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

Yes! I decided to go with Synology as well after reading many reviews and so far loving the flexible and capacious DS1813+.

Bet Drobo can’t run Minecraft on it :stuck_out_tongue:

LOTS of porn, obviously. Or a few Word documents. :slight_smile:

For normal family, high-resolution photos and home videos take a ton of space, as well as synchronized backup (okay, Time Machine) of multiple computers at home.

If you are a geek and do “data science” or some coding as a hobby, raw data and virtualized environment can quickly take precious space as well.

And while 18 TB may sound like a lot of space, any decent RAID config will eat up to 50% of it, so it’s not that big.

Why do we ask people why they ask people how much storage they need, when we tell people that asking people how much storage they need is wrong?

I’ve owned two different series of Drobo and found performance to be unacceptable. OP reports 120MBytes/s (which is 960Mbits/s) which is about 3x the theoretical maximum of the claimed 802.11n link used (300Mb/s max). I can only conclude that OP is either making numbers up or is confused about the measurements, but there is no way a Drobo is going to saturate a gigabyte link. If OP is reading comments, please post up some factual perf numbers from a reputable benchmark tool.

Thank you for the correction. Mb/s not MB/s. Corrected in the post. Also in the post I acknowledge that you may be unhappy with your Drobo experience. Mine has been positive but my heart goes out to you. Problems with a storage device are always really, insanely, absurdly frustrating.

Oh lawd, but why do people ask why people ask why people ask why other people need the amount of storage they need?

Depends on the porn.

I’d keep an eye on that. I suspect it might be a Decepticon.

Trying to get an in on the good porn and WareZ.

Knowing a few guys with north of 20 TB on site, not for work, is like knowing a few guys who are into esoteric synthetic club drugs.

I know folks who have much larger storage farms, usually for digital media production (video or audio). But working on a large software project, I can certainly see possible applications for continuous journalling of file changes in addition to archiving/managing previous versions and all the incremental patches.

Software expands to consume the resources available. With more storage and faster processors, we both do things we wouldn’t do with smaller systems and do things in ways that we wouldn’t with smaller systems. Storage can be traded off against computation to some degree; both can also be traded off against developer effort to some degree. (Software’s gotten cheaper/fancier partly because it has not had to be so careful about its resource demands.)

I don’t need a huge amount more live storage than what’s already crammed into the machines, right now. I do want about one order of magnitude more offline storage than online for backup, but not three. Yet.

I went the “cheap” route and built an Ubuntu headless server with native-ZFS. Advantages of the setup:

  • ZFS is brilliant
  • Adding more storage is as simple as the Drobo, just swap out a bigger drive and it will auto expand
  • If the hardware dies (and it has) I can just import the ZFS pool on to any other computer
  • It’s probably not actually cheaper but since I don’t have a home computer (I just use a laptop) it works well because it can run Plex and all my other server software.
  • I threw torrent sync on it for easy backup/sync.
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I always get a kick out of the standard RAID comments. Just so we are clear, every RAID is proprietary. You can’t just take a drive out of a RAID, pop it in a PC and read the data. Just doesn’t work that way fellas. But don’t take my word for it. Give it a shot with one of your Synology drives and let me know how that goes.

The reason Drobo designed BeyondRAID is there is no way to offer the features we do with standard RAID. Period.

Pop a drive in a Drobo, and the capacity is immediately available. Sure - you can add a drive to Synology and other RAIDs. Just make sure you don’t need the extra capacity for a few days or weeks as it rebuilds.

Pop a drive out of a Drobo and the unit will immediately start protecting data. You don’t need to do a thing. Oh, and it’s smart enough to just move data around vs. rebuild all the blocks. Other RAIDs will only let you know a drive has failed, but it is up to you to tell it what to do. And when it starts rebuilding, it will be days or weeks whether you have 1GB of data or 10TBs.

The reality is that Drobo was designed for people that value their time and just want their tech to work as evidenced by the article.

Jim @ Drobo

you apparently don’t make motion graphics for a living.

Hmm, I had a Drobo go bad and I found the customer support excellent. It took several days trying various things (just transferring almost 5TB of data over USB2 takes a lot of time) but they stayed with me until we were both convinced that the issue was resolved. All told, there was one file that somehow got munged up.

My impression was that they are very serious about protecting data.

My Drobo Mini (through Thunderbolt) gets 200 MB/second write speed and read speeds between 200 and 500 MB/second (using SpeedTool’s QuickBench) for 1 MB sized files and above. As I recall it was pretty near that fast before I added the SSD drive. That’s the one I use for active video projects I’m editing.

I also have a Drobo-FS for some archiving and backup connected through gigabit Ethernet, typically get about 20 MB/sec, good enough for photo editing and such.

I’ve heard many glowing comments here and there about Synology, which is great, but I’m a happy Drobo customer…

I think you’re abusing the work “proprietary”. While it’s true that you can’t just pop the drives into a totally different RAID subsystem. Many people have had issues getting data off of failed Drobo systems that would have been much easier with Linux MD RAID, where you can generally put the drives into another system and boot a live Linux DVD to access the data.

While I don’t personally own a Drobo, I did some research for work a while a go and the general consensus is that Drobo is very slow if you have more than one user accessing the data concurrently, especially considering how expensive they are. OK for casual home use but not sufficient for an office environment or demanding home use situations. The reviews I looked at said there were better offerings for the money, especially FreeNAS. Yes it takes more configuration, but it also gives the best bang for the buck.

I think the main downfall of the various NAS solutions is that none of them that I’ve seen provided a good back solution. If users are putting the only copy of their data on a RAID’ed NAS thinking they are going to be safe because of RAID, they are going to be sorrily disappointed when something fails (other than a single drive) or they accidentally delete something and have no true backup. It’s like you’re supposed to buy two of the things in case one fails or you delete something.
TL;DR RAID alone is not a backup solution. You need more than one copy of your data.

“Other RAIDs will only let you know a drive has failed, but it is up to you to tell it what to do.”
You’ve never heard for hot spares?

I’m mostly taking the time to reply to you because your post looks like advertising copy for Drobo.


I have a couple of Drobos that I’m very happy with. One 5D that I’m mirroring to an FS. Both have been basically trouble free.

One thing to bear in mind about RAID is that it isn’t a replacement for a proper backup. RAID won’t protect you if the array dies, becomes corrupt, or if you accidentally delete a file. Backup anything really important to another drive.

“Backup early, backup often.” What I really want is something close to a full journalling backup, which would be one legitimate use for Too Much Disk Space…