Drobo 5N + new Seagate 8TB drives = good match?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Spanky Deluxe, Dec 15, 2014.

  1. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Mar 17, 2005
    London, UK
    Hey guys,

    I've been planning for a while to get a new storage solution with redundancy built in as my old 1.5TB drives keep failing and I'm losing data. I think I'm going to go for the Drobo route as it looks to be one of the best home/home office solution. Specifically, I'm interested in the Drobo 5N as I already have a gigabit ethernet network at home.

    I've just heard about the new Seagate 8TB Archive drives (ST8000AS0002) and my initial thoughts are that it might be perfect for a 5N as they're large, very cheap for the capacity and the 150 MB/s read/write speeds, while slow, are faster than gigabit ethernet can support anyway (125 MB/s).

    Am I missing something here? This solution seems to be too good to be true and not having owned a Drobo before, I'm unsure whether there are any limitations that I'm missing.

    My usage will be largely storage of Plex ripped media (from DVD quality box-sets up to 3D Blu-ray rips), time machine backups of 4 computers (only 2 used regularly though) and other general long term storage.
  2. matreya macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    I think you'd want to check with the Drobo manufacturers as to whether the 5N can handle the 8TB capacity per drive..

    Also, Seagate suggest that this drive is NOT suitable for NAS use and recommend their NAS range of drives, which are smaller capacity than the new archive drives.
  3. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    The 8TB drive is not tailored for the kinds of vibration and heat generated by a multibay enclosure environment. You would want to put it in a desktop or a single bay enclosure.

    Drobo is not time machine approved and based on reports/discussions I would not use it as a time machine destination, use something like CCC instead.

    Something like a refurbed mini with TB enclosure is a much better performing, more reliable, more scalable, and easier to set up solution than any NAS. Been there done that. I could have saved big bucks and headaches if I ignored the NAS fanboy advice and started with a server solution for my home media library and backup.

    Perhaps $100-$200 more initial investment, but the improvement in user satisfaction is significant, especially as your needs grow in terms of storage capacity or applications.

    A NAS has it place for simply file storing and sharing for a few users.
  4. Spanky Deluxe, Dec 16, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2014

    Spanky Deluxe thread starter macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Mar 17, 2005
    London, UK
    I don't think time machines are a good solution tbh. I really want data redundancy. I have an xserve in the basement with one of it's drives set to serve as a time machine backup drive and I have a time capsule as well although it's limited space makes it a bit of a waste. I really want a NAS with enough storage for my needs. I had planned on getting some 5 or 6TB drives but the 8TB ones look to be a far better bet financially.

    I know Seagate say that these aren't for NAS drives but their note on these are that you're likely to experience lower performance - which seems obvious as these drives are lower performing than standard NAS hard drives in terms of read/write speeds and access times. For a NAS serving largely just one user at a time and spending most of the day doing nothing, that shouldn't be a problem.

    Edit: Found this thread on a NAS forum and it looks like the drives are suitable for a lot of NAS systems, just not high frequency access ones so it looks like these will be ideal for Drobo/home NAS storage solutions. Still waiting to hear back from Drobo in regards to drive support although they're reportedly very good and ensuring compatibility with new drives.
  5. HalfNelson macrumors member

    Aug 27, 2010
    I was always under the impression that RAID 5 setups helped to speed up overall read/write speeds, because there is some striping of data across drives. I know these aren't suppose to be the fastest of drives but I would figure 4-5 of these in a RAID would at least keep up, speed wise, with a single external hard drive wich is fine for using with a media server. Is the problem with these drives, more in that they aren't suppose to be on and running 24/7, versus their speed issues? Are these just meant to load up with archive data backups and then stored?
  6. maratus macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2009
    You should consider a Mac Mini server + DAS drives as an alternative. It gives you much higher flexibility than a single NAS unit. I'm running a similar setup albeit with 11" MBA at its core:

    2 x 2TB drives (separate drives, USB3.0, 2.5" and absolutely silent) for my PLEX and iTunes media library (I don't need redundancy for movies and music)

    1 x 750GB drive (2.5") dedicated to time machine backups (I may consider a RAID1 enclosure in future)

    2 x 3TB in hardware RAID1 (3.5", sensitive data only and not 24/7 operation)

    I like to keep things as simple as possible, that's why I prefer RAID1 for redundant storage. The speed of a single 3.5" is pretty fast and you don't have to rely on rebuilding procedure if one drive fails (simply take any drive from a RAID1 to read existing data once the array is broken). I also like the idea of keeping all my drives in HFS+, native Time Machine support (via server.app on my MBA) and overall flexibility.
  7. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    Think about the practical matter of putting 8TB drives in a RAID5 array. When one drive fails, it could be weeks before recovery and during that time, performance comes to a near standstill and your data is at risk. Then, a pair of drives in RAID0 is also speedy enough. The current crop of 3TB+ drives have pretty much changed the landscape where RAID5 now does not make sense for anything but a few specialized applications. And in those cases, one configures a redundant RAID5 array to mirror/backup the first array.

    A lot of us hang onto RAID5 because we have been using it for years, its familiar, and its an old friend of ours :)
  8. ZMacintosh macrumors 65816


    Nov 13, 2008
    8Tb drives? wow, interesting. sure theyre like any other drives, not sure on their reliability yet.

    Drobos on the other hand, avoid like the plague IMO. Ive seen so many crash and burn and eat data because theyre proprietary software doesnt do much for the hardware.

    I currently have an AirPort Extreme AC with 6TB to provide time machine backups, and an AirPOrt AC as an extender with an additional 6TB providing secondary backups for all machines.

    My goal is to get a mac mini, set it up as a server and attach a Pegasus RAID system to it. those things are amazing, fast, reliable and true RAID.
    They do support Time machine, i had a old Pegasus 4bay system at 8TB providing time machine back ups in a small office, and just loved it.
  9. cmm macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2006
    Skip the drobo, install SUSE Linux on a Lenovo TS440 (just upgrade the ram to at least 16gb ECC). $299 for the TS440 is a screaming deal (the Xeon cpu is worth more).

    Stick to WD Red drives.


    I apologize, I thought your data mattered to you. Since it doesn't buy the 8TB drives not meant for a NAS and be merry... For now. Stop being cheap over something as important as your data.
  10. Wiggle macrumors member

    Nov 2, 2014
    Agreed with all those who say skip Drobo. I've had every Drobo from the original, to te 8-bay Pro, to 5D, etc. They have all had catastrophic failures for unknown reasons and failed to "rebuild the array" in any reasonable time. Go with a Synology or build your own. Drobo absolutely blows.
  11. kfscoll macrumors 65816


    Nov 3, 2009
    I've had good luck with my Drobo 5N (touch wood) -- no issues for me so far. That said, this whole discussion, at least with regard to the Drobo, is a moot point, because the 5N currently only supports a maximum of 16TB of usable space. I have five 4TB WD Red drives in my 5N, one of which is dedicated to overhead/redundancy, so I get the full 16GB of usable space, but I can't currently use any larger drives due to this limitation.

    Evidently this is a limitation inherent to Drobo's proprietary BeyondRAID system. Other Drobo devices can have 32TB of usable space, but BeyondRAID forces you to split that 32TB into two separate volumes.
  12. brand macrumors 601


    Oct 3, 2006
    Just curious if after a couple of bad experiences why you would continue to use Drobo storage devices. There has to be more to this that I am not seeing as any sane person that cares about their data would not continue to use the same products/technology after continued failures.

    Also can you please clarify when you said that "you've had every Drobo". I understand every Drobo to mean that you've had all 14 Drobo models that Data Robotics has released so far.

    Drobo Models
    Drobo (1st)
    Drobo (2nd)
    Drobo (3rd)
    Drobo S
    Drobo S (2nd)
    Drobo 5D
    Drobo FS
    Drobo 5N
    Drobo Mini
    DroboPro FS
    DroboElite B800i
  13. ibilisi macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2010
    Any update from Drobo on this? I've been holding out updating my array. I also have a drobo 5n (that I've had zero issues with). I mainly store my blueray libraries and my photo and video. I'm using in RAID 6 or double redundancy and want to get into 4k video... So archiving that...
  14. thedeske macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2013
    Without reading too much into this thread, I'll offer 2 pennies...

    Drobo is a bad Idea in general. Large drives are a secondary concern.

    Best To All
  15. Spanky Deluxe thread starter macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Mar 17, 2005
    London, UK
    No, I haven't heard anything yet. I've tweeted them a few times about it and kept an eye on their forums but no news. Even if the drives were supported (which should be trivial), the bigger problem is that the Drobo 5N is limited to a maximum array size of only 16TB. The 5D is 32TB. There's no word on the arbitrary difference but a 16TB limit on a 5 bay device is pretty pathetic.
  16. kfscoll macrumors 65816


    Nov 3, 2009
    Agreed. It didn't matter when the largest drives you could buy were 4TB because you'd still get the maximum amount of usable space out of your 5N but now that much larger drives are available this limitation sucks. And Drobo has been conspicuously silent about it for quite sometime.
  17. ZMacintosh, Jan 21, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 22, 2015

    ZMacintosh macrumors 65816


    Nov 13, 2008
    Im pretty sure Pegasus2 supports the drives. someone was testing the 6TB Seagates in there without issues.
  18. matreya, Jan 21, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 22, 2015

    matreya macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    Seagate aren't marketing the 8TB Archive drive towards NAS applications, so I would be careful about investing in a number of them just to find they're unsuitable. The 8TB Archive drive is not widely available yet, so give it some time before reviews pop up...
  19. ibbumpin macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2013
    Drobo has been working nicely for me

    I've been using a DroboFS for years now as my time machine back up for 3 different laptops, all still in use. I've had to restore from back up and swap out drives. All of which went perfectly fine. The only downside of the time machine part was having to manually mount the remote time machine drive in the OS X restoration process but that's a pretty trivial task. My wife and I use it to store all our documents and I have over 6 TB of RAW photos archived on it as well. I've had other friends who have had a terrible time with their Drobo but it's been smooth sailing for me and seems to be the best product out there from everything I've used. I setup a linux Raid in the past with a samba share and it wasn't as reliable as the Drobo so I haven't looked back :)

    Looking at Drobo's online calculator they seem to list drives up to 6TB so I'm not sure if 8 is supported.

    If you go the 8TB Drobo route please keep up updated on your experience :)
  20. bgd macrumors regular

    Aug 30, 2005
    Drobo does get bad press. When I was researching NAS a while back Drobo, more so than any other brand, was associated with problems. Didn't bother to look any further, too much noise. Went with Synology and no issues to date.
  21. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    Synology gets some good press, but they skimp and throw cheap desktop drives in their multibay boxes. The capability of their apps is mostly hyperbole, but the box hardware itself seems to be reliable. I won't buy another.

    Three years ago NAS boxes made some sense but NAS is now old school and on their way out except for simple file sharing and hobbyists. There are better approaches for about the same $$, especially when you start discussing 4TB+ drives and recovery times.
  22. AFEPPL, May 14, 2015
    Last edited: May 14, 2015

    AFEPPL macrumors 68030


    Sep 30, 2014
    Well thats a new one!!!
    NAS going away, yeah, sure it is... can the same be said about OS X server? Even internally apple don't and have never really used it - they use NAS devices. Indeed they are just expending the <removed> services with a combination of Flash and high capacity SATA solutions. Its DAS thats about dead, cheap cloud offerings like iCloud and NAS boxes have all but removed the need for DAS/USB/TB attached storage. Whats next CD RWs? :rolleyes:

    Removable, storage be it USB or TB are great for "moving" large amounts of DATA between two place, or great to dump data on from say a NAS or a MINI to act as a backup copy. You'll never get the claimed 400MB/s as the SATA HD drives simply can't transfer data at that speed. People are deluding themselves most of the time by not looking at the real picture..btw 400MB/s is over 3200Mbs, or expressed another way 3 times faster than Gb ethernet can support! So whats transferring what to where? These speeds are only needed for internal computer operations.

    The NAS devices are available "without" drives allowing you to put in drives that meet your needs, be it size, speed or a combination of the two. Those that ship with drives fitted, generally ship with NAS designed drives from seagate.

    As for "hyperbole" that perfectly describes using a mini as a NAS device for data services. It's not designed to do that, it's a small form desktop computer that's not able to be fitted with a "dedicated" RAID controller. It's limited in everyway possible. It does have the "best" CPU if you wanted to compare such things, but the point is you are clearly not planning on providing enterprise wide access to 1000s of users, so in the real world it makes little difference. If you want a computer rather than an appliance, buy one! Throw windows or linux on with a fully blown RAID controller and lots of internal bays for DAS and away you go, problem solved.

    If you want low maintenance, hardware centric appliances with a small footprint then they do what they are designed to do - server data over a network to various clients. Remember you should always have a backup of any data if you feel its important to you or would lament its loss.

    As for the apps, personally apps are not the reason to buy a NAS device, they are an extra bonus only IF you want to use them - most people already have a solution for that in place and the device is just for its storage capabilities. The apps exist to use the basic functions built into smart TVs to display pictures or play films/music (DNLA) IMO.

    Ignore the fanboy! while a mini has its place if you wanted to say run plex, or encode video on the fly for example - that would more than be a use case. but storing an serving data, nah.

    Remember a bad craftsman blames his tools....!!!
  23. jdphoto macrumors 6502


    Jan 13, 2014
    Not sure if the OP has gone with the 8TB drives yet or not, but I would definitely advise against using them in a NAS/RAID environment. These drives essentially have a 20GB cache that stores incoming data writes and handles things at normal speeds, once that 20GB is full (large file transfer/drive rebuild), the write speed to the drive drops immensely to almost single digit MB/sec writes. These use SMR technology that also makes these drives have to run something akin to a TRIM procedure as well to do garbage collection. Unfortunately for now the 6TB drives seem to be the best bet.

    The info I cited and a ton more can be found at the review below:
  24. bradhs macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2010
    Why so much hate on Drobo? We use the 1200i and their latest firmware has kept it humming along with zero issues...

Share This Page