Drobo 5N2, more Drobo NAS goodness

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/05/11/drobo-5n2-more-drobo-nas-good.html

Very nice, but Drobo has a disastrous history of desupporting their older units very shortly after introducing newer ones, unlike just about all other NAS vendors.

I have had much better success with my Synology DS1515+ than I ever had with my Drobo FS.

Do yourself a favor and look at the Synology products before you purchase a Drobo.


I used to have a NAS until one day its power supply went poof (with a puff of smoke). Now I use cloud backup, which is not 100% reliable but its reliability is not contingent on a single capacitor or transistor not failing.

Problem for me with cloud anything is that I live in a place with rural internet conditions.


I’ve been pleased with my D-Link DNS-320. It’s quite old by now–Had it since sometime in 2013? IIRC anyways.

Linux based, and they offer (unofficial) support for tinkering via “FunPlug”. Some DLNA software I bought a lifetime license for a while back even made a NAS device version, which is vastly less stupid than the onboard DLNA server (Twonky, if you’re curious). Only necessary because consumer devices insist on the insanity that is DLNA/uPNP instead of just mapping a file share and letting you pick a file off it.

Haven’t had many issues, other than it not always restarting after a long power outage (have to manually restart it). Other than that, it silently hums along in my closet.

I guess I’m one of those “stuff a bunch of disks into a Linux box” sorts of guys. I just run an HP Microserver N54L with a pile of disks. It’s old, but (knock on wood) everything’s copacetic despite a couple disk failures over the years.

I honestly wish we could just buy ethernet-connected disks that operated like Ceph, but more consumer-level. Want more storage or redundancy? Buy another couple disks, plug them in and let it rebalance, or pull an old one and put in a larger disk. I guess one day this will become a consumer item. …I hope.


Yeah, have a 4-bay Synology, forget which one. It’s been basically fire and forget, although it’s getting to about the point where I should replace the drives since they’re nearing MTBF. Debating what to do about that.


Why not both? I had a series of events and had to recover from the cloud last year. Previously when I’ve done it, downloading everything took a couple weeks. So I shelled out money to have a usb drive overnighted to me–well, it took 7 days to load up the hard drive (there was a restore failure in the middle). Maybe it took longer because it was encrypted?

Now I have a Synology for local backups and a cloud backup in case of theft or fire. Before doing “risky” things I’ll clone my drive so I have a bootable backup.

Cloud isn’t going to cut it for me with about 6TB of local storage in use (plus 3TB Time Capsule).

I’ve pondered a Drobo for a while but the total cost of the unit and enough disks has held me back so far.

FreeNAS works amazingly well. You can spend what you want on the hardware, go really cheap, or go total enterprise. But even a small ATOM server with 4-5 disks is pretty reasonable.

I’ve looked at “roll your own” and the various manufacturers on the market here in Japan. The answer I keep coming back to is Drobo. I just cant make the cost equation work yet.

Anybody here used a QNAP box? They look decent on paper, and have mostly positive reviews on Amazon, but I’ve been hesitant to pull the trigger, because I just don’t know much about them.

Second synology, and I love that I can use it as a DHCP server after connecting it to VPN.

Same here. HP Microserver running ZFS on linux and a Plex server.

Me too, using the hacked Pogo Plugs:


I see it’s now gone up to the outgrageous price of $10! Used to be $8. Interesting backstory: I gather it used to be sold with a paid service that would let you access your media remotely. The service failed though, and people figured out how to load Arch Linux onto the thing. Works spectacularly well as a NAS using the instructions here:

The Linux goes on an SD card, then you simply connect a USB harddrive. I haven’t needed to get fancy with RAID or multiple disks, which I gather it does support using USB switches, but I have a feeling not as well as a Drobo. But hey, for $8 (I mean $10! Ugh!), who can complain.

That said, the company recently made it harder to hack these for some reason by making it harder to enable SSH, which is the first step to load Arch Linux. Oh well, but it’s still possible using serial console:


The one QNAP I’ve dealt with seems to do a solid job. Have had a terrible time with Synology and Macs… connection dropping, permissions issues. This is using Synology’s SMB stack… we can’t use AFP for reasons.

Seems many Japanese users have as well which is why I’ve steered clear of Synology.

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