl enough that they finally sent me a replacement. But when you buying a Drobo for archive and your out-of-warranty hardware dies, your stuff will be perfectly safe on inaccessible harddrives.

Got excited by the idea of a built-in Plex server, but looks like a Drobo 5N costs almost $600 in Canada, drives not included. Yowza.

Somehow, this topic always reminds me of Ziggy Stardust…
“He was the NAS
With God-given ass
Came on so loaded, man
Well-hung and snow-white tan…”

(and yes, I do know it’s a Lord Buckley reference, not a prescient technological reference.)


I’m a big fan of Synology NAS boxes for three reasons:

  1. Open RAID, unlike Drobo and Netgear ReadyNAS. Under the hood it is all just Linux md and lvm. If the NAS dies, I can mount the drives on a PC and recover the data.

  2. Open OS. Again, Linux. I have root, and I can make it do whatever I want. One of my 1TB drives died and I replaced it with a 2TB drive. The RAID re-mirrored to the new drive as expected, but what to do with the extra 1TB of space? Some quick magic in the shell, and I have a second non-mirrored 1TB volume for Time Machine. Best of all, the GUI picked up the changes and lets me manage the second volume, even though my model doesn’t officially support this configuration. Synology’s DSM software and add-on packages ain’t too shabby either.

  3. Overall great numbers. Even tho my DS212j is rather low-end, I still don’t think I can home-build for the same price and get anywhere near the same performance in a small, power-saving box.


I have a question for you. Why do people ask why other people need the amount of storage they need? :wink:

1 Like

The DS212j is a lovely piece of technology.

I LOVED my DROBO, until the thing started failing. After about 2 years I started getting the dreaded red light. After swapping out the drive, it rebuilt the raid to ANOTHER red light. After doing the same thing I panicked when I started getting 2 and 3 red lights and the raid went down. After over 3 weeks with customer service they basically shrugged their shoulders giving me the “Good luck with all that” and wouldn’t help me any further. I took it to a data recovery service and because of the propitiatory software were not able to recover any of my files. I’ve since heard MANY people have the same nightmare. I ditched the DROBO and went with an UnRAID and have never looked back. The main advantages of UnRAID is the basic version of the software is FREE and the hardware is MUCH cheaper (I built a 12-bay box with motherboard and 3 starter drives for the same amount as a DROBO unit alone! #2 it keeps complete files on each drive with backup. If I loose 1 drive, I’m fine, but if I loose TWO drives, I’d normally be screwed, however I can take any of the remaining drives and recover what data I can from the working drives since the files are complete and not spanned across multiple drives. Can I edit HD in real time? No. however I have this thing hooked up to my home media server and it works GREAT!


I just replaced a 2008 Apple 1TB Time Capsule —which just abruptly died without warning, taking down network storage, backups and wifi in one fell swoop— with a Synology DS213j and a separate wifi router. The Synology NAS is great. It’s easy to use; set up as a replacement Time Machine backup drive within minutes; becomes a network media server almost as fast and designed to be taken apart and have drives replaced quickly. Getting the old hard drive out of the Time Capsule, putting it in a different enclosure and retrieving the data? Not so easy … :-1:


no clue, but why do people ask why people ask why other people need the amount of storage they need?

perhaps we all need more storage because of recursive questions.


I hear good things about the Synology NASes.

I’ve just recently picked up a Thecus N5550 NAS. I’ve got four crazily-huge HDDs in there; a fifth HDD will be installed soonish, which the N5550 will automatically swap in to the RAIDs if/when one of the other drives fails. I really like their warranty policy: “Just ship it back to us in the same configuration we gave you.” I pulled out the standard 2GB of RAM and bumped it up to 8GB.

In addition to the usual NAS functions, I have it running a mail server, a web server, and soon, a Time Machine server for my Apple-fanboi relatives, and an Open VPN server. I could even set it up as a Onion Router. Jeepers, I just checked, I have twelve third-party apps running, on top of the as-shipped software.

Again: I’m very pleased.

Synology is good. I bought one of those for work. I also have a home built FreeNAS at home. Three times the storage of a Drobo for the same price, with a nonproprietary file system.

I hope you bought it brick and mortar and not online. Because COTTONMOUTH.