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Author Topic: Drobo Buyers/Owners Your Data Isn't Protected!  (Read 18051 times)
ddk
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« on: January 06, 2009, 07:29:47 PM »
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I know there's been some recent excitement 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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david
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2009, 08:17:12 PM »
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Um, what?

This is true of a lot of raids.  While the rebuild is going on you're in a degraded state.  And if the rebuild is courtesy raid 5 pairity data it can take quite a while to reconstruct that.

Even in our SANs that used to be a PITA.
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jjj
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« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2009, 09:00:35 PM »
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The thing to do is use Drobo or any other RAID unit as Backup, not storage I have a Windows Home Server [I thought it was a much better product than the Drobo for many reasons] and the WHS backs up data I have elsewhere anyway, so if I need to add/change drives The data being rejigged is not just on there anyway.
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ddk
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« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2009, 09:15:51 PM »
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Quote from: DarkPenguin
Um, what?

This is true of a lot of raids.  While the rebuild is going on you're in a degraded state.  And if the rebuild is courtesy raid 5 pairity data it can take quite a while to reconstruct that.

Even in our SANs that used to be a PITA.

It never takes 20+hrs to rebuild 630 gb of data in any configuration, besides with a Raid system you have other options besides Raid 5, Raid 2 is fast to rebuild and specially Raid 6 is much more secure. You have no options with Drobo, its very slow and costs similar to the Raid solutions.
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david
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ddk
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« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2009, 09:22:59 PM »
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Quote from: jjj
The thing to do is use Drobo or any other RAID unit as Backup, not storage I have a Windows Home Server [I thought it was a much better product than the Drobo for many reasons] and the WHS backs up data I have elsewhere anyway, so if I need to add/change drives The data being rejigged is not just on there anyway.

Well, Raid systems are used for secure storage and speed, Drobo is supposed to be a Raid alternative at least security wise since it can't compete speed wise with similarly priced raids. My point is that it can't be trusted anymore than a single disk drive for important backups. What it really is, is an expensive depository for your older drives.
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david
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jjj
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« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2009, 10:36:14 PM »
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Quote from: ddk
Well, Raid systems are used for secure storage and speed, Drobo is supposed to be a Raid alternative at least security wise since it can't compete speed wise with similarly priced raids. My point is that it can't be trusted anymore than a single disk drive for important backups. What it really is, is an expensive depository for your older drives.
Any system that has a vulnerable time whilst being rebuilt should not be the only storage was my point. Two completely separate storage devices are better even if one or more of them happen to be RAID or similar as well.
In this case, it would be better to have your data on two Drobo boxes, so one would always be safe, if the other has down time to rebuild when changing/replacing drives.

Which reminds me. It's time to buy more hard drives. Again.
I'll be able to build a walli n the back yard soon out of old HDs.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2009, 12:59:07 PM by jjj » Logged

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NikosR
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« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2009, 06:49:42 AM »
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Of course you can use the Drobo as primary storage in the same way as you can use any other RAID system. you just HAVE TO BACK UP or DUPLICATE reliably your primary storage. That's true for any kind of storage system regardless of their particular RAID, fault-tolerance or rebuild performance characteristics.

No single RAID system is a fail safe system without appropriate backup or data duplication / replication.
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« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2009, 08:15:13 AM »
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I think that, given two years from now, when the price of SSDs is WAY down, Raid will be a thing of the past. One 2.5" drive will run both your notebook and desktop, and your backup. Why?

Size!

 Your 2.5" notebook drive in SSD format can easily carry 5 terabytes...anyone looking at a 32G Sandisk Flashcard right next to a 2.5" drive can easily assume this.
 Rotating platters are the only thing today that are still "dating" our computers. The only physically moving parts on a CPU should be the keyboard keys and the lid.
 According to Laptop Magazine, CPUs have increased their performance capacity 1000-fold while hard drive access times have increased by less than twice. I forget from what year this references.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2009, 08:24:09 AM by mbalensiefer » Logged
NikosR
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« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2009, 08:25:23 AM »
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Quote from: mbalensiefer
I think that, given two years from now, when the price of SSDs is WAY down, Raid will be a thing of the past.

Why? Do SSD come with a 100% lifetime guarrantee against failure and loss of data? No? I didn't think so...
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Nikos
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« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2009, 12:57:35 PM »
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Quote from: NikosR
Why? Do SSD come with a 100% lifetime guarrantee against failure and loss of data? No? I didn't think so...
I seem to vaguely recall reading about problems with SSDs, now they have become common enough for people to discover real world issues.
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« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2009, 01:05:32 PM »
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Quote from: NikosR
Of course you can use the Drobo as primary storage in the same way as you can use any other RAID system. you just HAVE TO BACK UP or DUPLICATE reliably your primary storage.
My post should have read 'only storage' not primary/only storage'. Oops It's corrected now.
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2009, 01:33:01 PM »
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Quote from: NikosR
No single RAID system is a fail safe system without appropriate backup or data duplication / replication.

Indeed.  This should be answer number one for every RAID FAQ.  Anybody relying on a single RAID 5, 6, or 7 solution for critical data storage is asking for trouble.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2009, 01:35:42 PM by Jack Flesher » Logged

DarkPenguin
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« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2009, 02:06:48 PM »
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Quote from: Jack Flesher
Indeed.  This should be answer number one for every RAID FAQ.  Anybody relying on a single RAID 5, 6, or 7 solution for critical data storage is asking for trouble.

Yep.  We used to see a lot of drives killed by the rebuild.  You'd lose one and then the strain of use plus rebuild would be too much for the next weakest drive.

Beyond that, however, is the possibility of a chassis failure.  All your drives can be fine but if the raid unit itself pines for the fjords you're sol.

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feppe
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« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2009, 03:08:10 PM »
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Quote from: DarkPenguin
Yep.  We used to see a lot of drives killed by the rebuild.  You'd lose one and then the strain of use plus rebuild would be too much for the next weakest drive.

Beyond that, however, is the possibility of a chassis failure.  All your drives can be fine but if the raid unit itself pines for the fjords you're sol.

Or there's a fire, flood, theft, etc. RAID is not meant for backup, but for uptime and/or speed.
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2009, 05:13:58 PM »
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BTW, anybody looking to *sell* their gen2 FW800 Drobo, I am in the market for a second one!
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mbalensiefer
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« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2009, 11:52:34 AM »
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Why? Do SSD come with a 100% lifetime guarrantee against failure and loss of data? No? I didn't think so...

Do raid come with a 100% lifetime guarrantee against failure and loss of data? No? I didn't think so...

 With their MTBF (mean time before failures) being much much less than that found on rotating platter drives, what would you rather risk? Five slow rotating platters or one SSD with 20% of the chance of going bad as a single drive?
Also, you can always RAID SSDs. One's performance read/writes under SSDs, I am saying, will practically make these exclusive. No one but Google and large data centers will be using old-school hard drives ten years from now.
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NikosR
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« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2009, 12:43:01 PM »
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Quote from: mbalensiefer
Do raid come with a 100% lifetime guarrantee against failure and loss of data? No? I didn't think so...

 With their MTBF (mean time before failures) being much much less than that found on rotating platter drives, what would you rather risk? Five slow rotating platters or one SSD with 20% of the chance of going bad as a single drive?
Also, you can always RAID SSDs. One's performance read/writes under SSDs, I am saying, will practically make these exclusive. No one but Google and large data centers will be using old-school hard drives ten years from now.

1st: I suppose you got your MTBFs the wrong way around otherwise your post doesn't make sense!
2nd: I would rather take no risk
3rd: You said RAID was dead, to which I gave my answer, now you tell me RAID isn't dead?  Glad you came to your senses!
« Last Edit: January 08, 2009, 12:46:00 PM by NikosR » Logged

Nikos
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« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2009, 06:18:40 AM »
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Roger.  

But I think that in five years' time you won't be using RAID; nor will most people on this board.
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budjames
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« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2009, 06:57:11 AM »
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Drobo's early advertisements boasted that you will "never" lose an image again! Sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen.

I have a friend who owns 3 Apple retail stores. He sold Drobos but had so many problems with the units and the lack of support from the company, that he stopped selling them. The early USB units had reliability issues. I'm not sure how they are now, but the concept of their "proprietary black box" scares me.

I'll stick with what I know works well - redundant JBOD towers.

My 2 cents.

Bud James
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Bud James
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jani
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« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2009, 04:27:04 PM »
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Quote from: mbalensiefer
But I think that in five years' time you won't be using RAID; nor will most people on this board.
Since devices have a tendency to fail once in a while, RAID (redundant array of inexpensive disks) will be a popular option among those of us who care for our data.

What "most people on this board" do now or in five years is pure speculation, though.

Sometimes there are other parts than the actual storage bits of the drive that fail, such as the control logic, and it would be strange if that couldn't happen to an SSD with approximately the same regularity as in HDDs.

[attachment=10891:IMG_4547.jpg]
[attachment=10890:IMG_4545.jpg]

Then above is an image of a controller chip that lost its magic smoke (you know, the smoke that's inside all electronic components, and when let out leads to immediate failure ). If that disk hadn't been in a RAID, then the data might have been unrecoverable.

Fortunately, harddisk controller cards are actually user serviceable (if you know what you're doing), so I managed to save a long rebuild time by getting the card from a faulty disk with a working card. I haven't seen SSDs which appear to be anywhere near as easily fixed.

You are of course free to gamble that your data will be just as safe without RAID as with. I won't. And I'll still be making backups.
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