Drobo buying tips for a novice. Advice needed please

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by RetroGlide, Aug 10, 2009.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    #1
    Firstly, Hello, as this is my first post :)

    I have a MBP and the wife uses a Windows laptop. I have decided to purchase a storage/backup solution and having taken to the Drobo. But as im a novice in this area im getting slightly overwhelmed by the choice thats on the market along with all the tech talk that accompanies this kind of hardware.

    I like the Drobo based on the simple user interface and also the ability to change the drives once full or should one fail.

    The prices here in the UK seem reasonable as its being bundled with the Droboshare which also seems attractive as I would then be able to share files with the wife's window laptop and will make photo sharing alot easier than constantly copying fils to a disk etc to transfer.

    I was just about to order the other day when I noticed the Western Digital My Book World Edition II 4TB. This also seems to fit the bill at a lower cost and is also PC/MAC compatible.

    Can anyone offer any feedback on either of these systems. I know cheaper systems can be built by more knowledgeable individuals but im completely out of my depth doing anything like that.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Location:
    dallas, texas
    #2
    I believe that in my extensive covering of hard drives, only one user has not recommended Western Digital, but no one has mentioned the massive drive you are looking at before.

    mroogle for Drobo. iThink that most users that have it love it.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    #3
    Thanks for the speedy reply.

    I agree with the WD thoughts. I like the Drobo/Droboshare features and the ever expandable size but the cost compared to the WD My Book World Edition II 4TB is a little high. Reliabilty is an issue also.

    Thanks for the info link btw.
     
  4. macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Location:
    dallas, texas
    #4
    I'd say go with the Drobo, the expandability is just such a valuable feature IMO.

    Check out this for that reliability discussion, but once again, not your high-end drive mentioned.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    #5
    Yup, so far the Drobo is the most viable option for my needs. The pros for me are the following for the Drobo (not in order)

    1, Expandable.
    2, Single disk redundancy.
    3, Ease of use,
    4, Mix different drive capacities.
    5, Being able to share over MAC and PC
    6, DroboApps (iTunes and web based file sharing apps).
    7, Network/Firewire and USB.

    I think thats sold it to me then!

    As with all systems I suppose there is a perctange of unhappy users and it always seems to be the people that have had bad luck that sometimes stand out in the crowd more than the happy ones. The WD series do look good. But none seem to offer Firewire/USB AND network connectivity in one package, although I may have missed it :eek:
     
  6. macrumors 68000

    musio

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    #6
    drobo is free sex in hardware form. it's the best thing since anything made with an 'i' in front of it. I have 2!

    though, it is NOT. i say, NOT a backup solution. Backup means you have 2 copies, so if you are putting all your media on your drobo and that's it, you will fail one day.
     
  7. macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Location:
    dallas, texas
    #7
    I am OCD about backing up, but the whole backup fail thing is sorta not really the right advice. The chances of your main drive failing and your backup drive failing at the same time are not really that likely. The worry of the Drobo or any other HD failing is that the external will fail when you are using it as a scratch disk or something like that.
     
  8. macrumors 68000

    musio

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    #8
    that's why i said have 2 copies. one on your main and one elsewhere (drobo) etc

    just making sure as i'm OCD too! hi-five ;)
     
  9. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    #9
    I understand what you are saying. I only have a small 160GB portable drive that I use at the moment for swapping files(pics, music etc) between mine and my wifes laptop. The Drobo should hopefully be a slightly better upgrade compared to using my little portable drive.
     
  10. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    #10
    Just wanted to chime in, I have a Drobo and it's the best thing I've bought in awhile, I would pick another one up in a second! You won't regret it! It sure does beat having to have multiple external drives out all over the place. So my advice is to definately get it!

    Andrew
     
  11. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    #11
    Thanks Andrew.

    Well I have just had the wife offer to buy me a Drobo/Droboshare including three WD 750GB HD's for my 40th birthday present. I just have to make my decision by the end of the day as she can't stand my indecisivness lol. So its a no brainer not to go with the Drobo now I think. :D
     
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    #12
    Do it! You won't regret it at all! In fact you'll probably wonder why you didn't get one from the start!

    Andrew
     
  13. macrumors 65816

    Bye Bye Baby

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Location:
    i(am in the)cloud
    #13
    Drobo is certainly a good way to go. I have just finally bought mine and hooked it up as a media server. I have a massive library that grows by the day.

    I would however really counsel you to think about HD choice. I bought two WD 1 TB Caviar Black drives. The extra speed is noticeable. I did a little test on a seagate 500 GB drive that is 7,200 RPM and there was a significant speed boost with the caviar black drives over the seagate.

    I chose them because of their dual-processor tech and their cache. I am very happy. If however you are going to just use it as a backup drive then go for the green drives.

    I also bought mine in the UK for under £300. I did not get the drobo share as it is severely limited in speed because of the USB interface. I have it attached to a mac mini FW 800 wired to an ethernet connection.

    I have no chopping or frame rate problems and it serves another three or four computers with media.
     
  14. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    #14
    I'm hoping to use the Drobo as a storage base with the added thought that my data may be a bit safer should there be a disk failure? I have taken up digital photography since the start of the year so will be using the Drobo to keep my pics on with the thought of taking them off there for editing in Photoshop and then putting them back at a later day. It has to be a better option for me than having to keep using my Iomega portable drive and then archiving onto CD/DVD just to free up space on the little 160GB drive. If One of the 3 bays were to fail in the Drobo I take it my files would still be safe? As mentioned earlier I am a COMPLETE novice lol.
     
  15. macrumors 6502a

    ButtUglyJeff

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2008
    Location:
    New York. The state, not the toilet.
    #15
    I agree with what you are saying. If the Drobo fails, and if Data Robotics doesn't exist anymore, then your data would be lost, if you couldn't find another unit on the used market.

    Boy, that sounds like alot of ifs. Has this ever happened to anyone?

    Also, not to confuse the issue, a Drobo has two copies of every but of data inside, but it is one device. You're protected against drive failure, but not Drobo failure.
     
  16. macrumors 68000

    musio

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    #16
    No, but there is the very common 'what if' come true' of plugging in your drobo and the whole thing doesn't want to read or it shorts out or something goes wrong on your WHOLE device rendering it useless. Lots of drobo users have had mounting problems. You don't realise this importance unless it happens to you.

    Remember, the drobo capacity is treated as 'one drive' of a kind anyway... Which means, if anything happens to that one drive, you're screwed.

    Look at it thisway, if you have a USB of important, precious pictures captured of your family and that's your only copy of files you place such value on, then you're an idiot if you don't have another copy. IE, like on your main drive...Especially when HD space is so cheap these days.

    What do i know, anyone is free to do what they want. I know what i'd do but that's based on experience. EVERYTHING fails at some point.
     
  17. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    #17
    So if I were to own one of the WD My Book edition of drives and there was a "My Book" hardware failure leaving the drives inside ok. Would it be possible to retrieve the info off those drives by just putting them in an enclosure and connecting them via USB/Firewire/esata etc?
     
  18. macrumors 6502a

    ButtUglyJeff

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2008
    Location:
    New York. The state, not the toilet.
    #18

    I'm not 100% sure, but I do believe all of the "My Books" out there in the world don't use unique protocols, so the drives should be readable by other means.

    Drobo does have its own protocol, which it why it is seen as one device. That is why if the Drobo fails, the only way to retrieve data would be to transfer the physical drives to a new Drobo, in the same order.
     
  19. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    #19
    Hmm, im having seeds of doubt floating around my head now:confused:

    Have just looked at the 2TB WD My Book Studio Edition II (for external storage and editing of my Photos etc) and the 2TB WD My Book World Edition II (for backup of edited images, network sharing etc).
    This gives me bags of space, 2 seperate forms of storage and £100 less than the Drobo with three 750GB drives. Hmmmmmmmm:rolleyes:

    If the Drobo writes using standard file systems such as NTFS, HFS Plus, FAT32 surely a data recovery company would be able to retrieve the data in these formats on the drives? Should a Drobo Hardware failure happen!
     
  20. macrumors 68000

    musio

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    #20
    if your willing to take your drives to the expense of a data recovery company please read all the good advice in this thread, the repeated advice and this forum....BACKUP
     
  21. macrumors 6502a

    ButtUglyJeff

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2008
    Location:
    New York. The state, not the toilet.
    #21
    The format is common, how it implements RAID is unique. So, I question the success of standard data recovery. Remember this is all hypothetical. Data Robotics has to go belly up before this would be an issue.

    BTW, I own a first gen Drobo, and I'm happy with it, and have not had any issues with it. And I have had it at least a year and a half.

    I might get a second one soon......
     
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2006
    #22
    After considering a number of these choices we went with a Buffalo Linkstation Quad 4TB. It was a lot cheaper (A LOT) than a drobo with droboshare, got better reliability ratings, and has a much more robust remote access feature.

    We've been happy with it, and it even has a USB port to back up the contents to a secondary drive (which we don't do as we have 2 in 2 different areas of the lab as mirrors).
     
  23. macrumors 68000

    musio

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    #23
    sorry to hjack

    can you explain the usb port feature - does it backup automatically from the buffalo to the usb drive attached or is it all software controlled 'press a button to control a software copy' system?

    i'm trying to see if this copy process takes up system resources or is done on the hardrive. thanks!

    EDIT: too good to be true - i flicked though the manual and doesn't look like it..would be great if it did!
     
  24. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    #24
    Decided to go for a QNAP TS-219P Turbo NAS (2TB RAID 1) with a seperate 1TB drive as backup via eSATA.
     
  25. macrumors 6502a

    Chris Rogers

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2008
    Location:
    my house
    #25
    I was pulling for the Drobo :(
     

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