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View Full Version : Is the Drobo the way to go?




HE15MAN
Sep 21, 2009, 11:17 AM
I am in the purchasing stage of my Mac Mini HTPC setup, and I need to figure out what I am going to do for storage of the files that I want to share across my network. Would the Drobo be the best and easiest way to have your data backed up anad easily accessible? I know that the Drobo puts things in their own format and it can take a long time for the files to be replicated if a drive goes bad, but other then that, it seems to me to be the easiest and most straight forward data sharing and backup option out there...


THanks!



hitekalex
Sep 21, 2009, 12:24 PM
I do not recommend Drobo. Had one for 3 months (4-bay firewire model), has had nothing but headaches with its reliability. And the performance is nothing to brag about.

Get one of the FW800 enclosures from OWC (http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/) - much better overall product.

HE15MAN
Sep 21, 2009, 02:29 PM
DO those work in the same manner? Just plug in the hard drives and it does all the copying and such on its own? I just like the sleek black look the Drobo has also. Can you go more into detail about the issues you had with it? Seems most the reviews I have read the people love them

Bye Bye Baby
Sep 21, 2009, 02:37 PM
Sorry to hear about bad experiences, but mine has been a dream.

It's hooked up to a mini and is a server for all users at home. Great setup, could not be happier.
Can absolutely recommend it.

zedsdead
Sep 21, 2009, 02:39 PM
Sorry to hear about bad experiences, but mine has been a dream.

It's hooked up to a mini and is a server for all users at home. Great setup, could not be happier.
Can absolutely recommend it.

I agree. Most of them are fine and work great. I have had no issues and there is nothing widespread that is wrong with them. Just do not plan to ever edit video with it, because it is much too slow for that. Great for iTunes though.

I have about a 1TB library on my Drobo and stream/sync with several Apple TV's. No issues whatsoever.

HE15MAN
Sep 21, 2009, 02:48 PM
I agree. Most of them are fine and work great. I have had no issues and there is nothing widespread that is wrong with them. Just do not plan to ever edit video with it, because it is much too slow for that. Great for iTunes though.

I have about a 1TB library on my Drobo and stream/sync with several Apple TV's. No issues whatsoever.

It is slow with firewire 800?

hitekalex
Sep 21, 2009, 02:51 PM
DO those work in the same manner? Just plug in the hard drives and it does all the copying and such on its own? I just like the sleek black look the Drobo has also. Can you go more into detail about the issues you had with it?

Where to start.. Drobo declaring a perfectly good drive "bad" and taking it out of the array (the drive later tested fine on a stand-alone system).. Drobo doing 4-6 hour long re-builds of the file system for no apparent reason.. The same issue also happened twice to a colleague of mine, who happens to be a NAS professional.. So I know it's not just my unit being faulty.

On top of the reliability issues - crappy I/O performance even over FW800.. my old USB-attached drive gave me better I/O. Forget about writing to a disk and simultaneously streaming HD video - the whole system comes to a crawl.

Sure it's a nice pretty enclosure, and may be OK for home backup.. but no good for any serious use.

omni
Sep 21, 2009, 10:27 PM
I've had a Drobo 4bay firewire hooked up to my iMac for about 6 months now with zero problems. Bought it brand new along with 4 brand new Western Digital Green 1TB drives and have had the thing up and running nonstop since I installed it.

While I'm not a "NAS Professional" (I can't even type that with a straight face) I'm not sure the Drobo is what you are looking for. The Drobo is a great drive to plug into a computer which acts like an external USB drive. I'm not sure if this would look good in your living room next to your TV. If there is a way for you to hide it - sure, go for it.

If you are wanting to use it as a NAS drive (which costs extra for their dumb add-on), which I've never done - I would be a little suspect. I remember when I was looking at it as an option, all the reviews were soso at best.

If you are looking for a simple NAS solution - keep in mind where you are going to store it and how loud it's going to be. I had a Buffalo 4TB drive in the 2nd bedroom and it was so damn loud that no one could sleep in there. Although a wonderful drive, just too loud. Thats why I moved to the Drobo which has a lot of flexibility and I was able to move it to a place where noise wouldn't be an issue.

Hope that helps some. I think in the end if you even go with a Drobo you'll probably be happy.

Bye Bye Baby
Sep 22, 2009, 04:28 AM
It is slow with firewire 800?

Perfectly adequate for streaming video. I have at least three users connected and streaming iTunes movie/DVD rips all throughout the house.

I use WD Caviar Black drives because they offer a larger cache. Never had any issues with stuttering or dropped frames etc.

Even the HD (apple dowlnloaded content) streams with no problems. I don't ever use Plex etc (tried them but never liked them and never saw the advatages).

I would say that the Drobo is the way to go. The expandability and the backup are a must if you have a very large and very expensive digital library.

numbersyx
Sep 22, 2009, 04:38 AM
Had a Drobo for 6 months now with WD Green HDs inside. I use it to store my Referenced Masters for Aperture. Absolutely no problems whatsoever. Upside with Drobo is the ease of use and the fact that you can mix drive sizes. If you are to get an enclosure - expensive and needs the same size drives, I would recommend an eSata interface - which would require an eSata card.

ascender
Sep 22, 2009, 07:30 AM
My Drobo has been very reliable and I've not lost any data during its time here which has included upgrading various drives. I think it is a bit slow with large copies over FW800 compared to other devices, but for streaming its fine and for jobs like backing up, I don't think speed is a great issue as such.

Is anyone here using a Drobo Share to share their iTunes libraries? Am thinking about trying one, but have heard mixed reports about whether its up to the job or not due to slow network speeds. Some say its far too slow, while others seem to be saying it performs pretty much as expected for a network device and that this is fast enough, even for video.

Any opinions?

powaking
Sep 22, 2009, 08:34 AM
My Drobo has been very reliable and I've not lost any data during its time here which has included upgrading various drives. I think it is a bit slow with large copies over FW800 compared to other devices, but for streaming its fine and for jobs like backing up, I don't think speed is a great issue as such.

Is anyone here using a Drobo Share to share their iTunes libraries? Am thinking about trying one, but have heard mixed reports about whether its up to the job or not due to slow network speeds. Some say its far too slow, while others seem to be saying it performs pretty much as expected for a network device and that this is fast enough, even for video.

Any opinions?

I don't have a Drobo (would love to get one) but I have heard people using the PogoPlug with their Drobo. This way its accessible locally and remotely. Opens it up to many uses and gives it network access for half the price.

hunterd
Sep 22, 2009, 08:48 AM
I have had the Drobo for about a year and love it. It holds 2 TB and is hooked up to my Mac Mini. I use it to stream movies, music and pictures to 4 Apple TVs in my house. Would highly recommend! Below is a pretty good review to read.

http://terrywhite.com/techblog/archives/947

Alrescha
Sep 22, 2009, 08:49 AM
While the Drobo is fast enough to stream video without any real problems, I find the file open/seek times quite irritating. Combine that with Drobo's difficulty with multi-tasking and you end up with a laggy and unresponsive desktop. It's a constant irritation and I am looking for a replacement. My current Drobo will be relegated to Time Machine backups.

I've also found that Drobo's don't play nice with Firewire 400 devices (I've had mine replaced once already). Put a FW400 device on the bus and the Drobo will lock up after transferring a few hundred gigabytes. Remove the FW400 device and the problem goes away. This happens with different devices (iSight camera, Elgato EyeTV).

It's too bad, because apart from the performance problems, it's the right idea.

A.

Chris Rogers
Sep 22, 2009, 10:30 AM
+1 for Drobo. 6 Months strong no problems.

Why not Edit the original post and make this a poll? I'm kind of curious as to what the consensus is.

ascender
Sep 22, 2009, 03:37 PM
Looks like the Firefly server doesn't let you stream video, so even with Drobo Share running it, you'd need a computer in the middle of it and an Apple TV.

Hmmm, back to the drawing board.

HE15MAN
Sep 22, 2009, 03:53 PM
+1 for Drobo. 6 Months strong no problems.

Why not Edit the original post and make this a poll? I'm kind of curious as to what the consensus is.

Tried but I cannot do that or delete the thread to re-create it :apple:

weddlec
Sep 22, 2009, 03:59 PM
It is slow with firewire 800?

I use the USB only version and have had no problems with streaming. The only slowdown I ever have is when transferring 100+ GB of movies and images, but I don't do that often, and you have to sleep sometime.

My only gripe is that it is loud. I run a rather large projector, Mac Mini, XBOX 360, and Drobo in the same space and the Drobo is about 5 times louder than all of the others combined. I am too cheap to buy the DroboShare, and have considered storing it in another room somewhere.

hitekalex
Sep 22, 2009, 04:25 PM
While the Drobo is fast enough to stream video without any real problems, I find the file open/seek times quite irritating. Combine that with Drobo's difficulty with multi-tasking and you end up with a laggy and unresponsive desktop. It's a constant irritation and I am looking for a replacement. My current Drobo will be relegated to Time Machine backups.

+1. If you're going any kind of concurrent I/O to Drobo (e.g. multiple apps accessing the data, or doing multiples writes and reads at the same time).. Forget about it - the whole system comes to a halt.

If all you need is a Time Machine target - Drobo is probably fine (all my other issues non-withstanding). But for any kind of serious use, it doesn't cut it.

And don't even get me started on DroboShare - another overpriced and slow-performing add-on for something that should have been included in the base system (simple Ethernet port). Can you tell I am NOT a Drobo fan? :-)

Rich1963
Sep 22, 2009, 04:33 PM
I have a V2. I love it for what it is (expandable storage, reliablely serves moves up to the whole network). I would recommend it.

HE15MAN
Sep 22, 2009, 04:50 PM
+1. If you're going any kind of concurrent I/O to Drobo (e.g. multiple apps accessing the data, or doing multiples writes and reads at the same time).. Forget about it - the whole system comes to a halt.

If all you need is a Time Machine target - Drobo is probably fine (all my other issues non-withstanding). But for any kind of serious use, it doesn't cut it.

And don't even get me started on DroboShare - another overpriced and slow-performing add-on for something that should have been included in the base system (simple Ethernet port). Can you tell I am NOT a Drobo fan? :-)

Well then what other cost effective method is there?

mostro900
Sep 23, 2009, 07:54 AM
I really like my Drobo. I use it for time machine backups - MacPro & MBP. It also holds my aperture library and I have about a gig of movies on it.

For time-machine it's a no-brainer, it just works happily in the background and no issues. I feel relaxed and confident knowing my data is pretty much safe.(at least a lot better off than before the Drobo).

Aperture is OK once up and running, but it does lag a bit. Not enough to piss me off, but noticable compared to when I had my library on a local disk.

As for streaming videos to my ATV - no issues at all.

As previousy mentioned though - do 2 or 3 of the above tasks at the same time and you will run into performance issues. I very, very rarely have that issue. If you want some piece of mind, then it's a great product. A NAS RAID enclosure is really the only other option you have for data security, backup and network access - but I think probably more expensive(at least in Australia it was going to be).

hitekalex
Sep 23, 2009, 11:50 AM
Well then what other cost effective method is there?

As I mentioned, I have had very good experience with OWC Mercury line of enclosures. They're FW800 capable and very reasonably priced.

I do not run RAID, and instead I do my own nightly data replication across the disks with ChonoSync. This gives me full control over the data I need to replicate and makes my data failsafe from the enclosure-level failures. My 2TB drives are formatted as standard MacOS GUID partitions, and therefore are readable by any system without the enclosure (unlike say Drobo-formatted drives that are only readable by Drobos).

But OWC enclosures also support RAID-5, if you prefer to go that route. Looks like a bare bones 4-drive OWC enclosure (http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/hard-drives/RAID/Desktop/) is just $330. So I'd check that out.

srexy
Sep 23, 2009, 12:48 PM
That looks pretty sweet! I'll bear that in mind when I outgrow my 1.5tb media drive.

Overall I've been very happy w/my OWC products. I've had to replace the power supply on my enclosure twice but I don't think that's OWC's fault rather than the power spikes that are prevalent in the Tampa Bay Area.

RumMunkey
Sep 23, 2009, 03:14 PM
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7C144 Safari/528.16)

I have a FW800 drobo feeding mu iTunes library of over 2TB of content to TWO Apple tvs.

Have not had a single problem from Drobo. Not one, not ever.