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Thread: Drobo Trap Drobo Crap, Your Data isn't PROTECTED!

  1. #1
    ddk
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    Drobo Trap Drobo Crap, Your Data isn't PROTECTED!

    I know there's been some recent excitement on this site regarding Drobo units, I'm writing this as warning to both new owners who're going to trust they're precious data to one or those about to buy a Drobo. One has to put with very slow write speeds compared to and a ridiculous annual service fee for firmware upgrades unlike any other RAID from a decent vendor and in return one gets the convenience of upgrading/replacing drives as needed and full security of your data; right? Right...

    What the Drobo guys don't mention besides the hidden mandatory support fees is that your data isn't protected while you replace that drive for a very long time. Today I replaced one of its with a larger one and according to Drobo's software the whole upgrade process will take about 20 hrs during which time I can lose all my data in case of a single drive failure. I only have 630 gb of data and it takes Drobo 20 hrs to process, from what I read here many are setting there's up with TBs of drive space, I wonder how long its going take your Drobo to process that much data, whatever it is its going to be way too long for a drive to go south during the upgrade process and unlike a typical mirrored Raid that one can still recover data from a failed drive, its not the case with Drobo.

    I don't know about you guys, if you're wiling to risk your precious data but I'm from the Murphy school of thought; "What can go wrong WILL go wrong!"


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    Senior Member JimCollum's Avatar
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    Re: Drobo Trap Drobo Crap, Your Data isn't PROTECTED!

    i had 1.5 Tb and replaced a drive to update.. it took a little over 4 days to get back to the 'protected' state.

    it also doesn't protect against disk layout/format problems (issues with volume or directory headers). I've had to run Disk Warrior twice now to recover the data on it. I consider the Drobo as 'short term' backup. Anything that i think is necessary data, i copy onto offline hard drives (2 for each data set)

  3. #3
    ddk
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    Re: Drobo Trap Drobo Crap, Your Data isn't PROTECTED!

    Quote Originally Posted by JimCollum View Post
    i had 1.5 Tb and replaced a drive to update.. it took a little over 4 days to get back to the 'protected' state.

    it also doesn't protect against disk layout/format problems (issues with volume or directory headers). I've had to run Disk Warrior twice now to recover the data on it. I consider the Drobo as 'short term' backup. Anything that i think is necessary data, i copy onto offline hard drives (2 for each data set)
    Then the 20 hrs is probably optimistic. I don't use it for sensitive data either , just for backup to my system backup files for now and will probably end up on ebay very soon, just not worth the price compared to serious products.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Drobo Trap Drobo Crap, Your Data isn't PROTECTED!

    David,

    I know you are not a fan of Drobo, but your complaint above is endemic to *ANY* RAID 5 device --- when you lose one drive in R-5, your remaining bank of data is at total risk in the event of another single drive failing *until* the DOA drive gets repopulated; just the nature of the beast. The advantage to R-5 is that it will repopulate barring that second drive failure and you therefore do not need to do a complete copy over from a tertiary back-up source. And the benefit to Drobo is it will do it automatically, even though it may take some time...

    Note too that Drobo will maximize efficiency for the new drive structure, which requires not only rebuilding the lost data to the new drive, but then reorganizing the entire data set across the new drive array -- I suspect this latter part is what takes the bulk of the extra time. (In a conventional R-5 you would replace the failed drive with an identical drive, and all that needs to happen is the data stripes to be re-written to that drive. With Drobo, one *usually* is replacing a drive -- failed or not -- with a larger drive, thus the data needs to be re-distributed across the array to amke fullest use of the additional space.)

    FWIW, I recently swapped in a new 1TB drive for an existing 500G and it took 9 hours to repopulate the data across the system. (Or more accurately it told me it would take 9 hours and I left for the day when it was about 4 hours into it. When I came back the next day it was all green so I do not know how long it really took )
    Jack
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    Re: Drobo Trap Drobo Crap, Your Data isn't PROTECTED!

    I will be getting an HP MediaSmart Server sent to me very shortly for review. The new models are designed to operated in a "blended network" (their term) of Macs and PCs and can even act as a Time Machine target AND do all of the other stuff it does. I will be setting mine up as a media repository, HD TV PVR, and Time Machine target for two Macs to really give it a workout. Should be way fun!
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  6. #6
    ddk
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    Re: Drobo Trap Drobo Crap, Your Data isn't PROTECTED!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    David,

    I know you are not a fan of Drobo, but your complaint above is endemic to *ANY* RAID 5 device --- when you lose one drive in R-5, your remaining bank of data is at total risk in the event of another single drive failing *until* the DOA drive gets repopulated; just the nature of the beast. The advantage to R-5 is that it will repopulate barring that second drive failure and you therefore do not need to do a complete copy over from a tertiary back-up source. And the benefit to Drobo is it will do it automatically, even though it may take some time...

    Note too that Drobo will maximize efficiency for the new drive structure, which requires not only rebuilding the lost data to the new drive, but then reorganizing the entire data set across the new drive array -- I suspect this latter part is what takes the bulk of the extra time. (In a conventional R-5 you would replace the failed drive with an identical drive, and all that needs to happen is the data stripes to be re-written to that drive. With Drobo, one *usually* is replacing a drive -- failed or not -- with a larger drive, thus the data needs to be re-distributed across the array to amke fullest use of the additional space.)

    FWIW, I recently swapped in a new 1TB drive for an existing 500G and it took 9 hours to repopulate the data across the system. (Or more accurately it told me it would take 9 hours and I left for the day when it was about 4 hours into it. When I came back the next day it was all green so I do not know how long it really took )
    The difference is speed, you can rebuild a dead disk in a Raid 5 system within minutes, not hours and days like Drobo, its too long to be exposed and you run a much higher risk of losing your data. Also you can almost always always recover from a 2nd drive failure in a RAID system but not in a Drobo scenario.

    As a product Drobo still has many bugs to iron out which still seems to be the case even with the newer ones given the recent posts and firmware updates. What I find totally unacceptable is that one has to pay for updates to a buggy product, and there was no mention of this service warranty when I bought my unit and to add insult to injury I can't update the DroboShare unit that's less than a year old and is still within their warranty period because the buggy Drobo unit is a little over a year old. I did call them up and they offered nothing but to wait till they figure how to handle my case. I spent a week troubleshooting the DroboShare when I first got it.

    Jack, you might be fine using and recommending a buggy product with a major downside and from a company with such sh**ty customer service, but I find Data Robotic's culture unacceptable and people should know what and who they're dealing with. The way I see it now is that the company introduced a defective product only to milk their already suckered customers for more, otherwise they would provide the firmware updates free of charge like every other external storage manufacturer that I've seen, specially given their prices. Fortunately there are plenty of safer, faster and cheaper alternatives!

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    I hear you :)

    David,

    I hear you, and your opinion is duly noted. Please keep us posted on any other solution you end up migrating to, as I for one would be very interested to hear how it ultimately works out for you.

    Cheers,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  8. #8
    ddk
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    Re: I hear you :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    David,

    I hear you, and your opinion is duly noted. Please keep us posted on any other solution you end up migrating to, as I for one would be very interested to hear how it ultimately works out for you.

    Cheers,
    I'm using several LaCie's S2S Raids (http://www.lacie.com/us/products/product.htm?pid=10784) for all my image storage. The units come with a very simple utility to set up the system and controller, you'll be up and running within minutes after installing the controller card. The units are eSata very fast and secure for all your photoshop work. Currently I'm backing the Raids up to an XServe with a Raid 6 array but am looking into the new LaCie network raid system, an elegant one box solution and very reasonably priced. I'll probably get one soon to try out, http://www.lacie.com/us/products/product.htm?pid=11118.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Drobo Trap Drobo Crap, Your Data isn't PROTECTED!

    Super -- glad those are working for you
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  10. #10
    ddk
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    Re: Drobo Trap Drobo Crap, Your Data isn't PROTECTED!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Super -- glad those are working for you
    You know that there are plenty of other solutions out there too, more complex, more money and some for less, the LaCies are just real easy to set up and I really like their industrial design and customer support.

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    Re: Drobo Trap Drobo Crap, Your Data isn't PROTECTED!

    Doing some searches online for recent articles nothing comes close to rebuilding a Raid-5 array in minutes. That said, if you have a large raid array through a virtual file system it will be much faster. The more disks you have the faster the rebuild processes. That isn't something we can afford to build though. Drobo still is slower though.

    Want to be really scared though? (I haven't verified this, but read it multiple places, take at face value) Once your raid-5 arrays reach about 12TB (after the drive failure) there is a high possibility of a unrecoverable read error. 1 in 10^14 bits read. People's opinions seem to vary as to if you lose the whole array or files and some think the math is off completely. In that case you need to use Raid-6, but also has longer rebuild times than raid 5. If at some point you reach 4x4TB drives in your drobo this may be a problem.

    I am curious what alternatives you suggest. I'm looking at the ReadyNAS Pro Pioneer from netgear. It's considerably more expensive, but considering the huge markup Drobo has in Japan it might not be unreasonable.
    Charles - flickr

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    Re: Drobo Trap Drobo Crap, Your Data isn't PROTECTED!

    Ah, I didn't see your latest updates. The boxes you are using won't work for me, but the Big5 looks like it could work, although I like the X-Raid 2 better. I can't find the Big5 box listed in Japan, but the others are twice as expensive here as the US, so that's not a good sign.

    I'm glad your experience with LaCie has been good, but I'll say that 3 of the 4 LaCie external drives I've bought have died within three years of buying them. The last one I sold after owning a little over a year before moving to Japan. Using them as a mirror would probably be ok, but I wouldn't recommend striping them or using it as a JBOD.
    Last edited by cjlacz; 6th January 2009 at 20:28.
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    Re: Drobo Trap Drobo Crap, Your Data isn't PROTECTED!

    Quote Originally Posted by cjlacz View Post
    Ah, I didn't see your latest updates. The boxes you are using won't work for me, but the Big5 looks like it could work, although I like the X-Raid 2 better. I can't find the Big5 box listed in Japan, but the others are twice as expensive here as the US, so that's not a good sign.
    You can always order from the US site I guess and have it shipped to you, I think the Big 5 is a great product at this level. I'm happy with the X-Serve, you can control several boxes with one server and expand as your needs grow. Just one caveat Xserve's standard controller card is only up to Raid 5, I bought mine used and came with a different controller and setup for Raid 6.

    I read the same article regarding the dangers of huge 10 tb+ of data and raid 5, it might be true but who knows what will happen with larger drives and their quality in the future, besides, in my case, if I ever own anything that big, it will be backed up to a more secure raid 6 or even several raid 1 arrays.

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    Re: Drobo Trap Drobo Crap, Your Data isn't PROTECTED!

    They don't ship overseas unfortunately. I may try and find a vendor that will, or have someone in the US ship it to me. The savings will probably be worth the hassle. That sounds like a nice setup you have, although I don't have the space for it. Can you comment on how noisy Lacie boxes are compared to the Drobo? Noise is a big issue for me.

    I just realized, I think you misunderstood me. X-Raid (1 and 2) don't have have anything to do with Apple. They are a technology created by Netgear similar to what's in the Drobo. The first version of X-raid won't update the size of the array until all drives have been updated, but X-Raid 2 works like the Drobo in that sense. I trust Netgear's implementation more then I do Drobo, but either would meet my needs I think.
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  15. #15
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    Re: Drobo Trap Drobo Crap, Your Data isn't PROTECTED!

    Quote Originally Posted by cjlacz View Post
    They don't ship overseas unfortunately. I may try and find a vendor that will, or have someone in the US ship it to me. The savings will probably be worth the hassle. That sounds like a nice setup you have, although I don't have the space for it. Can you comment on how noisy Lacie boxes are compared to the Drobo? Noise is a big issue for me.
    They're very quiet, sometimes there's a very low fan noise but that's it with the Big S2S, I don't know about Big5 though. If you ever wanted I can help you with the shipping.

    Quote Originally Posted by cjlacz View Post
    I just realized, I think you misunderstood me. X-Raid (1 and 2) don't have have anything to do with Apple. They are a technology created by Netgear similar to what's in the Drobo. The first version of X-raid won't update the size of the array until all drives have been updated, but X-Raid 2 works like the Drobo in that sense. I trust Netgear's implementation more then I do Drobo, but either would meet my needs I think.
    I've been generally happy with their routers but never tried anything else from them, but you're probably right NetGear is a more serious company.

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    Re: Drobo Trap Drobo Crap, Your Data isn't PROTECTED!

    Charles & David:
    One quick correction - Netgear didn't invent X-RAID/X-RAID2, they acquired it when the bought Infrant Technologies two years ago.
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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Drobo Trap Drobo Crap, Your Data isn't PROTECTED!

    Quote Originally Posted by cjlacz View Post

    I'm glad your experience with LaCie has been good, but I'll say that 3 of the 4 LaCie external drives I've bought have died within three years of buying them.
    My experience too. Don't know what it is, but almost everybody I know that used LaCie's in the past has lost data. My local dealer stopped selling them they had so many issues. This was about 2 years ago though.

    A better option IMO if you want to go with that style of box are the G-Drives, but they are relatively expensive...

    Cheers,
    Jack
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    Re: Drobo Trap Drobo Crap, Your Data isn't PROTECTED!

    We use Lacie's exclusively at work and have about 25 500gb-1000gb hard drives in use at the moment. Number of fails: 1, but a student kicked a cord while the hard drive was spinnning and sent it flying about 12 feet so I don't really know if that counts.

  19. #19
    ddk
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    Re: Drobo Trap Drobo Crap, Your Data isn't PROTECTED!

    I have 8 LaCie externals from 250gb to 500gb in service for the past 5 years two of which have been shipped many times to different locations and none has ever failed unlike the 3 Maxtors that last only a few months. My 4 LaCie raids are fairly new, between one to two years old so we'll have to see.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Drobo Trap Drobo Crap, Your Data isn't PROTECTED!

    Some folks like Fords, others Chevys... What we prefer usually depends on our individual experiences.

    So far, I am really satisfied with my version 2 Drobo hardware, the Dashboard software AND the level of CS I've received
    Jack
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    Senior Member bradhusick's Avatar
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    Re: Drobo Trap Drobo Crap, Your Data isn't PROTECTED!

    Folks,
    One option for this is to use TWO Drobo units so that a rebuild does not leave you exposed to a single drive failure. I have one gen2 Drobo now, so if any of you want to sell me your gen2 Drobo, I'd be interested.
    -Brad

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Drobo Trap Drobo Crap, Your Data isn't PROTECTED!

    Quote Originally Posted by bradhusick View Post
    Folks,
    One option for this is to use TWO Drobo units so that a rebuild does not leave you exposed to a single drive failure. I have one gen2 Drobo now, so if any of you want to sell me your gen2 Drobo, I'd be interested.
    -Brad
    Ditto -- consider me in line right behind Brad, but only for a gen2 unit, with or without drives.
    Jack
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  23. #23
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    Re: Drobo Trap Drobo Crap, Your Data isn't PROTECTED!

    I see that you have had some drobo issues and they sound a lot like mine. Could you tell me how you fixed the disk structure. My drobo has lost the ability to mount. I can see it on the drodo dashboard, but it will not mount to my computer. Most disk rescue utilities are useless, because they require a like size drive for the destination. I don't have a 2tb drive, so I'm stuck. Any help would be greatly appreciated

    Thank you,
    David

  24. #24
    meilicke
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    Re: Drobo Trap Drobo Crap, Your Data isn't PROTECTED!

    The zfs file system protects against bit rot (the 10^14 reference above). Currently open solaris, freebsd, and Linux (but slow) support this. Snow leopard server will support zfs read/write. Today leopard just supports read (beta code for read/write is available now).

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    Senior Member bradhusick's Avatar
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    Re: Drobo Trap Drobo Crap, Your Data isn't PROTECTED!

    Drobo is having a sale on two drives. Maybe we could do a joint-buy?

    Sweet Deal on Two Drobos Through March 31st

    For a limited time you can get TWO of our award-winning Drobo with 4TB’s each for just $1,698 (that’s a $300 savings)!

    Whether it’s for your personal use or for your business, Drobo offers you peace of mind with zero management and dynamic capacity expansion.

    With this Sweet Drobo Deal, you can:
    • Use one Drobo for onsite storage and one for offsite backup
    • Split the cost with a friend (that’s $849 per 4TB bundle!)

  26. #26
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    Re: Drobo Trap Drobo Crap, Your Data isn't PROTECTED!

    David,

    I had the same mount problem after a brief power outage. I bought DISK WARRIOR software and that fixed everything.

    If you are on a MAC, you might first try disk repair in the disk utility first.

    Mike

  27. #27
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    Re: Drobo Trap Drobo Crap, Your Data isn't PROTECTED!

    Thanks mike. I have two drobos one hooked to my mac and one to an xp pc. The mac has been flawless as a time machine backup. The xp machine was the one that was down. Last night I hooked it up to a vista pc and it had the same problem. The disk utilities would not populate the drive, so no luck there. It froze the disk utilities app and I had to reboot. That is when things got interesting. Vista remembered the disk caused the problem and ran chldsk at the root level. I saw alot of deleting and moving and reindexing and got really nervous. After ten minutes it stopped, rebooted and I had my drobo back with all the working files and pictures.Not one byte was lost. It would have been nice for drobo support to know this I talked to them once, they had me send them a log file and then never got back to me. Oh well, I guess If you want it done right you must do it yourself. I hope this post helps someone else.

    David

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    Senior Member bradhusick's Avatar
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    Re: Drobo Trap Drobo Crap, Your Data isn't PROTECTED!

    Windows? There's your problem right there!

  29. #29
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    Re: Drobo Trap Drobo Crap, Your Data isn't PROTECTED!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    My experience too. Don't know what it is, but almost everybody I know that used LaCie's in the past has lost data. My local dealer stopped selling them they had so many issues. This was about 2 years ago though.

    A better option IMO if you want to go with that style of box are the G-Drives, but they are relatively expensive...

    Cheers,
    Me too. After my past experiences, IMO, Lacie is safe only when unplugged and on the shelf ... otherwise it's a crap shoot. 2 drives were victims of sudden death syndrome, and they were not that old. I also had a Western Digital drive go with 150 gigs of data which WD could not get back ... basically it was a catastrophic train wreak inside that specific drive that happened as I was backing up the last 20 gigs onto DVDs ... but that was years ago.

    Nothing is really totally safe except maybe 2 different off-site storage locations that mirror each other.

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