Considering a drobo

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Craigy, Oct 1, 2010.

  1. Craigy macrumors 6502

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    Jan 14, 2003
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    New Zealand
    #1
    Was considering a drobo to connect to my airport extreme for movies / photos / general documents - maybe 2 to keep an extra backup.

    Is the Drobo still the best type of device for this simple sharing and backup / redundancy?

    Was going to continue to use dedicated FW800 drives for FCP / Aperture etc..

    Cheers
    Craig
     
  2. Mike Oxard macrumors 6502a

    Mike Oxard

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2009
    #2
    Drobo is very simple to use and really easy to add storage to. It is quite slow, but fine for backup and iTunes use.

    I use mine via FW800 for my Aperture referenced masters, though the Aperture library itself is on my internal. Aperture doesn't seem to need access to the masters that much so it is ok for this use.

    I read a lot of people saying it was expensive, but I found it to be cheaper to start up with compared to a 4 bay raid box as I could just buy the Drobo and put in what drives I already had, and I've expanded it since. I didn't have to buy all the drives and set up the raid before use, which is good for me as I'm not sure how to do that anyway!
     
  3. Craigy thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #3
    So connected directly by fw800 it's still quite slow?
     
  4. Mike Oxard macrumors 6502a

    Mike Oxard

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    Oct 22, 2009
    #4
    I don't push it particularly hard, but feel it's not as fast as a FW400 drive I had previously (single drive, non-raid)

    I'm sure it'd be no good for video except for backup.

    The Drobo generally gets a slating for being slow whichever way you attach it. For me the ease of use and initial outlay made up for this, as I don't use it for tasks that need real speed.

    Have a read around on the Apple FCP and Aperture forums before buying. I think it may be seen as fine for backup and useless for live work.
     
  5. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    New York City, NY
    #5
    I have two Gen 2 Drobos. Playing videos from a Drobo should not be a problem.

    I don't know if it will work through an AirPort Extreme, though.
     
  6. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #6
    I don't have one, but back when I did a lot of research into it, people felt the FW model was slow too, particularly with lots of small files. It seemed that it was a limitation of the onboard processor and not the interface.
     
  7. 1911 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2008
    #7
    Re: Considering a Drobo

    I looked into purchasing a Drobo. I settled on a Synology NAS device as it provided quite a few more features and the price was quite a bit less. Look at the Synology website and check the feature set compared to what Drobo offers. Look at other devices from Iomega, Buffalo, NEtGear, HP,etc. Make sure an investment in this price range covers all your needs.
     
  8. jhendley macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    Location:
    California
    #8
    Re: Considering a Drobo

    I have been using a Drobo over the last year for all of my photos, music, and videos connected via FW800 to a Mac Mini connected to my Home Theater. It has been perfect for that setup. No regrets at all. Easy to set up too. Good luck with your purchase.
     
  9. Paulywauly macrumors 6502a

    Paulywauly

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    Location:
    Durham, UK
    #9
    It should work through the Airport Extreme although you wont be able to use the Drobo Dashboard software to manage it which is something else to consider. Also in my experience the USB drive function on the airport has been pretty unreliable with a few externals ive tested it with you may want to look into that further.

    I love my Drobo i've never had any issues with it, yeah its got a loud fan that kicks in alot coz the drives cant keep cool enough and its slower than a regular drive but if you want to keep your data safe it ticks all the right boxes
     
  10. Jacquesass macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 6, 2003
    #10
    Drobo S

    How fast the Drobo is depends on:

    A) Which model you get
    B) How you connect the drive to your computer

    Here's what I could find on Drobo speeds (Read/Write/Peak - if there was a range, I give the average):

    Original Drobo:
    USB2 - 14/10/17

    2nd Gen Drobo:
    USB2 - 28/25/32
    FW800 - 48/30/52

    Drobo S:
    USB2 - 32/29/?
    FW800 - 70/50/?
    eSATA - 67/71/146

    Drobo FS:
    Ethernet - 40/27/?

    Your performance will also vary on which model Mac you have, what eSATA card you are using, what drives you put in the Drobo, how many bays you have filled, how full the drives are, etc.

    Hope this helps.
     
  11. Matty-p macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    #11
    drobo are slow mainly beaucase of there controler . friends who have drobos say each gens controller has got slightly better and so has the speed but idont know if there s evidence or not . basically dobo are used by people who want lots of storage quite cheaply and juwt simple plug and play and dont care about speed . i wouldnt recomed on tbh if you wantsomething like the.drobo.ie simple lots of storage space bu want better speed andbetter quality then g for.either g-tech stuff (there realy fast and good quality some of there suf a little pricey but remember its fast good quality and comes with a 3 year warrenty and includes allready built with storage. and its used by almost all vid / photo pros
    or consider promises 4 bay firewire 800 and usb raid 5 box it dosent come with drives but is very reliable and relitively cheap $300 without drives and holds.upto 8 tb (6tb r5) and it is fast an good quality if you want me to recomend you some models based on how much storage you want just say what you need and i will find one for you
     
  12. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #12
    You are correct in regards to the Drobos being limited by their controllers and that Data Robotics has improved on them with newer Drobos.

    Unfortunately, as far as I know, neither the G-Tech or the Promise products you mentioned support the ability to mix and match drives of different sizes or the ability to expand storage by replacing smaller drives in the array. In my opinion, these are the biggest draws to the Drobos.

    While the higher end models of Drobos are quite expensive, I managed to get my Gen 2 Drobos for about $320 each (and this was over a year ago). When I looked, I couldn't find any other units that offered the features that the Drobos offered in that price range. Of course, users can build their own arrays but that's another story...
     
  13. cantthinkofone macrumors 65816

    cantthinkofone

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    #13
  14. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #14
    We all want MacBook Pros with about half the price tag, too.

    The thing that you linked to is a 4 bay RAID box. It doesn't allow for mixing of hard drives. It doesn't allow for dynamic expansion of capacity.

    The Drobo S has 5 drive bays.

    The Gen 2 Drobo has 4 drive bays. Amazon is currently selling it for $340. The box that you linked to costs $300 and the cheapest shipping option is $9. Surely, $31 isn't that scary and is a small price to pay for the expansion features of the Drobo.
     
  15. RHVC59 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 10, 2008
    Location:
    St. Johns, Portland, Oregon
    #15
    I an currently running a drobo FS hanging off the back of 500 gig Time Capsule, and quite happy. Movies stream fine, Time machine is saving to the drobo, I have it populated with 5 TB drives for a total of 3.6 TB of redundant back-up.
    I could not be happier with my investment.... Well maybe with 5 2-TB disks, but that will come when I need it....:cool::cool:
     
  16. Mike Oxard macrumors 6502a

    Mike Oxard

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2009
    #16
    With a normal RAID box as shown in the link, if you were to just buy the box and two drives, would you then have a problem expanding it in future? If you wanted to put four drives in, you'd have to buy them all from the start.

    With the Drobo you buy the box and put in whatever drives you want, then as drives get cheaper per Tb you can just add more as required without having to mess about transferring the data off while you set up a new RAID. This for me at least made the Drobo a cheaper option than normal RAID boxes.
     
  17. cantthinkofone macrumors 65816

    cantthinkofone

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    #17
    I think $1,500-$1,800 is reasonable for a i5 or i7 MBP ;)

    Anywho, Drobos still confuse me. Is it a true RAID device? How can you swap the drives around with out loosing data?
     
  18. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    #18
    They use a proprietary system that they call BeyondRAID. It allows you to mix and match drives of different capacities to build your array. When it runs out of room, you can swap out the smallest capacity drive in the array for a larger one to expand its capacity without losing any data.

    Also, BeyondRAID offers redundancy. Depending on the model, some can protect against a single drive failure and some can protect against two drive failures. This means, if you have a Drobo FS and one of the drives die, your data is still safe. You just need to replace the failed drive ASAP.
     
  19. Matty-p macrumors regular

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    #19
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    you might want to change the word between 2tb and but . Im pretty sure you ment disks!
     
  20. Matty-p macrumors regular

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    #20
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    just out of inyrest why did you pay so much more for the fs when the normal one woul hav been just as good for you??
     
  21. RHVC59 macrumors 6502

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    May 10, 2008
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    St. Johns, Portland, Oregon
    #21
    I wanted it to act as a file server. I have one MBP and two PC , and a Apple TV connected via wireless, and one PC connected via wire. When the kids are home from university, there are another two macs and one more
    PC laptop joining the party... Also I wanted the five disk slots, which the FS had. I do not recall if the "S" was available at the time of my purchase

    Thanks for pointing out the typos... posting late at night requires more care to make sure my fingers hit the keys i intended and in the correct sequence. I obviously didn't edit before I hit the post key.:eek:
     
  22. Matty-p macrumors regular

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    Apr 3, 2010
    #22
    cool fair enough i was just wandering if you could have used the :apple: airports 'usb disk to network drive' feature by getting the normal one and pluggig it into the usb port on the airport thus saving money thats all
    you're more than welcome , im exactly the same when late and on my phone i have loads of typo's in each and every sentance:rolleyes:
     
  23. megapuppy macrumors newbie

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    Sep 4, 2007
    Location:
    London, UK
    #23
    Unfortunately it's not quite as rosy as that. BeyondRAID is basically a virtualised version of RAID-5. It uses one of your disks for parity, so that if any single disk in the array fails it can rebuild the data. This means however, that the drobo will always use the highest-capacity drive in the array as the parity disk. So if you replace your lowest capacity drive with a 2TB one, for example, you won't see any increase in capacity.

    I think it really needs to be emphasised here as well how slow BeyondRAID is compared to traditional RAID-5 setups. We're talking orders of magnitude here. I tested a Drobo-S (supposedly one of their faster models) and it was painfully slow - far slower than any other external drive I've used, including cheap no-name USB drives. If you just want a cheap solution with redundancy, you might be better off buying a FW800 2-bay enclosure and putting 2 x 2TB drives in there running in RAID1.
     
  24. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    Location:
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    #24
    It depends on your priorities. Yes, the Drobos are not fast by any measure, but it's fast enough for my archival needs.

    In regards to it being virtualized Raid 5. I don't know what it actually is. If it just uses the largest drive for parity, as you state, that would make it more akin to Raid 4. But, again, it's proprietary and, as far as I know, Data Robotics hasn't shared their algorithm.

    Your example will probably yield more speed, however, consider four 2TB drives. Using Raid 1, as you suggested, would leave a user with only 4TB of storage. Using a Drobo would yield you 6TB of storage.
     
  25. Matty-p macrumors regular

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    Apr 3, 2010
    #25
    his example had two 2tb drives in raid 1 that would be 2tb real space wich btw is plenty for most people if you need more i suggest a promise or g-tech 4 bay raid5 all 2tb drives meaning 6tb space
     

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