Drobo vs. Synology?

Mork

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Original poster
Jan 9, 2009
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I'm interested in setting up a NAS Time Machine backup for our networked Macs.

From my research there are two competing options: Drobo 5N (network version) and Synology.

Based on the reviews I've read, Drobo seems to have had problems yet David Sparks and Katie Floyd on the 5by5 podcast seem to love it. On Amazon, Synology seems to get excellent reviews.

Since either these options is far from free or inexpensive, I was just wondering if anyone had any recommendations one way or the other or had had good/bad experiences with either option.

Thanks in advance.

m
 

DFWHD

macrumors regular
Aug 6, 2011
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I've been using TM on a Synology DS1511+ for over a year now. Backups are speedy, but restores are a little time consuming. Synology also has the Disk Station Manager (DSM) software which is quite handy and offers other plug in apps.
 
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Mork

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 9, 2009
422
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I've been using TM on a Synology DS1511+ for over a year now. Backups are speedy, but restores are a little time consuming. Synology also has the Disk Station Manager (DSM) software which is quite handy and offers other plug in apps.
Thanks, appreciate your reply.

-m
 

maflynn

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May 3, 2009
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If you have a single computer, or will only be accessing the the drive from a single computer, I'd recommend a DAS over a NAS because the performance will be superior.

If you go with a DAS, I'd recommend a Drobo 5D, if you have a need for a NAS then the Synology is a better product and I recommend that over the DROBO.

I have a Qnap NAS but I found for my needs a DAS is a better fit and use a Drobo Mini and my backups blindingly fast along with all my disk i/o. I still use the NAS as a secondary backup device buy my primary backup drive is the Drobo mini.
 

Mork

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 9, 2009
422
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If you have a single computer, or will only be accessing the the drive from a single computer, I'd recommend a DAS over a NAS because the performance will be superior.

If you go with a DAS, I'd recommend a Drobo 5D, if you have a need for a NAS then the Synology is a better product and I recommend that over the DROBO.

I have a Qnap NAS but I found for my needs a DAS is a better fit and use a Drobo Mini and my backups blindingly fast along with all my disk i/o. I still use the NAS as a secondary backup device buy my primary backup drive is the Drobo mini.
Since we want to centralize (automate) our TM backups and create shares for network users, it sounds like the Synergy product would be a better bet.

Thanks,
 

Gav2k

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Jul 24, 2009
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My vote is for drobo! Have a 4 bay USB model and a 5n and love the simple faultless performance from both.
 

maflynn

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Since we want to centralize (automate) our TM backups and create shares for network users, it sounds like the Synergy product would be a better bet.

Thanks,
Synoloy offers a lot of features along with using it as a backup, including accessing shares from your iPhone, cloud type features and iTunes streaming, tbh, I don't know Drobo offers these since I use the DAS which in reality is just an an external disk
 

Mork

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Original poster
Jan 9, 2009
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My vote is for drobo! Have a 4 bay USB model and a 5n and love the simple faultless performance from both.
I like the Drobo too, but have been scared away from the negative reviews.
 

maflynn

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I like the Drobo too, but have been scared away from the negative reviews.
I'd say both companies, Drobo and Synology have garnered poor marks in the customer service department. One reason I opted for Qnap at the time was that they seemed to have more positive reviews with customer support and they use standard RAID formats, where as both Drobo and Synology use proprietary. With the Synology you can choose a standard RAID setup.

FWIW, even with the argument of customer support and proprietary RAID formats, I went ahead and got a Drobo Mini - go figure :p
 

Gav2k

macrumors G3
Jul 24, 2009
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I like the Drobo too, but have been scared away from the negative reviews.
Honestly touch wood neither of my units have skipped a beat!! My 4bay has 4-5 years up time now and recovered from 3-4 drive failures.

My 5n purchased at launch has been flawless.
 

monsieurpaul

macrumors regular
Oct 8, 2009
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0
Keep in mind that Time Machine is not officialy supported on non-Apple hardware. I am a very happy owner of a Synology NAS, but I wouldn't recommend it (or Drobo) for Time Machine backup. It will work most of the time, then one day it will reconstruct your backup due to corruption issue.
 

esskay

macrumors 6502
Jan 3, 2008
305
7
I have a Synology and love it. I might have gotten a QNAP instead because it seemed a little better but was quite a bump up in price that I couldn't justify.

The Drobo seemed more proprietary, so I stuck with typical RAID protocol.

I will say that about 3 times a year (it seems), TM kicks out an error and I have to reconstruct my Time machine backup and start over from scratch. Not sure why that happens, but from googling around it seems fairly common and I couldn't find a suggested solution. It hasn't been a big deal except for the annoyance of how long it takes -- unless you have a catastrophic event at just the wrong time... Then it would surely suck!

----------

Keep in mind that Time Machine is not officialy supported on non-Apple hardware. I am a very happy owner of a Synology NAS, but I wouldn't recommend it (or Drobo) for Time Machine backup. It will work most of the time, then one day it will reconstruct your backup due to corruption issue.
So did you get a Time Capsule specifically for TM backups, then backup the TC to your NAS on a regular basis? I got my Synology because of how versatile it is, and I love it. But it is very annoying that I have to periodically redo the whole TM backup. And if it were to happen at just the wrong time... :(

Would be just as annoying to have to get another device just for TM backups but maybe that's the safer thing to do?
 

John Kotches

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Jan 19, 2010
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Troy, IL (STL Area)
I'd say both companies, Drobo and Synology have garnered poor marks in the customer service department. One reason I opted for Qnap at the time was that they seemed to have more positive reviews with customer support and they use standard RAID formats, where as both Drobo and Synology use proprietary. With the Synology you can choose a standard RAID setup.

FWIW, even with the argument of customer support and proprietary RAID formats, I went ahead and got a Drobo Mini - go figure :p
There are a couple of things here that I'll respond to as a very satisfied owner of a Synology Disk Station.

First, Synology gives you the option of either traditional RAID or SHR (Synology Hybrid Raid). Use what you please.

Second, in the end, everybody's RAID is proprietary to an extent. You can't pull drives from one vendor's RAID-5 and plop it down in another and have it be a fait accompli. It might work for a simple RAID-0 but in the end it will come down to the private section that everyone uses to define their raid configurations. These aren't going to work when you go from Vendor A to Vendor B.
 

ColdCase

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Feb 10, 2008
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Keep in mind that Time Machine is not officialy supported on non-Apple hardware. I am a very happy owner of a Synology NAS, but I wouldn't recommend it (or Drobo) for Time Machine backup. It will work most of the time, then one day it will reconstruct your backup due to corruption issue.
Yes this. Seems to be more of an issue after TimeMachine starts pruning. With most Mac OS releases Apple tweaks timemachine and sometimes it takes months for third party equipment to catch up.

I have a time capsule and solid synology NAS (I use CCC to backup to the NAS), but the inexpensive NAS boxes are not powerful enough to do much beside file serving (which they do very well). If I had to do it over again, however, I'd spend a little more up front $$$ and set up a refurbbed mac mini as a file server and timemachine storage and attach the DAS (or just a bunch of drives) of my choice. In the end, a significant amount of capability for just a few $$$.

The higher end NASs have more performance, but for the cost of those you could have a nice mini media center and file server set up.
 
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iNewbie

macrumors regular
Aug 25, 2006
125
1
Avoid Drobo at all costs...

I've had 2 Drobo's... both died... never again.

The last one was a 5 disc version. I had set 2 discs for redundancy. But that doesn't help at all if the file system goes bad I found out. :( Drobo tech support tried to help me and i was impressed by that but the problem should not have happened and there was no solution. :(

Just bought a Synology 1813+ I believe it is. Very impressed so far. much faster then my networked Drobo ever was. I really like the software - looks like you can back up to Glacier and do a lot of things.

I'm very happy with the Synology.
 

spaz8

macrumors 6502
Mar 3, 2007
407
8
I have a Drobo Gen2 hooked up with FW800, thats still kicking, but its slow. The Drobo's have always been slow from all the tests I have seen, even the new SSD mini.

I started with 4x750 GB drives and have replaced and expanded to the point I have 4x 2TB drives.. and it takes like 50 hrs :( to rebuild after drive swap.

The Synology drive 412 looks nice.
 

alphaod

macrumors Core
Feb 9, 2008
22,047
1,104
NYC
With a Drobo, it's very easy to setup. Just put in whatever drives you have and then away you go! Also lets you upgrade one drive at a time which is nice to have. But if something goes wrong, you're basically screwed.

Never used a Synology, but I've owned many Drobos and they don't appeal to me anymore after a couple failures.
 

esskay

macrumors 6502
Jan 3, 2008
305
7
Time Machine issue just happened again with my Synology… :( According to my log the last time this happened was Nov 2013.

"Time Machine completed a verification of your backups. To improve reliability, Time Machine must create a new backup for you."



Does anyone have any suggestions to avoid this? Is the only guaranteed solution to buy one of Apple's Time Capsules to use as the TM destination, and then subsequently back that up to the NAS on a schedule? That's extra cost and complexity that I had intended to avoid by purchasing a NAS that was supposed to be TM compatible. :(

If that's the only way to go, does this same error never happen with Apple Time Capsules?

Thanks all.
 

blueroom

macrumors 603
Feb 15, 2009
6,374
25
Toronto, Canada
Time Machine issue just happened again with my Synology… :( According to my log the last time this happened was Nov 2013.

"Time Machine completed a verification of your backups. To improve reliability, Time Machine must create a new backup for you."

Image

Does anyone have any suggestions to avoid this? Is the only guaranteed solution to buy one of Apple's Time Capsules to use as the TM destination, and then subsequently back that up to the NAS on a schedule? That's extra cost and complexity that I had intended to avoid by purchasing a NAS that was supposed to be TM compatible. :(

If that's the only way to go, does this same error never happen with Apple Time Capsules?

Thanks all.
Which Synology and what DS version are you on?
 

maflynn

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Staff member
May 3, 2009
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Boston
Time Machine issue just happened again with my Synology…
FWIW, I've gotten this on my qnap, so much so, I now use a drobo mini to hold my TM backup :(

I don't know of any solution other then to do what it says
 

Mork

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 9, 2009
422
14
FWIW, I've gotten this on my qnap, so much so, I now use a drobo mini to hold my TM backup :(

I don't know of any solution other then to do what it says
Interesting.

Based on all these all over the place reviews, I'll skip both (drobo & synology). Neither is that important if they just end up giving you issues later.

Fortunately, these are all "nice to have" technologies...

-m
 

AuroraProject

macrumors 65816
Feb 19, 2008
1,113
11
Right there
I have a Synology DS412+ and use it as a media hub and Time Machine for 2 Macs. I haven't had any problems at all, and it's fast and quiet.