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Any reason not to buy a Drobo?

shinji

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 18, 2007
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Anyone here have a Drobo and unhappy with it, or not like them for any other reason? I'm thinking about buying the regular 4 bay Drobo.
 

FrozenShivers

macrumors member
Sep 8, 2011
84
2
Proprietary system, can't just pull out drives and recover data like with other alternatives (Synology/Qnap etc).

Limited warranty, reports of some pretty poor customer service if the device fails.
 
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SaxPlayer

macrumors 6502a
Jan 9, 2007
649
538
Dorset, England
Anyone here have a Drobo and unhappy with it, or not like them for any other reason? I'm thinking about buying the regular 4 bay Drobo.

I agree with shinji. That was the reason I didn't buy one. They sells lots of them, though, so it might be fine for you. I went with a Synology myself in the end and have been using it for 18 months now. I've found it very reliable with regular software updates from Synology introducing new features.

The only thing I miss is not being able to do spotlight searches on the network drives. That'll be the case with any kind of NAS solution so it's not specific to Synology.
 
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mcnallym

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2008
734
248
Its really a personal choice regarding many of the things.

I had very good customer service, although being technical then could show that done a lot of the usual testing so got through the usual first line things pretty quickly. I also have the 8 bay DroboPro rather then the 4/5 bay Drobo's so not sure if get better response because of that.

Had the unit replaced under warranty twice, never an issue. Slotted the hard drives into the replacement unit in the correct order and no problem at all.

Performance wise then my drobo has been fine. FW800 connection to a mac mini 2009 streaming iTunes, elgato pvr etc.

In terms of Data Recovery then for me is a non-issue. iTunes library can be redownloaded/re-ripped. elgato recordings will be rebroadcast.

Any thing on there that need to worry about losing I take a backup of.

When I come to upgrade then no problem as far as I am concerned in getting another drobo, at the moment would be the 5D ( though wouldn't mind seeing a TB2 interface Drobo out, just so is on current tech. TB1 is fast enough for a single Drobo )
 
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chabig

macrumors 604
Sep 6, 2002
7,250
4,524
I've had a Drobo for five years now. No problems at all. I think some people avoid Drobos because they are afraid of them. As for data recovery, remember that Drobo is not a backup solution. The data on your Drobo should be backed up on something else. If your Drobo fails, you operate from your backup until you get the Drobo repaired or replaced.
 
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priitv8

macrumors 68040
Jan 13, 2011
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505
Estonia
Proprietary system, can't just pull out drives and recover data like with other alternatives (Synology/Qnap etc).
Are you saying, that you could swap your Syno drives into Qnap enclosure and be good to go?
I don't mean RAID0/1 but RAID5 or, for the sake of fair comparison, Hybrid RAID-formatted disks?
 
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FrozenShivers

macrumors member
Sep 8, 2011
84
2
Are you saying, that you could swap your Syno drives into Qnap enclosure and be good to go?
I don't mean RAID0/1 but RAID5 or, for the sake of fair comparison, Hybrid RAID-formatted disks?

I'm not an expert, so anyone reading please correct me if I'm wrong. But to my knowledge, HDD's in a Synology or QNAP system (even if using a form of hybrid raid) can have all their data recovered if the the actual NAS unit itself dies (often by having to put them into Linux).

If a DROBO unit dies, you're only recourse is....to get another DROBO unit.

This is how I understand it at least, if I stand correct then apologies but I think that's correct.
 
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chabig

macrumors 604
Sep 6, 2002
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If a DROBO unit dies, you're only recourse is....to get another DROBO unit.

This is how I understand it at least, if I stand correct then apologies but I think that's correct.

I think you are correct in general except buying a new Drobo isn't the ONLY recourse. You should have a backup of the data and you restore from that. Otherwise I'd expect the solution for any failed RAID device is to buy a new one.
 
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ColdCase

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Feb 10, 2008
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I think you are correct in general except buying a new Drobo isn't the ONLY recourse. You should have a backup of the data and you restore from that. Otherwise I'd expect the solution for any failed RAID device is to buy a new one.

True for hardware based RAIDs, one of the advantages of software RAIDS is that you can throw just about any drives at them.... .

----------

I'm not an expert, so anyone reading please correct me if I'm wrong. But to my knowledge, HDD's in a Synology or QNAP system (even if using a form of hybrid raid) can have all their data recovered if the the actual NAS unit itself dies (often by having to put them into Linux).

Perhaps, but its way easier, safer, more reliable, to just buy or borrow another NAS unit.
 
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spaceballl

macrumors 68030
Nov 2, 2003
2,866
245
San Francisco, CA
Proprietary system, can't just pull out drives and recover data like with other alternatives (Synology/Qnap etc).

Limited warranty, reports of some pretty poor customer service if the device fails.
I'm not a fan of drobo either, but fwiw, synology / drobo are both proprietary operating systems as well.

Open source NAS alternatives include FreeNAS, Nas4Free, unRAID, etc. As a FreeNAS user, though, I can say that these things aren't super user friendly - so if you're not a tech savvy person, I do recommend Synology. I have owned one before, and it worked just fine.
 
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priitv8

macrumors 68040
Jan 13, 2011
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505
Estonia
Perhaps, but its way easier, safer, more reliable, to just buy or borrow another NAS unit.
I am no expert either, but I recall having read in this very forum, that e.g. Syno NAS's single point of dependency is also MoBo, just as for the Drobo.
I don't own the Drobo, but have played with their Dashboard and to me it looks as the most Apple-ish NAS of them all. Meaning it is minimalist and simple in UI, setup and operation, just like the Mac :D
 
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shinji

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Original poster
Mar 18, 2007
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Thanks for the help, guys. I'm actually not going to use it as a NAS, this will just be regular direct attached storage. I have some old hard drives that I'm not using, and it seems like the only simple way to combine them all with a bit of redundancy.

If the Drobo itself fails within warranty, do you just send it back and they replace it? Or they're a pain in the ass about it? I notice they want you to buy "DroboCare."
 
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spaceballl

macrumors 68030
Nov 2, 2003
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245
San Francisco, CA
Thanks for the help, guys. I'm actually not going to use it as a NAS, this will just be regular direct attached storage. I have some old hard drives that I'm not using, and it seems like the only simple way to combine them all with a bit of redundancy.

If the Drobo itself fails within warranty, do you just send it back and they replace it? Or they're a pain in the ass about it? I notice they want you to buy "DroboCare."
Ah that's it? Then... You're probably fine.

Now that being said, if you have a "few extra drives" laying around, rather than invest in a Drobo, I'd rather just buy this and sell the drives. A 1TB USB powered SSD is going to be way faster and way more durable than a drive array, and you don't need to deal with the power, the bulk, the noise, the heat, etc. Drobo aren't cheap - I'd just get that.
 
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shinji

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Original poster
Mar 18, 2007
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Well, I need way more than 1 TB, and these are all 7200 rpm drives. The problem I have now is that my 3 TB is nearly full.
 
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matreya

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Nov 14, 2009
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dyt1983

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May 6, 2014
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USA USA USA
edit: to remove personally identifying information not relevant to the thread. Also remove some unsupported BBcode
 
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garyleecn

macrumors 6502a
Jul 25, 2014
841
142
I agree with shinji. That was the reason I didn't buy one. They sells lots of them, though, so it might be fine for you. I went with a Synology myself in the end and have been using it for 18 months now. I've found it very reliable with regular software updates from Synology introducing new features.

The only thing I miss is not being able to do spotlight searches on the network drives. That'll be the case with any kind of NAS solution so it's not specific to Synology.

can you use iscsi and mount the entire synology as a local hard drive on a mac? so you can spotlight it? I'm NO expert on that, just thinking this MIGHT work.
 
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garyleecn

macrumors 6502a
Jul 25, 2014
841
142
I have a couple Drobos with one of them being a 5D, and for me and its intended purpose, I have no serious complaints[size=-2][1][/size]. I don't care that it's not the fastest thing... it's just for mass storage. I also don't care that the Drobo doesn't use JBOD so your disks are tied to the Drobo, my recovery strategy takes that into account. Other systems used as internal RAID are going to have the "proprietary" restriction, just as software RAID for JBOD is going to increase the time moving from one machine to another. I have a QNAP, Synology and Pegasus and I use each for their strengths, and I've tried Areca and less memorable others. But the Drobo 5D is a relatively solid DAS solution that accepts all different drives and doesn't require (or allow) much input. You just have to know the limitations beforehand and have the right expectations, and it's fine.

[size=-2]1. My biggest complaint is that I would like it to have an internal power supply, or the external to use a standardized connector, but I understand the external makes it easy to keep a spare, and the funny connector stops people from using an improper supply.[/size]

one major fallback is once your hard drive capacity exceeds 16TB, drobo will give you two separate volumes, instead of one, even you only got one drobo.
 
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garyleecn

macrumors 6502a
Jul 25, 2014
841
142
I think you mean the volume size, not capacity. Major fallback to some, inconsequential to others.


yep, volume size. it may be inconsequential for now, but eventually it will become a problem. for now 4tb is kinda 'large' for mainstream hard drives, so the maximum for 4 drives is 16tb, you are not gonna exceed that. but now 6tb is already supported, and 8tb will become more accessible soon (it's already just doubled the price as 4tb's, and i saves half of 'rack spaces', so why not use 8tb's?) 16 will be a significant limit for 4 (usable) bay unites. others like qnap and syno don't have such problem...
 
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garyleecn

macrumors 6502a
Jul 25, 2014
841
142
People have different needs, and you're comparing a NAS with DAS. I have a QNAP TS-853 Pro, and it has its own set of issues. It originally had a 16TB volume size limit due to ext3 filesystem, but ext4 has upped that. So it's pretty easy to understand such a limit is software related. Other issues were using 30 watts of power with all the drives spun down. It doesn't have a Thunderbolt port so it works primarily over SMB shares. Drobo 5D doesn't "have such a problem". On the other hand I have 5x4TB drives + a 250GB SSD accelerator in my 5D and 16TB volume doesn't seem to impact me. If it was a problem... I'd probably look at some other solution. Even if I do go to 8TB drives, I don't see a problem with having multiple volumes, if I add more than one 5D or QNAP they'll show as more than one volume. It's not iSCSI or a SAN we're working with. Things aren't always the "major problems" that some make them out to be.

yes different people have different needs, different products have different problems. i wasn't saying drobo is a no-go, just say drobo has a 16tb limit problem.
 
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