Drobo firewire

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by mc77, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. mc77 macrumors newbie

    Jan 7, 2009
    Hello Everyone,

    I’m hoping to get some advice/feedback on purchasing a second generation Drobo with firewire for my mac pro. I’ve almost completed ripping my dvd collection to itunes and as a result, my current system needs to be upgraded. Right now, the four hard drive bays in my mac pro have three 1tb drives in a RAID and one 2tb drive for backup. The backup disk is now full.

    My main question is this: down the road if I end up needing to expand storage again, has anyone daisy chained two Drobos together? Also, if I am just using the Drobo to store my itunes library, would there be any reason to buy the new Drobo s or fs instead? I know there are other storage solutions out there, but I like the easy setup of the Drobo system. If anyone has a similar setup out there, could you let me know how you like it? Cost is a concern, but not my main one. I am mostly concerned with getting a system that 1) just works, 2) easy to maintain, and 3) expandable in the future.

    Thanks in advance for any help on this,

  2. goodcow macrumors 6502a

    Aug 4, 2007
    At home, I have a DroboPro and a Drobo (2nd gen.) daisy chained together over FW800 on an '09 MacPro.

    At work, I have two DroboPro's daisy chained together over FW800 on an '08 MacPro.

    Both setups work perfectly fine.

    The biggest drawback to the standard Drobo is that it only supports single disk redundancy, or essentially RAID5. So if a drive fails, during the rebuild period, which can take several days, if you lose another drive, you lose everything.

    The S, FS, Pro, Pro FS, and Elite all support dual disk redundancy, or essentially RAID6.

    Also, the standard Drobo isn't exactly blazing fast, though it can definitely handle an iTunes library. Just don't expect to be able to edit HD video off of it in Final Cut or anything like that, it's really meant for archival storage. My Pro though, will give 60MB/sec read/write, no problem.

    You pay a premium with the Drobo's, but in my experience they do "just work." My DroboPro was originally 6x1TB. I expanded it to 7x1TB, then 8x1TB, then upgraded four of those drives to 2TB ones one at a time (so it's now 4x2TB and 4x1TB) and it's rebuilt fine every single time. Also had two drive failures on them at work, swapped them out with backup drives, rebuilt fine.

    However, as with all data you deem very important, don't trust a single copy of it to one device, whether that be a Drobo, or any other RAID device, or just a standard hard drive. Statistically, some Drobo's will fail spectacularly, just as any other setup. So keep your data in two places.

    Everything I deem very important on the DroboPro I have backed up a second time on the Drobo. Ideally I should have an off-site backup plan as well, but I don't yet. I've considered buying another Drobo and keeping it at work and shuttling the disk packs to and fro as I make monthly changes, but first I need to find a nice Pelican case to hold the drives securely.

    Hope this helps.
  3. mc77 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 7, 2009
    Thanks so much for your reply - very helpful to hear about your setup. I didn't realize the difference with the RAID between the different models so thanks for that as well. I do have my system backing up to Crashplan so I think I am okay with the risk of something happening during a re-build. From what you're saying, I think I should be fine with the second generation firewire model and that way I can use some of the saved funds to purchase the drives:)

    Thanks again
  4. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    I have two 2nd Gen Drobos daisy chained via FireWire. They work great. I've gone through multiple drive upgrades without issue. As goodcow mentioned, they are in no way speed demons, but, for your purposes, they should be fine.
  5. musicpenguy macrumors 65816

    Oct 29, 2006
    I am a huge fan of my DroboPro - it is connected to my Mac mini over ISCI (Ethernet) and it is fast reliable and have it setup so I can access everything on my iPad through ZumoCast and some other apps
  6. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    If your Drobo is meant to store your iTunes library, you still need a backup. It does not protect you from anything that might destroy your data such as a virus, accidental erasing, or even the Drobo itself corrupting the data.

    The Drobo protects you from a single hard drive failure and provides easy expandability. It is not a backup (unless you are using it as the backup drive).

    It is also in my experience very slow with large numbers of small files. Small numbers of large files it does better with. It may take a looooooong time to get your iTunes initially copied to it, but everyday use should be fine.
  7. mc77 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 7, 2009
    Thanks for your help everyone - I really appreciate it and I plan on ordering the drobo and giving it a try. Hopefully all will go well:)
  8. beaker7 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 16, 2009
    Drobo FS is crap. Ungodly slow.

    I have one for sale if you want it.

    Drobo S is ok as long as you've got time. It's about half as fast as normal FW800 drives, but it does what it advertises.
  9. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008

    I've read (somewhere, can't remember) that is makes 50MB/s read and over 35MB/s write, which isn't that bad for a NAS of that price.

    Can you tell us more?
  10. beaker7 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 16, 2009
    I have seen those speeds in absolute best case scenario. If one was using it for iTunes that would probably be fine - where you are transferring relatively few large files.

    I bought one as a time machine backup for 1 Mac Pro, 1 Macbook Pro and 1 Windows workstation on a gigabit switch.

    The FS generally worked ok for backing up the Macbook Pro, as the data amounts, after the first backup, were generally under 5 GB.

    Where it fell down for me was backing up large data amounts from the workstations, on the order of several hundred GB to ~1-1.5 TB. Even leaving it run all night, the initial backup never completed on my Mac Pro.

    TM of large data amounts over the LAN (gigabit) to the Drobo FS takes forever, especially if the Time Machine backups happen to overlap on several connected machines. Additionally, transferring thousands of small files (system files, etc) over any IP protocol takes forever, and the slow processor in the Drobo FS seems to make it worse.

    It would probably work for some people with less data, but for me it was painful. I went back to having a large external FW drive for each machine and my backups zip along now in the ~80MB/S range.
  11. Cuckoo macrumors 6502

    May 2, 2003
    The Netherlands - Utrecht
    I have a second generation drobo. Directly connected to a Mac mini with a fw800 cable. No other devices daisy chained.

    It works as advertised but in my scenario the drobo wasn't fast enough to stream hd movies to an apple tv using iTunes. Which disappointed me quite a bit!

    And the mini and appletv are connected by ethernet 100mbit.
  12. philipma1957, Oct 25, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2010

    philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
  13. beaker7, Oct 25, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2010

    beaker7 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 16, 2009
    I moved to the Elite-AL Pro Qx2. In general it's good and fast, unless you want to use RAID 5. It freaks out about once a week when using RAID 5. :(
  14. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    forget raid5 with the qx2. not reliable. but with the two
    pieces (8bay rosewill +qx2) I am using I am good to go.

    Nanofrog has pretty much convinced me that raid5 is very hard to get right Hi end pcie cards along with ups/aps devices runs quite a bit a dough for a good raid5
  15. suppose macrumors newbie

    Jun 13, 2007
    philipma1957, how do you have your Qx2 setup? Raid 1? Does it require RAID software in order to set it up? What type of drives are you using in it? Also, is it appropriate to be left on all the time and connected to an airport extreme to be used wirelessly?

    As you can see, I'm very interested in getting one.
  16. beaker7 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 16, 2009
    No. It's built in. There is a toggle switch to select the RAID level.
  17. philipma1957, Oct 26, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2010

    philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    okay my QX2 uses a long firewire 10 ft and it is in my garage directly under my computer room. FW800 can do 15 ft. I leave it on 24/7. I have 4 1.5tb hdds in it. caviar blacks from newegg.


    I set the switch in the qx2 for raid0 this gives me 6tb. 2 partitions 1 is 1.5tb the other is 4.5tb for time machine.

    the small partition is a clone of my entire software raid0 in the pro. MY pro has a 6tb raid0 (osx/work/data) volume that I keep under 1.2tb this lets the system fly and makes it easy to clone. My setup is more of a hobbists not a work/processor machine. Although I do some IT work and mods with the pro.

    Now most people would say your setup is not safe if the software raid0 fails in the pro and the qx2 fails all is lost. well I have the 8bay sans digital as JBOD. with 2 more clones of the software raid0 in the pro. along with 3 data drives ( mostly movies videos tv shows music) and copies of them.. so that is how I can be safe with raid0.

    I get away with the raid0 because I have the second unit the sans digital with extra copies. the raid0 is what gives good speed. the question for you is how much are you backing up. I am backing up .8 to 1.2tb osx/data/work raid0 in the pro and 6tb of data in the sans digital.

    If you just want the qx2 you need to do a raid10. it will run 24/7 with out crashing and a raid10 is pretty safe. Also if your are using your airport extreme I think the connection is usb2 between the qx2 and the airport extreme. so it will be slow 30 MB/s tops.

    Am I correct in saying that you would connect to the qx2 with a usb cord from the extreme? If this is true then you won't go past 25mb/s to 30mb/s that USB2 connection is the slow spot.
  18. suppose macrumors newbie

    Jun 13, 2007
    yea, i do know that connecting it via usb to the base station results in a fairly slow connection. but this is for a laptop, so it is more for the convenience. for transfers of large amounts of data i would definitely do a wired connection.

    how exactly does raid 10 work? i don't know much about it.

    initially i was thinking of just doing a raid 1. of course that would leave 2 empty bays. can it do 2 simultaneous raid 1 and have them show up as separate volumes?

    am i correct in my research that raid 5 is pretty unstable on these enclosures? seems a little odd seeing as that is what they default them to.

    also, what is your feeling of the Western Digital My Book Studio II? it allows for a raid 1 setup with dual 2tb drives.

    i am just looking for something secure to archive my data and do some serving of itunes mp3s.

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