Drobo V2 - Is this the best solution?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by SamNeeds, Oct 25, 2009.

  1. SamNeeds macrumors regular

    Dec 28, 2007

    I'm reading review after review for these Drobo V2's and I'm not being filled with confidence. One review can't say enough good about them, then the next says 'very unstable' etc etc.

    The Drobo, for me, seems perfect. It protects the data, it has expandability and has a great dashboard to keep an eye on everything with ease. And it's Firewire 800. Spot on. Unfortunately though, I'm finding it hard to justify the outlay for this.

    Ideally what I need is 2-3TB of storage for a varying array of tasks - VMWare, storage, Time Machine for multiple systems...and so on. Plus I need the peace of mind that the Drobo protection would give.

    I realise there are topics open for this already, some only opened in the past few days, but none have really hit the nail on the head with this.

    So, to conclude, can you give me an idea of whether is the ideal solution for what I need. I feel it is regardless of the reliability issues that various sources talk of. But I need to get a wider view before I put any £££ into this.

    My thanks in advance.
  2. Grimace macrumors 68040


    Feb 17, 2003
    with Hamburglar.
    Backups, by definition, aim to be 100% reliable. But, none is -- all can experience a mechanical or software error.

    I use a DroboPro, and think it is amazing for the following reasons:

    1. I can use multiple size drives together
    2. Single disk or dual-disk protection (most faults are on rebuild on a failed drive)
    3. Mindlessly easy interface
  3. SamNeeds thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 28, 2007
    Thanks Grimace. Would you say that the 'standard' Drobo still upholds the same level of reliability that the DroboPro has...?
  4. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    Just a warning, I came about this close to losing all the data I had stored on my Drobo. And if you browse the Drobo forums, others have had worse luck than me. I would be very wary, at least back up the Drobo to something else if you can.
  5. MovieCutter macrumors 68040


    May 3, 2005
    Washington, DC
    I've had 4 Drobos and never a problem, so maybe the forums are a vocal minority. I had the original USB one, then 2 FW800 ones, and recently the Pro...never had an issue.
  6. psingh01 macrumors 65816

    Apr 19, 2004
    I was scared off of Drobo's because of bad reviews. I wanted it to replace a RAID 5 array but was wary of running into trouble then losing all my data. It seems like the most Mac-like solution in terms of usability. I might reconsider at some point in the future.
  7. sl1200mk2 macrumors 6502

    Oct 17, 2006
    My feelings:

    1. Nothing is fool proof. Anything that can happen eventually will.

    2. You need to have solid backups in multiple locations if you're serious about your data.

    I'm strongly considering a Drobo V2 for home use, but they are (IMO) expensive for the feature set. The trade-off is the simplicity for the average user who just want a plug and play device that works as advertised. My needs at home are reasonably simple and I like the idea of a device that I can share with my non-techie wife and not have to give much instruction other than how to power it on and off.

    If you like options and versatility I would also recommend taking a look at the various QNAP boxes. They do everything the Drobo does and more while still being easy to use for intermediate level users (you know a thing or two about working on your computers). I have a TS-639 Pro at the office I use to backup virtual machines over iscsi and it's brilliant. Our backup jobs just pound it for 12-14 hours nightly (backing up 60 virtual machines) and it's been flawless. I use a RAID-6 configuration for added redundancy. It will handle drive migrations (swapping out larger drives, mixed sizes, etc) the same as the Drobo.

    One thing people don't always know is that it can take days or even a week or more to migrate drives depending on how much data you have. Moving about 3-5TB worth of data when you involve parity sets (RAID) is no trivial task for these little boxes, so don't come away with the feeling that you just pop in a new drive and 20 minutes later it's done. You can have days worth of rebuild time. It's during those rebuilds that your data is at the most risk (another drive failing).

    Good luck -
  8. SamNeeds thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 28, 2007
    yg17 - This is primarily the reason for my concerns; I've heard similar reports.

    sl1200mk2 - I just had a quick scan across the sites that the QNAP use to sell the QNAP here in the UK, but as far as I can see the only ones that are within my budget (up to £300) only have enough space for a maximum of 2 drives. The Drobo offers 4.
  9. tri3limited macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2008
    I have a V2 drobo... Fantastic! More reliable than external WDs by a long long way, and the FW800 makes it pretty quick. I wouldn't hesitate in getting the drobo pro next time I have a lot of spare cash lying around!
  10. Eric S. macrumors 68040

    Eric S.

    Feb 1, 2008
    Santa Cruz Mountains, California
    I'm wary of the Drobo because a) it uses a proprietary data format (no third-party tools available to repair your data if it becomes corrupt), and b) data management uses software, which always has potential failures. I wouldn't trust the Drobo as my sole data backup mechanism.
  11. SamNeeds thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 28, 2007
    So what would you trust if you had a requirement for TB's worth of storage that was 'safe'?
  12. Eric S. macrumors 68040

    Eric S.

    Feb 1, 2008
    Santa Cruz Mountains, California
    For any data that I absolutely didn't want to lose I'd probably want three backup copies, like a Time Machine backup plus a CCC or SuperDuper copy of the disk plus another copy in some other format. And then I would keep at least one of those backup copies in a different physical location.
  13. SamNeeds thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 28, 2007
    Ok, in that case, that would be way over my budget limits if it were to meet my space requirements.

    In that case, would a Drobo be the best solution for my budget?
  14. SamNeeds thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 28, 2007
    Out of curiousity, would it be possible for my Macbook Pro to back up to Timemachine wirelessly to a Drobo attached to my iMac (without having to use a DroboShare)?
  15. dwd3885 macrumors 68020

    Dec 10, 2004
    if you have a router like the AirPort Extreme you can hook up a hard drive via usb port on the router and you have a wireless hard drive.
  16. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
  17. pprior macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    I've owned a V2 drobo since they were released. It has been stable, and is a very user friendly piece of equipment.

    however, the performance on the thing was abysmal. Routinely 12-15mb/sec reads and writes were all I would ever get out of the thing.

    It therefore was relegated to living in the basement hung off my AEBS as a time machine drive for my kids and wifey laptop. It was just way too slow even for my own TM backup use. I regularly import 8-24GB of RAW files and the thing would just grind away forever trying to back that up.

    So stability and ease of use I rate highly, but know what you're going to need performance-wise first.
  18. rhett7660 macrumors G4


    Jan 9, 2008
    Sunny, Southern California
    I had the drobo v1. Was using it with my Mac Pro. I have not used or tried any other version.

    I had mine hooked up via usb. Everytime my Mac Pro would go to sleep, it would kick the drobo off and it would either A) kernal panic my machine or B) the drobo would not come back on period.

    I spend two days of about 4-5 hours each day on the line with their tech support. We could not figure it out.

    I ended up returning the unit and getting something else.

    Your milage may very. As you can see others have had problems and other have not. You will see the same in the forum. Just like if you visit the other sections of this forum you will see people having problems with every product made by Apple, and others haven't had any.

    If you do get one, just make sure you get it from a place that has a good return policy, just in case you don't like it or it fails on you.

    Good luck with your descision.
  19. SamNeeds thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 28, 2007
    I can't justify the outlay for this given my concerns. Review after review, post after post, I see more negatives than positives. So, because of the cost of this, I'm going to look elsewhere.

    What to do? I'm thinking I could either prioritise my data, so buy singular external HDD's for non-important data and then for any HDD bought for important data, I'll buy a like for like to clone it on.


    Keep looking for something similar to the Drobo.

    I'm tending to think I'll go with the former.

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