Drobo!, What do you think of it? Data Storage Robot

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Jordz, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. Jordz macrumors member

    Jordz

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Location:
    England, U.K
    #1
    OK so my Friend sends me a link to this site, and this Drobo is a Data Storage robot, so it says :)

    http://www.drobo.com/

    However its not RAID and I think its pretty cool, It's probably much better If you need space (which I do) instead of buying more external HD's when you need them?

    I would just like to know your opinions, and to the people who have never seen this device before, show them it ;)

    Is this better than normal external HD's?


    [​IMG]
     
  2. blodwyn macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    #2
    A lot of people love them. I bought one, loaded it up with disks, and applied the latest firmware update. It then went into a continuous reboot cycle, which is something quite a few people have reported. Even doing a factory reset, it still continuously rebooted. Fortunately I didn't have any data on it, but if I had, I would have been out of luck, as I couldn't have removed the drives and accessed my data due to the proprietary Drobo format on the disks.

    I returned it.
     
  3. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #3
    It's big... my drive is about a wallet size. a little bit bigger, and it can store all the data on my laptops hd, 120GB. So im happy, no need ot get TBs of storage... i dont think many ppl even use that much..
     
  4. Jordz thread starter macrumors member

    Jordz

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Location:
    England, U.K
    #4
    I know I use 100's of gigabytes of data i filled up most of my drives totaling over 400gig, I was thinking of getting one, but now cause of what you have said...I think i might lay of until december.
     
  5. cavemonkey50 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2007
    Location:
    Allentown, PA
    #5
    Don't worry what blodwyn said. It doesn't sounds like he contacted Drobo technical support. If he would have, he would have found out they could have overnighted him a replacement Drobo before he shipped his broken one back.

    While I have heard of the reboot issue, I haven't heard of it for quite some time, and there is a completely new version out now (2.0). The bugs should be worked out.
     
  6. bertpalmer macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2007
    #6
    I think the principle is good, and for people who NEED it, it is good (the idea.)

    It's my opinion that the drobo is highly overrated for what it is though. You can do the same thing for a lot less £££

    But if you have the £££ then why not splash out...
     
  7. Jordz thread starter macrumors member

    Jordz

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Location:
    England, U.K
    #7
    What are the cheaper options then?
     
  8. blodwyn macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    #8
    You are correct, I did not contact Drobo support. Upgrading the firmware to the latest level without rendering the device useless is one of my criteria for usage. Sorry, a great replacement program doesn't make up for a product deficiency. When the forum posts indicate they've fixed the update issue, I may try again.
     
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #9
    Yes, in theory it is much better than a plain external disk because
    • It can hold up to three times more data (up to 3TB)
    • It is redundant storage, it can continue to operate without data loss even if one of the drives inside fails
    • The price is not bad, fair price for a RAID unit

    Cons are:
    • If the drobo unit itself fails there is no way to get the data off the drives. You will need to replace the Drobo.
    • If the company goes under there will be no way to get replacement Drobos

    Just like any other kind of storage you MUST have a plan for what you are going to do if the Drobo unit fails, catches fire, is stolen or is crushed in an Earthquake. You can't just say that RAID will help you. You must have a backup plan. The rules is that at all times you need three copies of your data, on thee different media and in two geographic locations. A Drobo would "count" as one copy at one location.
     
  10. jeremy.king macrumors 603

    jeremy.king

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    #10
    I replaced an RAID set of externals with a Drobo. It's very easy to use and nice knowing that my data is pretty safe.

    My only complaint is fan noise is louder than I expected and I wish I would have waited for FW.
     
  11. Jordz thread starter macrumors member

    Jordz

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Location:
    England, U.K
    #11
    I guess I better get backing up then! :eek:
     
  12. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #12
    For the average user this seems like it would be a great data storage solution given the ease of setting up a redundant array and expanding that array.

    Some big limits or questions that would hold me back
    - How does the Drobo compare to a four disk RAID 5 array in read/write performance? Assuming you used matched disks in the Drobo.
    - Firewire 800 is great for connecting one computer. But limiting a multiple computer network to one gigabit ethernet port channeled through USB 2.0 sounds painfully slow. They should have at least piped it through FW800.
    - The unit should have at least two gigabit ethernet connections for faster networking.

    Personally I would build a simple PC with a good motherboard offering plenty of SATA ports and RAID 5. Then add a bunch of gigabit ethernet cards so that every computer or small clusters of computers could have independent gigabit connections. Since for $500 to $550 you can set up a tower running Linux as a server with a motherboard capable of handling up to an eight disk RAID 5 array with 5 gigabit ethernet controllers (1 built in and 4 cards). Although the PCI Bus may be a bottle neck in which case it would run another $100 for a board with ample PCIe slots and the slightly more expense PCIe gigabit ethernet cards.

    Though I have no need for that much server capacity or network bandwidth I would still choose the home brew Linux NAS as it would offer so much more bandwidth and storage expandability compared to the drobo for the same price. I mean total 5gb/s bandwidth and up to Eight drive capacity in RAID 5 compared to a 4 disc drobo networked at 480mb/s.:eek:

    For the average user not looking for supporting multiple computers on a network the Drobo would be great. I would advise though that if you are using this on a network to set up a FW800 network (cabling is pricey) or connect the Drobo to a server PC via FW800 then network via Gigabit to avoid that USB 2.0 bottleneck.
     
  13. blodwyn macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    #13
    This is an interesting alternative, using ZFS and Solaris. ZFS is also currently working on Leopard, but still under development, pending full release on Snow Leopard server. According to the MacOSForge discussion board, the developers will not be removing support in the regular Snow Leopard, but will not build a user friendly GUI for it. Considering how easy the ZFS CLI is, it hardly needs a GUI. It took a couple of commands to set up a RAIDZ filesystem on the 3 drives I've been experimenting with. So far, it's been running error free for the couple of months I've been using it.
     

Share This Page