Drobo Raids, (ie D5) any users?

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by hugodrax, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. hugodrax macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2007
    What is your opinion of Drobo for Raid enclosures. I am thinking of getting a D5 when it has been out and reviewed first. It seems like a better solution than the Pegasus product line because it allows 5 drives and SSD tiering as well via msata.

    Are Drobos pretty reliable etc??
  2. Paulywauly macrumors 6502a


    Sep 26, 2009
    Durham, UK
    Can only speak from my own experience. I have a 2nd gen Drobo, it is in a sense "reliable" but it's noisy as hell & I have to use USB rather than FireWire as using it corrupts data on the array. I also have to physically unplug it from my Mac to switch it off lol

    Their customer service isn't bad, but not great either. I went through 5 replacements, all of which had worse issues than the one I was trying to sort out.
    1: just as loud (70DB when fan running!) erratic rebooting behaviour
    2: DOA
    3: was dusty when taken out of packaging, had dirt inside & a broken off drive door
    4: one of the drive bays didn't work
    5: showed incorrect storage capacity, falsely detected a drive failure.

    In the end I cut my losses & lived decided to just live with the quirks of the original one I tried to sort out.

    They are easier and more flexible than RAID, but you do pay a premium for that. I'd never buy another though, there are much cheaper products on the market that are highly reviewed and less buggy.

    That's just my experience with a single model though, newer ones may be different & it would be interesting to see examples from others too?
  3. OmegaRed1723 macrumors 6502


    Jun 19, 2009
    The Waste
    I own two Drobo 4-bay enclosures. One I've had for two years, the other for 11 months. Currently, I have four 3TB WD Caviar Green drives in each. They're connected to my Mac mini via FW800, the 2nd Drobo daisy-chained to the 1st. To date, I have had zero problems with either array. No random rebooting, no corrupting of data. I moved from 1TB to 2TB to 3TB drives on both arrays with no issues (other than the eternity it takes to redistribute the data across the drives). FireWire works as it should, although my read write speeds are still quite poor (~31MB/s). The speed problem has likely been addressed with the 5D. With 7200rpm drives the unit was audible, but after switching to 5400rpm Caviar Green drives the sound levels became a non-issue for me.

    I only paid $199/ea for my Drobos, which is less than comparable 4-bay solutions. I feel like I've gotten my money's worth. Shelling out $850 for an enclosure with no drives? Not so sure about that. Then again, I use mine for media storage only, so I don't need the fastest thing around.
  4. poloponies Suspended

    May 3, 2010
    I've had a 4-bay since they came out with a FW version (3 years?). Currently has 2X2TB and 2X3TB (started with 2X750GB and 2X1TB).

    Flawless operation. Had one drive fail outright, recovery to new drive was a piece of cake. The fan kicks in occasionally but isn't really an issue. Not only would I recommend a Drobo to someone, I've moved about 4 friends to it, not to mention our IT guy (we have 2 at work now).

    As is true for any Raid 5 you'd need to replace a failed drobo with another. They do offer warranty extensions if you're a worrier.
  5. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2008
    I have had to have my DroboPro replaced twice since I had it under warranty.
    Noise wise is not unbearable, however I have moved it beneath my desk away from the other kit.

    Not lost any data at all due to the replacement. As the Drobo is under warranty till may 2014, and only running Elgato and iTunes with a mac mini 2009 and feeding a mk1 ATV, then not replacing till then. I can easily stand the downtime without the drobo.

    However come 2014 will look at replacing as will be 5 years old then and unless things change will be getting a drobo unit then.
  6. MatthewAMEL macrumors 6502


    Oct 23, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    I love my Drobo v2 (4-bay, FW800).

    I have 2x2TB, 2x3TB connected to my Late2009 iMac. 6.3TB usable.

    I started it with 2x500GB drives.

    I took the plunge when the new Mini was announced and ordered a i7 Mini and pre-ordered a Drobo 5D.

    My original Drobo is going to be given Time Machine duty for all the house computers. The 5D will be iApps (iTunes/iPhoto/Aperture) and data.

    BTW- The new Drobo Mini and Drobo 5D have taken big strides in addressing the traditional Drobo weakness...speed. ~250MB/sec writes and ~400MB/sec reads.

  7. kappaknight macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2009
    If you're considering the Drobo, check out Synology for comparable products.
  8. Pheo, Nov 2, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2012

    Pheo macrumors regular

    Jun 13, 2011
    I was a bit of a drobo skeptic, but I had a long conversation with their VP products and a product demonstration at a recent trade fair.

    I have to admit I was impressed. We discussed the "non-standard RAID" approach at length. The main point being you cannot transfer from one array to another array unless of an identical controller/setup type with any RAID array, including Drobo. Therefore the widely held assumption that I should be able to plug my drives into any old computer and read the data off is wrong.

    Interestingly, he mentioned that the major drive recovery companies have software which will do this for RAID, including the Drobo.

    As far as the product demo went, I have to say I was somewhat impressed! Plug and play with live drives was pretty nice, and the array could be seen to dynamically rebuild itself. What I thought was quite nice is that if you re-insert a previously removed drive, it won't rebuild the entire drive, it'll recognize it and just re-index.

    Must admit I'm tempted by a 5D or Mini for use over T/Bolt on my Mini! Just a shame overall its a bit expensive (as are any other option for speed in this space).

    Personally I don't see Synology being a replacement - can't imagine my live aperture libraries being much fun over 10/100 ethernet/wireless!

    Although I have just looked at the prices and they are a bit eyewatering in the UK!

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