fault tolerance for fault tolerance (DROBO or similar back-up solution)

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by jb60606, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. jb60606 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2008
    • My iTunes library is approaching 1TB in size
    • My single Time Machine back-up drive is 1TB in size
    • I'm considering purchasing a DROBO, to expand my back-up solution

    If a drive in a DROBO fails, it reportedly takes up to 48hrs to rebuild the array; leaving the user(s) without fault tolerance for nearly 2 days and, not to mention, it puts extra stress on the remaining DROBO drives opening the door for a catastrophic failure. I like the idea of the DROBO, but this concerns me to the point where I'd actually be willing to backup my data using a DROBO, then purchase either another DROBO or similar device to do a secondary backup.

    • Is anyone else doing something similar?
    • Should the secondary array back up the primary (DROBO), or should it backup the source data?
    • Can you think of a better architecture?
    • Is there a more viable/cheaper solution?

    Thanks in advance
  2. rhyx macrumors 6502

    Jan 15, 2008
    It all depends on how much money you have to spend. I would rather run my own RAID instead of relying on a device like a DROBO. Just remember fault tolerance (RAID) is not a backup.

    Right now I have a RAID5 and a RAID10 (each with 4 drives) on a 3Ware 8-port SATA card. This card is inside of a dual processor server that has room for about 10 hard drives. I keep things that don't require much IO on the RAID5 and things that require a lot of IO on the RAID10. I don't really have any other backup besides this - but if the whole thing tanked I wouldn't be too upset.

    For my most important things I keep those synced to Dropbox (50GB) and also keep a copy on an external hard drive (through Time Machine) as well as on the SSD in my MBA. I figure the chance of all 3 locations failing is pretty small.
  3. golfhero macrumors member

    Nov 24, 2008
    Drobo is a good option. I find it is slower to re-build raid sets than other hardware raid solutions, but it is ultra simple and I like that capacity / status options on the box. Remember than any raid array will take time to rebuild if one of the disks fails. If you are running a bunch of 1TB drives it will take many hours to rebuild regardless of who you use. As someone else pointed out - it depends how much money you are willing to spend - in my opinion, backing up a raid array is still a good idea. Look at the issues Carbonite had with Promise (who they are now suing)...
  4. 3247 macrumors regular

    Feb 9, 2008
    The only way to avoid that gap is using RAID 6 (=RAID(n,2)), RAID(n,3),... It's not going to get cheaper.

    However, please remember that Time Machine is not a complete backup solution. If anything goes wrong during the backup (excess voltage, bug in the file system driver, computer virus, ...), you may lose both your computer's data and the Time Machine backup at the same time.

    You'll need a second backup, anyway. Instead of storing your backup on fault-tolerant disks, you'd better have redundant backups, which you should ideally also keep at different locations (e.g. one at home, one at work, one at a bank vault...)
  5. jb60606 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2008
    Thanks for the insight, folks. I've decided on the following to, at least, buy me more time.

    I highly doubt my library will grow at the same rate it has over the past 1.5yrs, so I don't anticipate reaching capacity of these drives anywhere within the next 2-3 years

    I'm now looking for a UPS that can shut down my Mac-Pro, DROBO and external drive, safely, in the event of power failure. Any recommendations? I also have a 30" ACD that I'd like to have on the UPS, but it isn't exactly necessary.

  6. Rich1963 macrumors 6502

    Jul 18, 2008
    Whichever solution you choose, Newegg.com is selling 1TB green power drives for $89.00 right now. These are ideal for RAID enclosures due to their ultra-low heat factor and lower spindle speed.
  7. jb60606 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2008
    I think I'm pretty sold on the "DroboPro". Talk about great timing.
  8. CarlsonCustoms macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2007
    I have 4 1tb drives in my drobo right now and when I pulled 500gig drives out and installed 1tb ones it didnt take that long to rebuild the array. I pulled a single 500gig drive before work and it was done rebuilding before I got home so I don't know for sure how long it took but surely less then 8 hours.

    Coincedentally I'm selling my FW800 drobo with or without drives if you are interested.

  9. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    That is a good solution, but it's very pricey for the masses.
  10. pprior macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    I agree. Having that extra drive backup before losing an array is a huge step forward in reliability. Raid-6 is expensive, but way more reliable.

    I have a drobo, and may well be upgrading as well once some reviews are out.
  11. syd3n macrumors newbie

    Aug 26, 2009

    did you ever find such a UPS? can the drobo even be shutdown or put in standby mode using a UPS...or would it be better to shutdown the computer that is attached to the Drobo, thereby forcing the Drobo into Standby mode?

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