Sounds good so far
Sounds good so far
INTERESTING! With the 3rd drive in, read and write speeds went up to 50MB/s, or roughly a 50% increase. Way cool! Adding a 4th drive now to see if that improves yet again, though I suspect not.
Maybe a good idea to post the answer to the question I asked you offline for other potential users to see...
In response to a question David asked me via email about how the DROBO can be formatted and partitioned, here was my answer:
DROBO formats itself as one large drive. In standard form it will show up as a 2TB volume REGARDLESS of how many or what size drives you place in it. If you place four 1TB drives in it thusly configured, it will show two volumes AFTER you exceed 2TB of data on it -- a 2 and a .8 -- but will spread your data across them automatically. IOW you do NOT have the ability to "partition" DROBO to your liking, for example two 1.4G volumes. You can however add any number of folders you want and let them expand until you run out of room. Next, using the DROBO software, you can format it to show as a 1, 2, 4, 8 or 16 TB drive. The advantage is you won't span multiple volumes, but the downside is it takes longer for DROBO to boot, about 1 minute per TB as formated, as it needs to check 4TB of data as opposed to 2. I chose the 4TB option since I plan on leaving it running most of the time anyway and wanted to see it only ever as one volume, so not too concerned about longer boot/check cycles. When/if I replace a 1TB drive with a 2TB drive, then even my format at 4TB will span across multiple volumes. This would require a re-format to 8 or 16TB, but of course all data would be lost on a reformat and need to be rebuilt -- again, another reason I chose the 4TB option at the outset...
That is correct, DROBO is going to be most efficient when all drives are equal size, but really doesn't matter that much as you'll see in a minute.On Jul 24, 2008, at 4:00 AM, David Kipper wrote:
This is NOT the way I thought this worked but should still work fine for me... at least I think it should. Let me explore this a bit further. Let's say I start with 2 x 1TB drives and 2x 500 GB drives (in a way this doesn't appear to be an optimal arrangement since the Drobo "reserves" space equal to the largest drive installed so you get less bang for the buck this way).
Precisely correct. Note that the amount of reserved space is not exactly equal to the largest drive, but close enough for our purposes on estimation.Once I've run out of room I pull out one of the 500 GB drives and replace it with a 1 TB which should give me a true net increase in storage of 500 GB since the "reserved" portion is already maxed out at 1 TB. Have I got this part right ?
Yes, and you get the next 500G of space, so you now have 4 @ 1TB drives and a total of 3 TB protected storage.Now I've run out of room again, substituted another 1 TB for the last 500 GB and run out of room once more.
You can daisy-chain in another DROBO for sure, but there likely will be 2TB drives long before you need to do this, and you could pop out a 1 and start replacing them with 2's as your needs grow. The advantage of waiting until you need it, is the larger drives usually command the highest prices per gig of storage when first announced, but drop significantly after a few months. For example, just 6 months ago, 1TB drives were selling for just under $300 while 500G drives were just over $100 --- we would have been far better off using [email protected] than [email protected] from a price point of view. Now the 500G drives are around $90 and the 1TB's around $170, so pretty close per gig...What happens now... Do I daisy chain more I TB drives in external boxes or substitute a 2 TB drive for one of the 1 TB (I didn't think there was such a thing as a 2 TB drive).
You only need to format the first time you plug it in with at least two drives installed. From there on it will automatically format the new drives you add or replace them.Also, if you need to reformat it at that point where the heck are you going to store the data you've got on your existing drives.
This is precisely why I chose 4TB, as I won't hit a full 4TB until I have [email protected] plus [email protected] Replacing 1 of the 4 1TB drives with a single 2TB drive is unfortunately NOT going to get us much total storage gain -- back to the original formula, the total drive space minus your largest drive So when we do finally swap in 2 @ 2TB drives (we'll have to do them one at a time and let DROBO build across the first before installing the second) we will have a true, single 4TB volume...Does it make any sense to format the Drobo as an 8 or 16TB drive at the get go. Like you I could care less about the boot up since it will likely be running all the time.
So our format issue will crop up as we add drives beyond that and there is no easy way to reformat once you've started a DROBO unless you have all your data backed up yet again off DROBO. I happen to since I keep redundant single drive copies of all my images stored offsite in case of fire or theft at my main office. However, at that point having data spread across 2 4TB volumes seems like a small issue -- the data is still there and visible, just maybe have to look in two places for it instead of one.
The problem with the boot times is DROBO needs 1 full minute for each TB as formatted. So if you start out formatting as 16TB, then every time you start DROBO after a shut down or power out, it would take 16 minutes to come online even if you only have 2TB of data on it... Hence I felt there was a good balance between volume size and boot times for me at the 4TB setting...
Ooh, it can go NAS with the Drobo Share!
I think I'm getting one as well.
I was thinking a rather different approach.
Stay in the sweet spot; I paid $78 for a 500GB Seagate 7200, 16M perpendicular-recording drive. It's reasonably fast, quiet, and cool. There's also a 32M version that's less quiet and cool for about the same price, but for me the minor performance gain wasn't worth having to listen to it for hours on end.
So start with say two of these (for 500GB or so of effective space, I assume). When it's getting full get another sweet-spot drive at 750-1500GB or whatever it might be at that time. Repeat when it gets full again. Now all four slots are occupied.
At this point, whenever it gets full, pull the smallest drive and replace with a sweet spot purchase. The replacement drive is likely going to be 4-8X the size of the one pulled. I assume here that when the larger replacement is inserted it simply rebuilds and incorporates the unused space into the total free pool.
This assumes any one drive gets about 1.5-2 years of service. If the unit fills up faster (it won't in my case, I'm fairly sure of that) it's probably still cheaper to add a second unit when needed and repeat the pattern above, rather than front loading a single unit with the biggest drives available.
Just for giggles, I decided to torture test the DROBO and so saved all of you other curious folks the trouble
I had loaded about 500G of images across the three drives per above, then decided this morning, what the heck, before I load any more images I'll just yank a drive and see what happens... I know -- I can be an pretty stupid at times -- but I NEVER follow the axiom, "If it aint broke, don't fix it!" And curious minds HAVE to know!
Well, the answer is DROBO did exactly what it was supposed to do. It sent out a warning a drive was lost with a notification it was rebuilding the data across the two remaining good drives. Here is a screenshot of that message:
Note that it is saying about 4 hours to rebuild... Of course now I start wondering if I can add back in another drive? Doesn't say I can, but doesn't say I can't... Look in the IB and I can't find any reference to this in the instructions or FAQ's. Being the curious soul I am, I figure what the heck again, I've got everything backed up offsite if I screw it up so why not? (About one hour has passed since I grabbed the above screenshot.) So I hold my breath and insert another blank drive and ----- nothing happened. Hmmm... I breathe. Hmmm again, now what? After a minute or so of debating should I pull that drive, the bay lights up and I get a message that DROBO is now rebuilding the data across three drives. Still cautioning me not to remove any drives, essentially identical to the other message other than the time to rebuild has been cut by a few hours (Just like above, three drives are faster than two in this unit -- I assume the difference between RAID1 and RAID5 is working on the rebuilds too.) So in short, this thing appears to do exactly what it claims it will do... Amazing!:
Just for reference, here is a screenshot showing the three healthy drives after the above rebuild:
Just ordered a Drobo. Dumb question: does the box provide SATA power? I'm about to order three 500GB drives for it and am wondering if I need molex-to-SATA power adapters?
Hey, what happens when you resize it by adding a drive, from the OS perspective?
Edit: never mind, I see it uses thin provisioning
You don't need anything, not even screws -- the bare drive slides right in to the DROBO and snaps in place. The only requirement is they have to be 3.5 inch SATA1 or SATA2 drives.
When you add a drive, you automatically gain space. Just look at the pie-charts in the 2 drive versus the 3 drive screenshots --- that all happens automatically.
I was thinking with a traditional raid when you change the capacity (by adding a stripe for instance) you need to rebuild and repartition.
But the Drobo looks like a 16TB device. Then, as block in this 16TB space are written to it maps them to blocks in the free pool. So the device size (geometry) never changes as disks are added or removed, only the number of total and available blocks.
As I tried to explain earlier in the thread you can format DROBO initially as a 1, 2, 4, 8, or 16 TB array, the larger the longer it takes to boot. Smaller and it boot faster, but may need to form multiple volumes as you expand. It then spans the data across the multiple volumes automatically.
Ah, yes, I see now - 1min per TB to start up. I think I'll just set it to 16TB; 4min, 8min, or 16min to start doesn't matter that much I think, it's still a wait. And since I plan to use it for NAS with the Drobo Share I doubt I'll ever turn it off. Especially if it can spin down the drives after being idle for an hour or two.
Sweet! Sounds a good choice you made.
I bit the bullet as well and just ordered a Thecus N5200Pro with 5x 1TB. Yummy! I plan to run Raid-0 on 2TB and Raid 5 on 3TB at the same time. Will be interesting to see how that goes. Can't wait to get this sucker. LOL
Btw. My first few days with the Mac were a blast, what a sweet operating system that OSX truly is. My main Mac has not been delivered yet, but I have my MBP and love every minute of it.
...Only, why did I fart around for soooo long with bleedin PC's...
Jack, you are a brave soul but I'm glad you put this unit thru the ringer. Nice when a product does what it's supposed to do. No wonder they're backordered...
Congrats on your new unit -- please report back on it here after you have it up and running as I'm sure others here are looking for performance units too!
You might want to re-investigate doing the RAID 0 on 2 drives and RAID5 on three, since RAID 5 over 3 or more drives is usually as fast as RAID 0 across 2 to begin with, and RAID 5 across 5 drives may actually be faster in some boxes than a single RAID 0 pair. You would however gain more performance with RAID 0 across more than 2 drives... Depending on your RAID card, you can sometimes do a thin RAID 0 5-drive stripe across all the drives, then do a redundant RAID 5 on the remaining large partitions of those same drives, which might give you the best of both worlds. Were it mine, I would probably just RAID 5 4 drives and keep the 5th as a hot spare for a bit of extra security... The typical advice is use RAID 0 for speed, RAID 1 for redundancy and RAID 5 for the best of both worlds. However, if all you want is performance and don't care about reliability, then do RAID 0; if all you want is redundancy, use RAID 1.
FWIW the ultimate performance/redundancy strategy involves RAID 0-1. To get the most from this, you would have something like one box of 4 drives in RAID 0, mirrored (RAID1) to another 5-drive box with the same size drives in RAID 5. Fair bit of coin for that one though
As for why we held out with PC's, maybe because we assumed Vista would actually work really well instead of worse than XP?
i just picked up a Drobo with four 500G drives USB2 for about $710 plus tax from B&H. PC use for backup. i may also look into Jack's working scheme for striping my main two drives...
That's a great deal John --- basically less than 50 cents a gig for fully redundant storage
Well, honestly, I had high hopes for VISTA, until I had it in my fingers for about 3 hours.... No more windows BS on my ranch, soon!As for why we held out with PC's, maybe because we assumed Vista would actually work really well instead of worse than XP?
As for the RAID levels, agreed on your summary.
LOLOLOLJust for giggles, I decided to torture test the DROBO and so saved all of you other curious folks the trouble
I never looked into that before, mainly because I just added another wallwart, external HD when needed and bought the "sweet spot" at this time.That's a great deal John --- basically less than 50 cents a gig for fully redundant storage
The cost of my NAS box per Gig is 0.22 euros, not bad.
drobo up and running, very simple
now that i'm getting serious, no more hand backups.
any strategy, software, etc. for back-ups?
for example, do you do an image print once, then incremental B/U weekly?
I use software back-ups. On the PC I used a program called "Mirror Folder," with the Mac I use "Carbon Copy Cloner" and hear good things about "Chrono Synch" too. You can set these to copy at he drive level or folder level and set up scheduling as well. Mirror Folder can even run real-time. Bottom line is I have CCC set to back-up images from my working image drive to DROBO each evening. any of my older historical images I may pull off the DROBO to work on, I do a hard save-as back to the DROBO.
Update on the volume size format:
It turns out the 16TB format strategy is probably a smart one. I powered off my DROBO today and even with the 4TB setting it booted in under a minute. I'm debating about starting fresh and reformatting it to 16T now before I load the rest of my data on it...
Remember my comments about bad experiences with Seagate drives this spring? I spoke to a friend here in Stockholm who runs a server room with a few hundred drives online. He says he had the same experience with seagate until he switched to the Seagate ES enterprise quality series two years ago. Since then, not a single failed drive. Quite a track record. ES drives cost a little more perhaps $20 per drive but it sounds like that's a good investment.
Drobo is a bit of a strange beast, for me it doesn't make sense to get a box that doesn't do Gbit LAN and eSATA. Backing up multi-TB over USB is not too much fun. But perhaps it's different if all your computers do FW800. In the end, actual throughput is key, most affordable NAS setups seem to top out at around 30-35MB/sec in independent tests.
BTW, I played around with a performance setup on my desktop, two RAID0 arrays using 3 drives each. Sustained copy speed between the arrays? Almost 300MB/sec... hehe.
Yes, Lloyd Chambers also recommends the Seagate ES drives for RAID arrays as well. An important thing for folks to keep in mind is that in true RAID, drive choice is important and enterprise class drives are usually the best way to go.
As for DROBO, the concept for me is really about high-capacity-simple-to-manage redundant data storage, and it does that extremely well. It is not about performance, but even still I get 50MB/s sustained reads and writes which is about as good as any single previous generation SATA drive delivers.
And yes, RAID0 definitely kicks butt . For performance, I keep my current working image files on a 2-drive RAID0 array which gives me blinding fast reads and saves, close to 200 MB/s. You can figure about 100MB/s sustained throughput per drive in the array with current high-end drives like your Seagate Enterprise class -- Kudos on your 300MB/s array!
If money is no object, then a pair of 4-drive RAID0 boxes with 1TB enterprise class drives in them, mirrored to each other, would maybe be the pinnacle of data performance with redundancy.
Per post 73, and since I only had a little under 600G of data loaded, I decided to go ahead and reformat the DROBO to 16TB.
A FWIW piece of information: I figured if I pulled the drives and rearranged them when the unit was off, it would screw it up enough to cause them to call for the reformat automatically. Wrong. On boot, it detected some "inexplicable" errors and sent me a message it was rebuilding the data! (And that it was going to take 6 hours to do it.)
Anyway, using the DROBO software I did a hard reformat and selected the 16TB option. That took three or four minutes and then I had a 16TB volume sitting on my desktop according to my OS. (Note to Mac users, IGNORE the OSX "Initialize Drive" command --- that comes up part way through the DROBO software format process but goes away once DROBO finishes.)
First point: This time I had three drives in from the start and it took about 3 hours to move the data over, or about 50MB/s sustained transfer rate over the FW800 port. So three drives is definitely faster than two in any case.
So, how did moving to the 16TB partition affect boot time? The good news is very marginally. Total boot time now from power off to being able to pull data off is less than 90 second; maybe 20 seconds longer than the 4TB partition took. I'll rarely boot it, so for me this is a trivial concern against the convenience of only having one volume to manage over the foreseeable lifetime of this product.
Good news Jack... if and when my unit arrives I'll do the 16TB format. For those who are thinking of getting one of these units any time soon.... be prepared to wait longer than the lead time indicated on their website. I ordered mine 14 days ago (when the backorder time frame indicated 5 days) and it still hasn't shipped
From playing with the Drobolator it seems like the best strategy is to upgrade drives at least in pairs. If I have three 500GB drives and add a fourth 1TB drive, only 500GB of the 1TB one will be used. Presumably because it has nowhere to mirror the other half. Another side effect might be that speed becomes variable; with 2x500GB and 2x1TB is seems like there's essentially two speed layers: one consisting of the first 500GB, which is spread across four drives (3/4 data and 1/4 parity), and one 500GB layer which is spread across two drives (1/2 data and 1/2 parity). The half of the 1TB drives that simply mirror one another is, I'm sure, not going to run at full tilt. So at least upgrade in pairs, preferably all four for performance.
So what I've done is bought 4x500GB drives (for $300) for 1.4TB of usable capacity. When it fills up I'll see if I can get 4x1TB for $300 to double the capacity, and simply swap all four out.
Got the drives sitting here... waiting for the Drobo itself. Lead was 5 days, but now is posted as 7 days, so... who knows.
Got the DroboShare already though, as it was available for immediate shipment. It only uses USB however, so is not likely to get more than 30MB/s or so, assuming their software can make good use of it. The good news about USB is it'll be easy to unplug the DroboShare and hook up the storage itself directly to a computer.
Well my unit finally shipped on July 31st, a bit over two weeks (17 days to be precise) after placing my order. Lead time was indicated at 5 days when I placed the order. Should be in next week and I'll post a follow up.
My Drobo arrived this morning and I began the installation process. This was not without it's challenges so I thought I'd share the experience. No problem installing the software, pretty straightforward. In this context Jack had suggested not having the Drobo automatically check for updates so I followed his advice. Upon plugging in my three available 1TB hard drives I wound up with solid red lights... not good. Got an error message indicating that too many hard drives had been removed. Tried a bunch of silly things like removing them and rearranging their order... that wasn't it. Called Drobo support but they weren't open yet so went thru the user manual and read about wiping the drives clean by disconnecting power, inserting a paper clip in the back of the unit, turning on power and holding the clip in place for about 30 secs. That did the trick. That brought me to the format option of the Drobo Dashboard. Selected 16 TB and waited about 5 minutes but got an error message at the end of that process that said Drobo couldn't partition it. Opened Disk Utility and selected Erase... waited till that was done and voila the Drobo is now on my desktop and in the process of what's estimated to be 10 hours of copying. All's well that ends well but it wasn't entirely plug and play. BTW, my drives were previously used so this may not occur if you use new ones.
Just a FWIW update, there is a new firmware and software update posted for the version 2 (FW800) unit: a new firmware, 1.2.1, and a new Drobo Dashboard software, also ver 1.2.1 (IMO this is an unfortunate naming convention, as the dashboard software is certainly distinct form the box firmware, yet they share similar version naming conventions...)
I have a couple of the original USB Drobos and today I found out that one has to pay an annual fee for continued access to software and firmware updates! I own several RAIDs from LaCie, Apple and a couple of other manufacturers but never heard of paying for software or firmware updates, which could be necessary with the release of a new version of your computer's OS. So in effect if you don't opt to pay this annual fee, PER DROBO!, your unit/units could turn into bookends with your next computer purchase or OS update and you could lose access to all your data!
This is from their website:
"Why is Data Robotics charging for extended software upgrades?
Due to strict accounting rules that govern a hardware manufacturer’s ability to provide feature or functionality enhancements, it is not possible to offer free software feature enhancements beyond the initial warranty period."
Don't understand why when all the other hardware manufacturers that I know of have free software/firmware upgrades, as long as they're available, for many years after the initial purchase date. This includes all my cameras, computers, audio/video equipment, phones, etc., etc., etc., basically every upgradable piece of hardware that I currently own; besides DROBO.
Check it out, support is charged at a very high price, over 10% of the cost of the unit per annum:
Do your older units still work with the last firmware and software available?
Uhm, here's what they say:
So I wouldn't worry about bugs.Why is Data Robotics charging for extended software upgrades?
Due to strict accounting rules that govern a hardware manufacturer’s ability to provide feature or functionality enhancements, it is not possible to offer free software feature enhancements beyond the initial warranty period.
All critical bug fixes WILL be offered as they become available, but non-standard feature enhancements can only be downloaded in association with a licensed DroboCare warranty extension package.
Do I have to pay for bug fixes?
Absolutely not! Critical bug fixes will be offered as they become available just as they always have been.
Unlike Colorbyte, who charge you $1500 for software you get zero support for without a maintenance contract. And which breaks frequently with OS X updates. Without a maintenance contract you get absolutely squat from them; they'll bluntly tell you to go stuff yourself.
Another example of this in action is the iPhone and iPod touch. For big upgrades (there have been 2) like the upgrade to version 2 of the software, iPhone users who pay a monthly contract got it free. iPod touch users who bought the hardware have to pay for the upgrade. Incidental bug fixes have been free for both.
Which monthly fee did you pay for your first iPhone to Apple? I don't see them demand any monthly fees for the new one either. Version 2.0 software is available to all iPhone users. The only thing that I paid for over the past year was the standard AT&T calling plan, the same as I did for all my previous phones.
Counterpoint, Ricoh came out with a huge firmware upgrade for the GRD when they introduced the GRD II, I didn't see them charging anyone for it. Take a look at other RAID manufacturers show me one who charges for software/firmware enhancements, even for those who bought their units used off ebay.
Now I'm posting this from my iPhone so I can't give you any links to more info. Don't forget Ricoh doesn't sell cameras in the US and may not deal with some of the same accounting or doesn't look at some of the firmware as upgrades but fixes to "flaws".
Got mine set up now - works great. The drives were a good choice I think; I get almost exactly 50MB/s over FW800 with even my old PB G4. Yet during normal operation (not copying disk to disk) they run cool enough that the Drobo fan is off. The drives are quiet enough that the room is perfectly quiet and all I hear is the ticking of the drive heads. I noticed this after I was done with all the copying and powered off the pile of externals.
The DroboShare works fine - but if you go this route, ignore the CD that comes with it. It has a big, neon, sticker on it that basically says to use this for the dashboard because it has the right software for your DroboShare. IGNORE THIS. The standard dashboard that comes with the Gen 2 Drobo handles the DroboShare, but the DroboShare SW doesn't handle the Gen 2 Device! If you install this and update to the latest it still only supports USB. So use the device CD and ignore the big sticker on the other one.
The other thing with the DroboShare is if like me you set it up first attached to the computer (DAS) and then later to DroboShare (NAS), you positively need to do a clean shutdown first, by hitting StandBy in the dashboard. If you don't, DroboShare won't recognize it - the first time. In the future if it gets power cycled or such DroboShare will work. It's just the first time; it needs a cleanly shut down device. I had ejected the disk from OS X, that wasn't enough. Gotta use StandBy. This applies even if you happen to power it up without having it plugged into a computer and then power it off and move it to the DroboShare. The device really needs a standby button inside the front cover IMO. I had to search the Drobo knowledge base to resolve this, because the disk shows in the dashboard seemingly correctly, the droboshare responds to e.g. 'smbclient -L droboshare' in a Terminal, and so forth. There's just no actual volume in its list of services.
Anyway, it's great to have all my stuff in one place, and have it accessible from every computer (even my wife's PC)!
To DDK David, it appears that patches and bugs are fixed for free even on older units, it is only if they add functionality or features you would be charged. So maybe not so different from other companies?
New firmware available, 1.2.2...
Hey Jack, what is your Drobo setup? I'm looking for the specific software and routine that you use.
Last edited by curtd; 30th August 2008 at 15:26. Reason: sig
Hi Curt, and welcome!
DROBO comes with its own software, Mac or PC versions, and I am running the latest Mac version for my DROBO 2, the FW800 version. My set-up is I treat it as one large drive and store my images on it. If you read through this entire thread, I hove posted images showing the software and explain in pretty good detail how it all works
Yes, thank you, I have the Drobo Dashboard, newest version and it works fine. I was more curious about how you were "filling it". Do you use SuperDuper or something like that and how?