Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: [1]   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: Anyone Using a Drobo for Data Storage?  (Read 2230 times)
Photolandscape
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 67


« on: June 13, 2010, 09:59:58 PM »
ReplyReply

Hi, about three months ago I bought a 4-bay Drobo to backup my data. I added 4-2TB hard drives. Call me a little paranoid, but what led me to make the plunge was the failure of one drive of a 1.5TB external Maxtor drive, configured as a RAID. Had I not had it, I would have lost the majority of my images.

So without doing much research, I took the plunge and got the Drobo. I can't say I've been very happy with it. The product documentation is poor, and I have found it to be very erratic. It could be that I just don't understand it, or haven't done my homework. I don't know. I have it hooked up now to a MacMini via FireWire 800, with 4GB of RAM and the 2.53 gHz processor.

Anyway, I just wondered whether anyone else out there has one, and would be open to some dialogue about how it works, best practices, problem solutions, etc.

If so, please let me know. Thanks.
Logged
DarkPenguin
Guest
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2010, 10:41:15 PM »
ReplyReply

How are you using it?  As a backup or as main repository?  If the latter how are you doing backups?
Logged
ckimmerle
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 442



WWW
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2010, 10:57:53 PM »
ReplyReply

There's not a lot of documentation needed, really. Insert the drives, install the software, plug in to the computer. Done. That's the beauty of it.

I have the first version of the 4-bay Drobo (no firewire) and have no problems. It's a bit noisy at times, but I think that was addressed in the newer version you have. I used mine as a progressive backup using Retrospect 7.6. That way I have access to all of the saved versions of my images. I augment that with a pair of hard drives that are duplicates of my main photo archive drive.  Can't have too many backups.

Chuck

Logged

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

Chuck Kimmerle
WWW.CHUCKKIMMERLE.COM
feppe
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2909

Oh this shows up in here!


WWW
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2010, 03:32:12 AM »
ReplyReply

RAID is not backup. Drobos especially don't (anecdotally) have a great track record on reliability.

It's a very straightforward product so I'm not sure what you're looking for. There are plenty of discussions on Drobos here, and there's an official forum with much more info.

Best practice is to have an actual backup, and at least one offline and offsite.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2010, 03:32:49 AM by feppe » Logged

DaveLon
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 124



« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2010, 09:19:40 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: Photolandscape
Hi, about three months ago I bought a 4-bay Drobo to backup my data. I added 4-2TB hard drives. Call me a little paranoid, but what led me to make the plunge was the failure of one drive of a 1.5TB external Maxtor drive, configured as a RAID. Had I not had it, I would have lost the majority of my images.

So without doing much research, I took the plunge and got the Drobo. I can't say I've been very happy with it. The product documentation is poor, and I have found it to be very erratic. It could be that I just don't understand it, or haven't done my homework. I don't know. I have it hooked up now to a MacMini via FireWire 800, with 4GB of RAM and the 2.53 gHz processor.

Anyway, I just wondered whether anyone else out there has one, and would be open to some dialogue about how it works, best practices, problem solutions, etc.

If so, please let me know. Thanks.

Using Drobo connected to MacPro as the Time Machine disk for some 10 months now with absolutely no problems. I do not use auto backups but use 'backup now' so I know exactly when the back up to going to happen.

Dave

Logged
andyptak
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 240


« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2010, 10:38:27 AM »
ReplyReply

Drobo has a lot of fans and I don't dispute their experience with it. As for me, after about nine months of frustration with it and with tech support, I threw it in the garbage.
Logged
Jack Flesher
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2595



WWW
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2010, 11:01:09 AM »
ReplyReply

I think the DROBO strengths are it is first an easy-to-manage "automatic" RAID-5 device, and as such, it makes an excellent device to use as a backup array.  However, I view its viability only as a backup device and not a your primary storage array!  As a primary storage device it is frustratingly slow and there are many other, better and faster options available at comparable price-point for this purpose.   Personally, I think you're asking for trouble if DROBO is your only and thus primary storage array, but *IF* you have to have a DROBO as your primary working array, then be sure to back it up to something else -- even if it's a second DROBO.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2010, 11:05:16 AM by Jack Flesher » Logged

Photolandscape
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 67


« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2010, 02:21:59 PM »
ReplyReply

First, thanks for all the responses. Lots of interesting perspectives on the Drobo.

Dark Penguin--I use mine as both a backup and as the main/sole repository of all my photo data. Maybe I misunderstood what I was getting when I bought the Drobo and added 4-2TB drives to it, but at the very least, my assumption was I would have a) lots of storage, and  it would be backed up so that if one or two drives crashed, the other 2-3 would more than cover what I could lose.

I was clearly ignorant about how it works. My assumption going in was that it worked pretty much like any RAID with two or more drives, mirrored, as my Maxtor 1.5TB worked befpre one of its two drives went down a little after I'd had it for a year. Once I determined what had happened and that the second/mirrored drive was fine, it was a tremendous relief.

I still don't understand what a Drobo is really doing with my data. Where exactly does the data reside across the 4 drives? Even though I have 4-2TB drives installed in it, it appears that the fourth one isn't recognized. Not sure why, or how to change that....

Hi Jack. I'm a big fan of yours and Guy's, and a fellow Leica shooter. As I told Dark Penguin, I guess I really don't understand the difference between a backup array and a primary storage device--arent't they really one and the same thing?

One thing I would like to change is--not doing auto backups, which seem to always start at the worst possible time, and instead, would like to do manually-initiated backups when I want to do them.

I hope I don't come across as being too ignorant. I am the sort of person who would probably be all over this if I did it full-time, but I make my living in a different field and photography is my passiona/avocation, so I've probably already forgotten more than I ever knew.

Look forward to any responses you might care to give. Thanks.
Logged
martinreed22
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 50


« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2010, 03:14:03 PM »
ReplyReply

Key questions to ask yourself when thinking about backup in this scenario:
- What happens if my XYZSuperStore dies completely?
- What happens if the building my XYZSuperStore is in burns down/gets stolen?
- Do I care beyond that to have another layer of backup?

The Drobo - for all its benefits, which it does have - should be treated as a unit that could die as a whole. The software inside it could run amok and delete/damage data, even if it is duplicated internally against disk failure.

Personally I go with a three layer approach:
1. Local disk inside my main system, which is my working copy.
2. Backup to another system at the same location (equivalent to Drobo).
3. Offsite backup (online service in my case for convenience).

Actually, being data paranoid I duplicate each layer as well. I really don't want to lose my images and other key files . Compared with what I spend on photo gear, the extra cost is lost in the noise of my credit card creaking.

I'd agree that the Drobo isn't really designed to be your "working copy"

cheers, martin
Logged
ckimmerle
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 442



WWW
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2010, 04:21:23 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: Photolandscape
I use mine as both a backup and as the main/sole repository of all my photo data. Maybe I misunderstood what I was getting when I bought the Drobo and added 4-2TB drives to it, but at the very least, my assumption was I would have a) lots of storage, and  it would be backed up so that if one or two drives crashed, the other 2-3 would more than cover what I could lose.

The 4-bay unit will protect against ONE drive failure, not two. In the case of a drive failure, that means that if, in the process of automatically moving data to the three good HD's (might day a full day) a second drive fails, all data is lost. THAT is why the Drobo should only be used as a part of an overall, real-time backup/archive system, as others have pointed out, consisting of multiple on-site copies as well as off-site.

As to the difference "between a backup array and a primary storage device"...whatever they are called, you should have, at minimum, two levels of data files. The first is something like the computer's D: drive (which I use), or external SATA drive, that contains all of the image data and is the ONLY place where photos are accessed, saved, and resaved. By having only one primary storage device accessed, you eliminate problems of trying to archive altered and saved works from multiple drives.

The second layer consists of archive sets (HD's, RAIDs, Drobo, DVD's, BluRay, tapes) which copy from the primary storage drive. The best solution is a mix of different media, with at least one copy stored in a distant, off-site to protect against regional disasters such as tornadoes, etc. These archives can either be exact copies (duplicates) of the primary storage, or progressive backups which keep all previous saved data, adding new data as it is saved. That means you'll be able to go back in time and rescue a file even after editing and saving it dozens of times.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2010, 04:32:18 PM by ckimmerle » Logged

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

Chuck Kimmerle
WWW.CHUCKKIMMERLE.COM
Jack Flesher
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2595



WWW
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2010, 08:24:20 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote from: Photolandscape
Hi Jack. I'm a big fan of yours and Guy's, and a fellow Leica shooter. As I told Dark Penguin, I guess I really don't understand the difference between a backup array and a primary storage device--arent't they really one and the same thing?

One thing I would like to change is--not doing auto backups, which seem to always start at the worst possible time, and instead, would like to do manually-initiated backups when I want to do them.

Your primary working volume is typically something that has relatively fast I/O. This can be a large, fast single drive, or an array. Without getting too deep, many photographers that typically work with large files and/or large numbers of files like a RAID-0 array for really fast reads and writes.  RAID-0 is the least reliable RAID you can have, so it is imperative it is locally backed up for when it fails. (Note I said when, not if.)  That local back-up should be a separate volume, but since it is only back-up, a speedy I/O is not a high priority, reliability is. Here, a JBOD (single disks) type array would probably be okay, but a RAID-5 array is ideal as it has some added redundancy in case of a single drive failure -- this is where I think the 4-bay DROBO is a fine choice for the reasons outlined above.  The really paranoid will want RAID-6 (two-drive failure redundancy).  

As for back-ups on Mac, I use Carbon Copy Cloner to copy my working array to my back-up array. Super Duper is another good choice. Both allow you to run scheduled back-ups, so you can set these to run at night when you're not on the machine.  In CCC you can always run a scheduled copy manually -- I assume Super Duper is the same, but don't use it myself so cannot confirm. This may solve your back-up issue.

As long as we're on the topic of back-up, one thing to remember is a local disaster like a fire will wipe out all local arrays, so it is a good idea to have a third, offsite back-up strategy. Some use cloud services for this, others store only raw files offsite. I use single drives that are copies of my working array and store them in a fire proof safe at my house. I keep them current after every large shoot, and recommend at a minimum you back them up monthly.  

Cheers,  

 

 
Logged

Christopher
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 944


WWW
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2010, 05:14:34 PM »
ReplyReply

Pretty simple, my RAID 5 system which can do around 500mb/s read and write and has huge numbers in IOs is a working volume. My Drobo Pro which has 6 drives and is configured as "RAID 6" (two drives can fail) can do around 20-40mb/s which is way to slow to actually work woth. So it is a backup only.
Logged

Pages: [1]   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad