To Drobo, or not to Drobo??

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Ben1l, Nov 6, 2013.

  1. Ben1l macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2006
    Was thinking about getting a 5d, simply because it seems to be the only small raid system that offer thunderbolt and USB 3.
  2. Nemic macrumors member

    Mar 18, 2012
    I have had a Drobo FS (the network version) for several years and I really like it. I have it set up for Dual Disk Redundancy, so even if 2 drives fail everything stays safe.

    I also plan to buy a 5D soon, and I intend to use it solely with my Mac - currently the FS is shared by 3 PC's as well as my Mac.

    I really love the seamless protection that Drobo gives, and also the very easy expandability.

    The new 5D is supposed to be really fast.
  3. LabGuy macrumors member

    Nov 7, 2013
    Have had several Drobos fail on me for no reason and support is abysmal. Look at Synology. Much more reliable and better option overall. No Thunderbolt yet but it does have USB 3.
  4. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    I just traded a Synology 413 for a Drobo 5D.

    The Drobo is significantly faster at data transfers. It also spins up from sleep much faster and spins up with my Mac (I had to manually wake up the Synology). The cooling fans are a fair bit louder on the Drobo (that being said, Drobo packs the drives in tighter than Synology so that might not be a bad thing). I also like being able to dim the Drobo lights since it is in my bedroom.

    Do note that the USB 3 interface for the Synology is only for attaching external storage. Unlike the Drobo, you cannot directly connect the Synology to the Mac via USB 3 (only over Ethernet).
  5. Ben1l thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2006
    Drobo seems to polarise people's opinions so much. It seems to have this reputation for not being considered a serious but of kit.
  6. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I have a drobo mini and so far its been rock solid, no complaints. I can't say what the future is but for me its been a great product.

    I also practice good habits but backing up the data that's on the drobo.

    The only thing that I don't like is the non standard RAID implementation. I'd feel better if I had the choice to choose what RAID set up I wanted. The dashboard software is limiting much more then I was expecting but then I was running a Qnap NAS which has a ton of options.

    I still have the Qnap but I wanted something with more bandwidth, the ethernet was just too slow for my needs (running Aperture off the drobo).
  7. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    Based on experiences I have read on this forum over the years, they either work quite reliably for years or fail soon after being put into service. Mind you, these were for the original and S models. Folks seem to be having more reliability with the 5D.

    I tried a Drobo S a couple of years back and was not impressed. Even with FW800, throughput was abysmal and one of the HDDs failed within 48 hours. The rebuild took another 48 hours at which point another drive failed. Packed her up and sent her back and went with two WD MyBook 4TB FW800 drives that were significantly quicker on throughput.

    Now the drive failures may not have been the Drobo's fault since I went with "bare drives" and they may have been dodgy. My Drobo 5D has retail NAS drives and while I am only about 72 hours in, it's done better than the S. :p

    Yes, I do wish I could configure the Drobo for RAID 10 with the fifth drive as a hot spare. I considered doing Dual Redundancy, but figure since I backup everything to the WD drives (since between them I have 8TB of storage) I went with single disk for now.

    And I do wish the Drobo Dashboard provided things the Synology did like S.M.A.R.T. status and HDD temps.
  8. smithrh macrumors 68020


    Feb 28, 2009
    4Tb USB3 disk drives with enclosure are ~$175 these days.

    Let that sink in for a bit.

    Put another way, for ~$350 you can build yourself a software-based 4Tb RAID 1 disk array.

    No proprietary software. No dependence on a 3rd party for disk recovery. Reasonable throughput.

    Part of Drobo's initial attractiveness was being able to toss in just about any drive and to be able to use the space. With disk drive storage dirt cheap now, I'm not at all sure that this is a factor any more.
  9. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    The Drobo is a DAS and the Synology is a NAS. A NAS and a DAS have different use cases. I am not sure why you're trying to compare the two?
  10. akm3 macrumors 68020

    Nov 15, 2007
    I have two drobos that have worked pretty well, but their support is awful.

    I'm not sure if I'll be looking at Drobo for my next storage solution.
  11. mcnallym macrumors 6502a

    Oct 28, 2008
    I have to say I have been impressed with my Drobopro.

    Was bought to act as Storage for iTunes and EyeTV so whilst isn't the greatest throughput it has been fast enough.
    I have had two replacement chassis through the drobocare and was easy enough. Both issues occurred after power issues at home so not really sure I can blame the Drobo fully on that one.

    Shipped to a UK location and shipped replacement to me. Inserted drives into new unit and away I went.

    Had a further issue where the Dashboard was causing an issue with sleep. Drobo produced a custom Dashboard that fixed the issue, and then incorporated the fix into the next release.

    My experience with the support may have gone well as I could show that had already reset, reformatted, showed didn't have issue with non-Drobo FW800 devices and also if Drobo was attached and no Dashboard, so it had to be the Dashboard.

    Very likely will go with a 5D when I replace the Drobopro, unless something comparable out there.

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