Drobo or......?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Resist, Jun 8, 2011.

  1. Resist macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #1
    I don't have a backup solution and have wanted something for years. I have several computers, Mac and PC. I have been thinking about a Drobo for the redundancy, but am not sure if it will address my needs. It has to work with my home wireless network that uses a Linksys wireless router, so it can backup all my household computers.

    I saw something that said the Drobo was rather slow as wireless backup, but I can't get anyone at the Drobo site to answer my questions to confirm this or not.

    I had thought about replacing my Linksys with an Apple Tiime capsule but I really don't need another wireless router and it doesn't have redundancy.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #2
    I took a good hard look at the Drobo a few months ago and decided that although its dead simple to setup, it was just too slow at transfers (forget about over WiFi backup or hosting my movie collection!). I ended up dropping my desire for a backup system at that time, but before I gave up my search I was on the path towards getting a dual HDD SATA enclosure with 2x2Tb drives in it. The G-Tech is what I had my eye on though its price was a bit high :(

    Would be best to get yourself an enclosure with eSATA or FW800 on it.
     
  3. blevins321 macrumors 68030

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    Dec 24, 2010
    Location:
    Winnipeg, MB
    #3
    Good god not a Drobo. Their "Pro" series might be faster but I had nothing but trouble with my home/office model. I went with a replacement Synology DS411j and I absolutely love it. I wrote about my Drobo troubles HERE and a review about the DS411j HERE.

    It quite speedy and includes Time Capsule support without having to do custom sparse bundles. Initial investment if you populate all 4 drive bays would be about $150 more than a 2TB Time Capsule. Figure 350 for the unit, and 4 2TB drives@$75. Total would be about $650 and a new 2TB Time Capsule would be $500. If you put 4 2TB drives into the unit, you'll have 1.86GBx3 actual free space available for use after one drive lost to redundancy and space misadvertisement.

    Edit: If this is too steep at the beginning, they do sell a 2-bay model for $200, or you can just put 2 drives in the 4-bay and have future expansion options. See HERE for a model comparison. And the common ones are available on Amazon. And also, if you're going to be doing wireless transfers, make sure that you have an N router. G would be terrible if there is more than one computer accessing any NAS at the same time.
     
  4. Resist, Jun 8, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2011

    Resist thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #4
    The backup has to be accessible to all my home computers wirelessly. I have an Linksys WRT160N router with all but one ethernet port being used.
     
  5. nightfly13 macrumors 6502a

    nightfly13

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Location:
    Ranchi, India
    #5
    +1 on Synology ds411j
    Very happy with mine.
     
  6. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #6
    +2 on a Synology NAS. I have a cheap & cheerful DS110j
     
  7. maclaptop macrumors 65816

    maclaptop

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2011
    Location:
    Western Hemisphere
    #7
    Mines exemplary. A great buy.
     
  8. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #8
    I have a LaCie Network Space 2 and I'm quite happy with it. At a modest price, it more than surpasses others in the same price range including models from Western Digital, Buffalo and Seagate. One differentiator? It powers itself back on after loss of power (unlike all but WD). Another? It includes FTP without paying a monthly subscription (unlike Seagate).
     
  9. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #9
    As do all the Synology NAS. They also support Time Machine, web cams, power on/off schedules, one button USB photo transfer, LAMP and all sorts of stuff.

    Just got updated too!
     
  10. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2010
    Location:
    Winnipeg, MB
    #10
    One cool feature regarding power outage support is that they support USB input from a limited number of UPS's. Mainly APC but it also reads from my Geek Squad (rebranded CyberPower). Can do autoshutdown when the battery reports as low.
     
  11. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #11
    Oh yeah..... and of course make sure there's an RJ-45 jack!
     
  12. Resist thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #12
    Okay so it sounds like a Synology backup is the way to go. Other than its speed, why is it better than Drobo? I thought Drobo had all these special features others don't have.

    Now to try and figure out which Synology backup to get.
     
  13. Paulywauly macrumors 6502a

    Paulywauly

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2009
    Location:
    Durham, UK
    #13
    I'd go for the Synology. I'm a Drobo owner and was dragged in by the cool expandability features etc So far i've had 4 replacements for one Drobo version 2, all with serious faults. such as:

    - Incorrectly detecting bad drives
    - Displaying incorrect drive capacities
    - Bad fans and thermal control
    - Broken drive doors and dusty enclosures

    Great idea in theory, but in my experience poorly put together.
     
  14. Sarmiento macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    #14
    I purchased a Synology DS1511+ a few months back and very happy with its performance. My friend has a DROBO and he says it's very slow.
     
  15. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2010
    Location:
    Winnipeg, MB
    #15
    Drobo doesn't really have many special features. I guess it was the first among many to support a "hybrid RAID" setup that lets you use drives of different sizes, brands, etc... instead of the normal RAID that requires similar drives. Synology (as well as QNAP and others) quickly created their own version of the technology. Synology has the added benefits of a killer UI and great server features included. They update their software quite often, too. :)
     
  16. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #16
    Personally I would go with the QNAP TS-419P+ for a ready made NAS. After researching the topic thoroughly this is the best ready built NAS for the money. The QNAP's have a faster file transfer speed than the Synology.

    Advantages of QNAP
    - Hot Swappable Hard Drives
    - Faster CPU
    - More RAM
    - Dual Gigabit Ethernet (supports teaming)
    - Lower Power consumption
    - eSATA
    - RSYNC Servere/Client
    - More robust software feature set so you can have business class features in a home NAS.

    Disadvantages
    - Price
    - No Airplay support (yet)

    Also buy Enterprise class hard drives. They are designed for RAID environments and will be more reliable in that purpose.

    True it is more expensive than the Synology. But once you include the cost of decking them out with hard drives the percentage difference becomes much less for a faster more robust device.

    If you want a cheaper solution you can get the TS-219P+ which supports two hard drives. You can also get the slower TS-410 or TS-412 which all over virtually the same features they are just slower.

    Personally I would build a FreeNAS device. So that for the price of the TS-419P+ I could have something that performs on par with the TS-459 Pro II.

    One of the biggest speed problems you will have is the wireless backup if you have a lot of data. I have never seen an instance where even on an 802.11n network with devices three feet from the router that performance even came close to that of 100mb Ethernet. Let alone a gigabit connection. The first backup will be the worst. After that it shouldn't be bad unless you are creating a lot of media files.

    If you really want speed. Buy a Gigabit switch and wire your house up with Cat 6 cables.
     
  17. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2010
    Location:
    Virginia
    #17
    I have a Drobo 2 connected with FW800 and a Synology 411slim (uses 2.5 inch drives and is absolutely silent).

    The Drobo is slow as external drives go. I don't think wireless specifically is the issue, it seems like the disk I/O is slower than most devices, probably because it's all software RAID and has to take into account that it supports mixed drives.

    All of the Synology devices use the same software (at least all of the #11 models) and it is very nice. A bonus is that they have iOS apps to allow direct access to shares. The downside of the iOS apps is that they don't work all that well with iTunes, and if you use an iDevice, iTunes is king.

    For these devices, speed is relative to your usage. I have used my Drobo as a TimeMachine Target while connected to an AirPort Express via USB. I found its performance perfectly acceptable for that purpose. WHile connected in the same way, I was trying to rip DVDs encoded in Handbrake directly to the Drobo and its performance was a big problem there. I ran my iTunes library from the Drobo for a while (direct connected, not throur the AirPort), and had no issues with performance. It's fast enough to stream media, but transferring a large library takes longer than it might form a different device.

    The benefits that I see in Drobo are:
    Super simple to set up
    Use any combination of SATA drives (size, speed, make, model can all be mix & match)
    Makes it very obvious if you need to do something - like replace a faulty drive or add an additional or larger drive.

    Downsides for Drobo:
    Not fast (but still OK for most purposes)
    Difficulty restoring data in the event that the enclosure dies - this may have changed, but last I checked, you would have to send your drives off to Drobo and they would be able to restore them into a new unit - just plugging the drives into a new unit yourself would format them.

    The Drobo is not a bad device for someone who doesn't know or care about RAID. Barring a failure, "It Just Works". If you are interested in high performance and know about RAID, you can do much better with different devices. If you how to build a FreeNAS server, the DROBO is not for you...
     
  18. Bye Bye Baby macrumors 65816

    Bye Bye Baby

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Location:
    i(am in the)cloud
    #18
    Drobo is ideal for movie collections. It is fine for streaming video and audio, it is not good for speedy file transfers. If you have lots of data to movie, then you should be getting something with thunderbolt.
     
  19. Resist thread starter macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #19
    So can the other systems drives be replaced on the fly while running a video file without any hick ups or downtime, like the Drobo?
     
  20. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2010
    Location:
    Winnipeg, MB
    #20
    The 411J that I have doesn't support hotswapping, so you have to turn it off to put a new drive in (but it takes minutes). The higher Synology models support this, though.
     
  21. islandman macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2006
    #21
    I went with an Infrant (now NetGear) ReadyNAS with 4 drives. It has gigabit Ethernet and I've been happy with it so far. I've had it for 4+ years.

    For its replacement, I went with a QNAP TS-459. Yes, I still like the ReadyNAS, but QNAP looks much better now (on paper). I will have my QNAP in a few days and I am extremely happy with everything I have read about it.
     
  22. Resist thread starter macrumors 68030

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    Jan 15, 2008
    #22
    Then the Drobo does have a special feature. :rolleyes:
     
  23. psingh01 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #23
    I have an HP Media Smart Server. Yes it's based on windows, but it's an easy to use NAS that can also be used for Time Machine backups. It doesn't provide anything like RAID 5 though which is the biggest draw back. It can also do windows backups too.
     
  24. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #24
    The QNAP supports this. With RAID 6 you can even pull two drives at once. With RAID 5+ there is a hot replacement sitting there. So if a drive fails it will immediately start rebuilding the array while you order a replacement for the failed drive.
     
  25. MacFanJeff macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
    Location:
    IL, USA
    #25
    I have a Drobo "FS" for about 1 1/2 years now and had ZERO problems at all with it. It works quite well, runs fairly quiet and has no issues. Also, I can access files both on my Mac and PC just fine too.

    The software may be updated a bit less than others for new features, but I have no complaints. Plus, with the "FS", you can setup so there is protection against 2 HD failures so the likelyhood of 2 at the same time is very rare. I have not had any service issues and it has performed well.

    In terms of speed, yes, it is a little slow for wireless transfer, but for wired Gigabit Ethernet it works VERY well. I have no trouble streaming from it to my Apple TV.

    Best of luck in your shopping.
     

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