Time Capsule vs Drobo

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Sgetraer, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. Sgetraer macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2012
    I have an old Time Capsule that is failing and is also full. I need to move to something new ugently... I am running two mac book Pros and a Sonos audio system (I keep my Itunes library on the Time Capsule).

    I am unsure as to whether to buy a new Time Capsule (2 or 3T) or a Drobo system. I think the Drobo may be better (although I don't know why) but that the Time Capsule may be less expensive.

    this is my first posting...:D
  2. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    I bought a Time Capsule for backups and a Drobo for storage. Love the Time Machine, but was utterly unimpressed with the Drobo and returned it within a week (the delay mostly due to how damn slow the thing is for moving data to and from it) and went with two 4GB WD My Studios.

    That being said, many here speak very highly of their Drobos (which was why I considered it),
  3. DarwinOSX macrumors 65816

    Nov 3, 2009
    Look at Synology Nas. Far more capable than Time capsule. Lot of unhappy Drobo users.
  4. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

    Dec 17, 2009
    I have a Drobo v2 (not the S, or the one with Ethernet, just the orignal + firewire). I will say "it's okay". It isn't fast. It is tiding me over until thunderbolt RAID devices become more reasonable or I break down and buy another firewire enclosure. It isn't nearly as fast as my fileserver, but right now all I use it for is centralized Time machine Backups on my Mac Mini Server.
  5. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Dec 24, 2010
    Winnipeg, MB
    Seconded. Synology = redundancy of Drobo plus networking of Time Capsule. Plus it has so many other software features. And it's speedy. Search for a software review "Synology DS411j Honest Review" I wrote last year.
  6. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    I have to agree...Just bought a new 3TB TC, it works flawlessly, is set up to take advantage of the 5GZ band for my iPhone and iPad, and backups are fast.

    The Drobo my neighbour has is painfully slow. Mine is backing up 3 Mac's iMac, MBA MBP. Never misses a beat, and a breeze to configure.
  7. imahawki macrumors 6502a

    Apr 26, 2011
    I have a Drobo S and love it. I think its one of those products that had a bumpy start with the original 4 bay v1 coupled with some people who did not use anything even remotely close to good data management practices (NO backups when migrating to new storage) and then complaining online about it.

    I have no affiliation with Drobo and was in fact, a little nervous to give it a whirl, but I've been very pleased!
  8. cuestakid macrumors 68000

    Jun 14, 2006
    San Fran
    I agree with all of this. Sadly, we all may have to wait a long time for Thunderbolt devices to reach the capacity/price ratio that will allow everyone to get one.

    I was looking at upgrading my 1TB RAID MyBook Studio and I ended up buying a drobo off craigslist that had 8TB in it for $500-its in near perfect condition and I was able to get an extended warranty. This will hold me until Thunderbolt prices come down, or I win the lottery (whichever comes first).
  9. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    Stay away from the Drobo, go with a Synology or QNAP NAS.
  10. AppleDApp, Jan 5, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2012

    AppleDApp macrumors 68020


    Jun 21, 2011
    create a poll to se what others users suggest what specifically do you want to do with this? anything other then backup? Have a look at the thread I made a while back Drobo Impressions.
  11. monsieurpaul macrumors regular

    Oct 8, 2009
    +1 for Synology (or another NAS product like QNAP)
  12. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
  13. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    My issue with Drobo, originally, there was no way to extract your data.

    Has this been solved?
  14. vader_slri macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2009
    FYI, iPhones have never supported 5GHz Wifi-N, only 2.4GHz. The iPad does.
  15. convergent macrumors 68030


    May 6, 2008
    Before you buy anything, you need to understand why. There are three different products that people are interchanging here, and also introducing brand recommendations.

    The four different products are:
    - External Hard Drive - storage device that directly attaches to a single computer via USB, Firewire, Thunderbolt, etc.
    - NAS (Network Attached Storage) - storage device that attaches to a network, usually by hard wire ethernet connection, and recommended Gigabit ethernet.
    - Router - a device that connects your internal network to the internet, and provides other functions like assigning IP addresses. Usually also includes a switch to attach hard wired devices and a wireless access point to form a WiFi network.

    A NAS or External hard drive can be configured (if the specific device supports it) to provide RAID (redundancy), but may not.

    The Time Capsule is a specialized router that includes a single drive NAS within the same box. Since its single drive, there is no redundancy available.

    The DROBO is an external hard drive that's claim to fame is that it can support multiple disparate drives and extreme simplicity. Most similar products required similar drives and were more difficult to setup. Then DROBO "bolted on" a network attachment add-on to call it a NAS, but from what I've seen it doesn't compete with a real NAS.

    So given your requirement to have multiple computers access your storage, you will want to use a NAS, OR, you will have to keep the computer on all the time that has the external hard drive, AND, turn on sharing. I assume you don't want to do this.

    So then your choice is to go with a Time Capsule "all in one" device, or get a router (like the Airport Extreme) and a separate NAS. If you get a separate NAS, it will be more robust and probably provide some redundancy (not to be confused with "backup"). I would not buy a Drobo as a NAS personally. I have a Time Capsule (currently offline), an Airport Extreme, a QNAP TS659 NAS, a Netgear ReadyNAS NV+ NAS, and several other retired routers. You will find similar NAS offerings from Synology, QNAP, and Netgear with a wide range of capability and cost. You need to determine how much storage you need (thus defining how many "bays" you need in a NAS) and also what your purpose will be for the storage.

    If you are primarily using the NAS as a Time Machine destination for backup, then you have two copies of what's on it... the original on your computer, and the backup on the NAS... so it may not be necessary to backup the NAS. However, if you are storing data on the NAS that doesn't exist anywhere else, then your NAS should be backed up. This can get expensive if you have a lot of storage. In my case, the reason I have two NAS boxes is so that one backs up the other. RAID provides redundancy to mitigate a single drive failure, but it doesn't help you if the entire NAS or RAID array fails... in which case you'd lose everything. It happens. I'm still exposed because I don't have offsite storage however, but I can't afford cloud backup for the amount of storage I need so this is my best alternative.

    My recommendation is that if you can get buy with the Time Capsule, then its the simplest solution you can get. But remember that it isn't backed up, so possibly you could use an inexpensive external hard drive to periodically backup whats on the Time Capsule. If you buy a real NAS box and don't have too many bays, most of them let you attach a USB external hard drive and configure it to be backup for the RAID storage.

    If you are new to NAS products, I highly recommend http://www.eaegis.com/ (I'm not affiliate, just a happy customer). I bought both my NAS boxes from them and there support is outstanding as well as their ability to help you decide what you need. They sell QNAP, Synology, Thecus, and Drobo I believe. They also used to sell ReadyNAS before Netgear bought the line.
  16. monsieurpaul macrumors regular

    Oct 8, 2009
    To add my 2 cents on what convergent just said:

    A frequent selling argument, for Drobo or some NAS is the following: “you put any HD you have, the box does its magic on them and you never have to worry about losing your data anymore”. That’s not true. Redundancy allows you to replace a failed HD without having to recreate all your file system. But if the box (drobo or NAS) fails, you’re likely to lose all your data. As they said: RAID is not for back up. It’s not intuitive at first, but it’s true.

    I have spent the last 2 years with a homemade files/downloads server built from a Windows XP netbook and USB external drives. I was not interested in a NAS because I (wrongfully) thought that it was just a HD with an Ethernet port.

    Santa brought me a Synology DS212j and it’s night and day: downloads, back up, iTunes server, Time Machine, VPN, shares and users managemnent, etc. It’s more robust, secure, and much easier to setup.
  17. Jimocarroll macrumors newbie


    Dec 18, 2017
    --- Post Merged, Dec 18, 2017 ---
    My first posting as well. I have found the Drobo Time Capsule share to be great in concept, poor in execution. My Drobo has a huge capacity, but right now I am getting the discouraging message that there have been no backups for several day because there is "not enough space" on my Drobo 5n despite all drives being mounted and a huge capacity shown on the "dashboard." Is it not deleting older backups? Has its capacity been exceeded? Should I (or could I) have made the share larger? I have no idea. I have been frustrated in my search for answers, too.
  18. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    I realize first post, but this is a zombie thread, started in 2012.

    Might wanna start a new one or inquire of Drobo about the problems with your unit since you seem to be asking for support, not comparing Drobo to the now-discontinued TC.
  19. Trebuin macrumors 65816


    Jun 3, 2008
    Central Cali
    If you're backing up from time machine, it may not be the Drobo. Use the drobo app to check the health of your drobo and if everything is fine, your time machine may need to be reinitialized. I've had that happen a few times.

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