Drobo Mini vs Promise J4! Which one to buy ?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Khendal, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. Khendal macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    #1
    Hello, i'm a new happy owner of iMac Late 2013.

    I'm looking for a review o comparison about Drobo mini and Promise J4 because i need to buy 1 of them and i don't know which one.

    So the J4 is only thunderbolt then no windows compatibility but it's also faster and quiet right?

    The Mini instead , has thunderbolt and usb3 for a windows compatibility, is it also possible to start up in bootcamp?

    Uff... i'm really undecided.
    Thanks for any advice.
     
  2. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #2
    I've never used a Drobo Mini but I do own two other models of Drobos. Don't let their marketing material fool you, they are slow. As far as I can tell, they can't even saturate a Firewire connection. Their main selling point is their ability to use drives of any capacity and to dynamically increase in capacity when larger drives are installed. This makes them wonderful for archival but not so good if you need to access the data regularly. I can't really comment on noise because I have mine tucked away in a corner and access them over a network so I never hear them. As far as I know, you can not boot from a Drobo.

    This is the first time I'd ever heard of the Promise J4. I looked at it briefly on the Promise website just now. It appears that they only offer RAID 0, 1, and JBOD. This means they can not dynamically increase in capacity the way the Drobos can. But they should be much faster. It appears that booting might be possible on the J4.
     
  3. priitv8 macrumors 68020

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    Estonia
    #3
    Which specific Drobo models do you own, that you are referring to?
    The 2012 model range (mini/5D/5N) actually show 3x performance improvement over Drobo FS and fare quite well in tests ("multicore" ARM vs Dual-Core in FS). Esp if equipped with the mSATA SSD accelerator.
    Check this: http://onemansblog.com/2013/04/05/synology-ds1512-vs-drobo-5n-head-to-head-comparison/
    Pay attention, that the Syno DS1512+ runs on Dualcore (2C/4T) 2.13GHz Intel Atom, but the speed diff to 5N is only 15-20%.
     
  4. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #4
    I have the Drobo mini and I've been impressed and happy with its performance and reliability.

    The price differences seem negligible between the two models. Its seems that the J4 only supports Raid 0 (stripping), Raid 1 (mirroring) and JBOD, while the drobo offers their propriety BeyondRaid which appears to be something like a RAID 5 set up.

    I think drobo use of parity raid offers better protection but you are going with a proprietary solution which carries its own risks.

    I've had to deal with Drobo's tech support and I was pleasantly pleased at the professionalism and quick turn around in resolving the product.

    I think overall you cannot go wrong with either unit, the drobo mini is a solid product but does use non standard replication/mirroing while the J4 uses standard RAID, its only up to RAID 1. For a 4 drive enclosure, I would want something like a RAID 5 setup but that's just me.
     
  5. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #5
    I have two Drobo S models. Judging by the link you provided, they've made massive improvements to speed. onemansblog showed over 80MB/s. I'm lucky to see half that. But even at 80MB/s, I'd imagine that has to be slower than a traditional striped array running off Thunderbolt.
     
  6. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Location:
    Boston
    #6
    When I first got my drobo mini I was easily seeing speeds close to 400mbs.
    speeds
    drobo_tb1.png

    For some reason it slowed down to half that. I'm guessing the drive filled up is causing some of the performance slow downs but also I had updated OSX, right around the time I saw the performance drop (plus I have the TB to USB adapter connected to it as a pass through which may further contribute)

    drobo_usb.png
    Anyways I'm floating between 200 to 250. I'm at work now so I can't take a more accurate measurement but here's one that was taking a while ago.
     
  7. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    Sep 15, 2006
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    New York City, NY
    #7
    Wow. Those are very impressive speeds. I guess it's time I looked in to upgrading my old models...
     
  8. priitv8 macrumors 68020

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    Estonia
    #8
    How have they served you so far? Have you experienced any major problems? Did you have chance to test their technical customer service?
     
  9. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #9
    They have never skipped a beat. Prior to these, I had the 2nd gen Drobos and they were also reliable.

    I've never had a reason to contact technical support.
     
  10. priitv8 macrumors 68020

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    Jan 13, 2011
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    Estonia
    #10
    Thanks for confiming. I am also looking for a 5-bay easily expandable disk array and Drobo has catched my attention due to slick design of both hard- and software. Remaining questions for me are precisely the proprietary disk format (aka recoverability) and reliability. Seems like only trouble stories make it to the Internet, that's why I was asking.
     
  11. Khendal thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    #11
    I've just ordered a Promise J4 for my SSD... maybe next time i will order a Drobo 5D for my 3.5" drives from a Mac Pro sold 2 days ago :D
     
  12. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

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    #12
    A lot of the tests do rely heavily on the file sizes you are using. I think there is an option in BMST to change the stress file size. Results can differ greatly when a bunch of smaller files are referenced as opposed to a few larger ones. But back OT...I have a Pegasus R4 which is divide into two arrays..It is quiet, reliable and very fast. I know they are expensive, but worth the money IMO. The J series is great if you don't need larger capacity though, but I think they are a little overpriced for their size.
     
  13. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

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    #13
    This shot is on the array that has the most data on it at present...Wait a while and the read speeds do improve, but you get the idea!
     

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  14. brand macrumors 601

    brand

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2006
    Location:
    127.0.0.1
    #14
    mb ≠ MB

    m = milli
    M = mega

    b= bit
    B = byte

    mb = millibits
    MB = megabytes

    I am willing to be that you were seeing speeds much higher than 400mbs (400mbps).
     
  15. HenryAZ macrumors 6502

    HenryAZ

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2010
    Location:
    South Congress AZ
    #15
    I looked seriously at the J4, until I learned that booting is not possible. Here is the response I received from Promise on that:

    "Here is the latest info on booting from Pegasus devices:

    The J4 has to use a driver for Mac OS X as there is no EFI (BIOS)
    support for it at the initial release, but it will be added in the next
    Service Release - but that date is not yet determined as all resources
    are engaged in Thunderbolt2 work to support the MacPro release. So you
    can boot from the R4/6 and J2, but not the J4 at this time...

    For Windows, there is no EFI/BIOS support at all for booting from
    Thunderbolt devices..."
     
  16. Pheo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2011
    #16
    Its a bit of a misnomer that RAID arrays are fully recoverable, but somehow the versions put forward by Drobo, Synology etc are not. RAID Arrays tend not to be recoverable unless you find a replacement host device with the same specifications, setup in the same way.

    I'm getting my drobo mini swapped out - I queried with support that it seemed a bit noisy, they did a diagnostic, and determined they wanted to swap it out - all I need do to "recover" my data is put the disks in the turned off, replacement Drobo, and hey presto, it'll rebuild.
     

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