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Subject: "DROBO STINKS" Previous topic | Next topic
mdonovan Gold Member Charter MemberFri 14-Dec-12 11:45 PM
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"DROBO STINKS"
Wed 24-Apr-13 07:51 PM by jrp

Mahwah, US
          

Ok ...

This post is for anyone thinking about using drobo to protect your data ... dont.

I have a drobo and a drobo fs .... I backed my drobo up to my drobo fs last year (thank god !!) However since the drobo was supposed to be protecting my data I have not back the data up since (all of 2012).

The drobo never showed any signs of failure. As a matter of fact the lights on the enclosure are still all green. However ... like many others (i discovered after reading online) ... today when I booted up somehow the file system became corrupt and I lost ALL of my 2012 data.

I tried Diskwarrior and it recreated the folders .. but they are now empty.

Since this is my first critical failure ... I have learned my lesson.

Does anyone have a suggestion for fail safe data protection ?

Thanks ... Im going to get drunk now.

M

___________________________________________________________

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - A. Einstein

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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JonK Moderator
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JonK Moderator Awarded for his high level skills and in-depth knowledge in various areas, such as Wildlife, Landscape and Stage Photography Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2004Sat 15-Dec-12 12:21 AM
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#1. "RE: DROBO SUCKS"
In response to Reply # 0


New York, US
          

I have some thoughts, based on my office environment and research for my home system (still using a multi-disk backup system with manual implementation).

I passed on Drobo not because they fail —all drive will eventually fail — but because of the proprietary data write system. If it fails, only they — if anyone — can perform recovery.

Michael, FWIW, I had a long talk with a Drobo rep at PhotoExpo in October. She assured me that Drobo now offers a recovery service. Then again, she was in sales, not support…

I like RAID systems with hot-swappable drives. As long as a drive failure is quickly addressed — a replacement drive swapped in reasonably soon — the data is not at risk or only minimally so. That said, you still have to back up your data. Period.

Backups can be other drives (they are certainly cheap enough) or DVDs (that can become a lot of disks) or tape.

Jon Kandel
A New York City Nikonian and Team Member
Please visit my website and critique the images!

  

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mdonovan Gold Member Charter MemberSat 15-Dec-12 01:37 PM
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#2. "RE: DROBO SUCKS"
In response to Reply # 1
Sat 15-Dec-12 01:37 PM by mdonovan

Mahwah, US
          

Hey Jon !

Thanks for the reply ... it was the proprietary write system that nailed me. I am thinking about some sort of hot swappable raid system now along with uploading ALL my selects to my unlimited zenfolio account.

Any suggestions for a RAID system ?
___________________________________________________________

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - A. Einstein

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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JonK Moderator Awarded for his high level skills and in-depth knowledge in various areas, such as Wildlife, Landscape and Stage Photography Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2004Sat 15-Dec-12 02:46 PM
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#3. "RE: DROBO SUCKS"
In response to Reply # 2


New York, US
          

My only exposure to RAID systems are the huge ones at work. But there are many manufacturers with RAID systems out there, a lot to research.

Jon Kandel
A New York City Nikonian and Team Member
Please visit my website and critique the images!

  

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kj_fi Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Jul 2007Sat 15-Dec-12 05:32 PM
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#5. "RE: DROBO SUCKS"
In response to Reply # 1


Vantaa, FI
          

Hi,

wíth RAID, beware of the problem of losing the RAID controller card (i.e., the hardware which controls the data in the hard disks). Two different model RAID adapters are not necessarily compatible in the way they split data between drives.

In the case you crash an old card, you may have a hard job of finding identical card to read your drives.

RAID 1 is easier on this as it simply duplicates everything. The advantage is that the PC may read simulataneously from two disks, thus speeding up all reading operations. However, having two disks inside a PC (or whatever box) is a risk as the whole packet may burn down or suffer from a power failure (e.g., due to electric current frequency fluctuation).

Best regards,
Kari

  

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esantos Moderator Nikonians Resources Writer. Recognized for his outstanding reviews on printers and printing articles. Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas, including Landscape Photography Awarded for his extraordinary accomplishments in Landscape Photography. His work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian. Nikonian since 10th Nov 2002Sat 15-Dec-12 03:33 PM
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#4. "RE: DROBO SUCKS"
In response to Reply # 0


McAllen, US
          

Michael,

I've been looking at these:

http://www.netgear.com/home/products/storage/

I don't own one yet but I'm looking at getting one in the new year. They also get good online reviews. Check the reviews on NewEgg. I was also looking at DROBO and decided not to go with it because of the proprietary system, plus they were too expensive.

Ernesto Santos
esartprints.com Ernesto Santos Photography

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Sat 15-Dec-12 08:52 PM
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#6. "RE: DROBO SUCKS"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond, US
          

Without addressing the drobo, since I have zero experience with it, I will say that not backing up your data is a serious error, even with a perfect RAID implementation. (A point of reference: my day job is building a RAID NAS device, one of the big ones like what Jon mentioned, where loss of data is not realistic.) That's because RAID protects you against one kind of problem, but there are many other types. The most obvious example is that the RAID can protect you from a disk drive failure (or possibly two, if you're paranoid and willing to invest). But if you have a different type of problem, for example you delete the wrong file, the RAID system obediently deletes what amount to all of the copies - as quickly as possible. And you have no method of recovery. Other forms of this class of error are an OS or application bug, etc.

The way the mission critical businesses do things can be scaled down to folks like us:

- first, have your primary copy protected by RAID. That could be a mirror (RAID-1) or something more complex.

- next, make copies of your data occasionally. Ideally those are "snapshots" or "point-in-time copies" provided by your RAID or your operating system, but they could be DVDs or even other hard disks. This is crucial to protecting against the errors noted above.

- If you've done this much, you are still subject to certain types of disasters, for example if there's a fire in your office, chances are pretty good that either the heat or the firefighting methods will destroy all of the HDD, RAID and very possibly all of the copies.

- To get around this, the big businesses replicate their RAID volumes to another location, a "considerable" distance away. The NYC banks, for example, mostly replicate further away than NYC and often much further - one that I have worked with extensively has a backup data center in Nebraska, and others go across the Atlantic.

- Fortunately they also had off-site copies, meaning in that particular case magnetic tape stored literally under a mountain many miles away. We can simulate this by having a couple of HDD that get a copy, say, every week from the main RAID system, and then they are taken home or to the safe deposit box at the bank, etc. With two of them you can always have one at the bank even while you're loading up the other one.

So there you have it - four HDD and some software. Two in a mirror on your primary system. An offsite copy, possibly one that includes periodic snapshots, and another one that is in rotation with the offsite.

------

As far as your current predicament, there are services that specialize in recovering things like this. If Drobo themselves do not offer something like this (if it's their bug they ought to do something for you), there are plenty of others who do. They can usually recover stuff even from disk platters that are physically damaged, although there's a limit to that. (And there's a price, too.) I've seen data recovered from a disk that had a completely dead embedded controller (meaning the circuits glued to the bottom of the disk drive) - it did not even spin up. When they had the platters grafted onto a substitute controller, they discovered that there had also been a "head surface interaction" - what we more descriptively call "a head crash" in which the read/write heads physically land on and damage the recording surface on the platters. These folks were desperate, so they had their service recover all of the data that was actually on the HDD surfaces. They got something like 98% back, the lost parts being what was under the head crash. Clearly you should not have to go this far.

My guess is that if you haven't done too much to the remaining components, it's probably fairly straightforward for some expert to go in and liberate most of the data. I'd guess that it would cost $500-$2000 depending on just what went wrong. Quite a bit for an amateur and not really so bad for, say, a professional photographer.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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mdonovan Gold Member Charter MemberSun 16-Dec-12 04:57 AM
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#7. "RE: DROBO SUCKS"
In response to Reply # 6


Mahwah, US
          

Great advice .... I'm going to follow a lot of your advice ... I will post a follow up when my implementation is complete.
___________________________________________________________

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - A. Einstein

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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jordivb Silver Member Nikonian since 01st Mar 2009Sun 16-Dec-12 10:33 PM
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#8. "RE: DROBO SUCKS"
In response to Reply # 0


Manresa, ES
          

I've done some research and read good comments about Sinology products. Even some IT professionals at our office recommended them. I'm seriously considering getting a dual disk unit to be configured as RAID 1 for my home network. See them here. they seem to have a big range. I also considered Netgear units, but I had very bad experience with a modem router from them, so I don't buy Netgear anymore.

Jordi
-Barcelonian-

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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d1sahib Registered since 18th Jan 2009Sat 22-Dec-12 04:15 PM
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#9. "RE: DROBO SUCKS"
In response to Reply # 8


US
          

I wouldn't touch a Drobo again -- ever.

Bought a unit in 2010 and it worked fine for a month or two before failing completely and I lost over 3TB of data. Fortunately, the really critical stuff (about 700GB) was backed up on another HD. Drobo support was pretty much useless and after a couple of weeks of 'troubleshooting' (which included the purchase of another unit), they finally suggested a recovery service that wanted $1200 whether they recovered the data or not.

Bought a Synology 1511 with a 501 and have been perfectly satisfied with this solution for 2 years now.

Basically, if anything fails your data is hosed and the possibility of recovering it is remote because of the proprietary file formats that I don't think even Drobo staff fully understand. Stick with Synology, or QNAP. Performance, reliability and support are far superior, and the peace of mind is priceless.

  

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david_mathre Platinum Member Nikonian since 23rd Nov 2006Sun 23-Dec-12 11:04 PM
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#10. "RE: DROBO SUCKS"
In response to Reply # 0


Skillman, US
          

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with my two Drobo disk arrays (Drobo S and Drobo 800i). Most of the time they just work, and are faster and more reliable than the Western Digital MyBooks that they replaced. Where I have had issues is when upgrading the Drobo with higher capacity hard drives. To replace the eight 2 TB hard drives in the Drobo 800i with eight 3 TB drives, I had to replace the drives one at a time, and it took 1-2 days for the system to rewrite the data across the array before adding the next drive – almost two weeks in all. Over the last year, there have been several reports on the net of folks (including some prominent photographers) having their Drobo die. The log files are encrypted, and Drobo uses a proprietary file format. Unless you purchase an extended warranty, they charge a lot for support after the initial warranty expires – some have complained that they are holding you hostage to recover your data. I’ve always had my data backed up in triplicate (at least one set off site). Because of the concerns with Drobo, I recently acquired a Synology 1812+ system and set it up using the eight 2 TB hard drives just removed from the Drobo 800i. My only complaint so far is that it gets bogged down when transferring large amounts of data. The initial transfer is very fast (30-45 MB/sec) but then slows down (1-3 MB/sec). Right now it is taking me over a day to write ~0.9 TB (~ 3,700,000 files). Bottom line is to always have multiple copies of data using different storage technologies – and upgrade as new technologies become available. I have floppy disks, tapes, CDs, DVDs, and hard drives that have failed and/or no longer have the hardware needed to access the data.

DJM

"Images of the Day" PhotoBlog
My Nikonians Gallery
ShepArtPhotography Gallery

  

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mdonovan Gold Member Charter MemberMon 24-Dec-12 02:08 PM
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#11. "RE: DROBO SUCKS"
In response to Reply # 0
Mon 24-Dec-12 05:33 PM by mdonovan

Mahwah, US
          

Ok Guys,

First of all .. thanks for all the thoughtful responses !! I love this community so much. Always professional, well thought out comments.

Here is my new solution ...


  • Voyager Q USB 3.0 hard drive dock. .. I am using this to backup my DROBO FS to a 3TB offline hard disk. (ALL MY DISKS ARE 3.0 TB Red NAS disks from WD) http://www.newertech.com/products/voyagerq.php

  • Synology 713+ NAS Server http://www.synology.com/products/product.php?product_name=DS713%2B&lang=us

    Currently it has (2) 3 TB Drives in it that are mirrored. It is easily expandable up to 28 TB using the five bay Synology DX513.

  • Zenfolio ... since my online gallery uses the unlimited Zenfolio plan. I am sending ALL my selects their way. That way I have an offsite backup of all m selects. Since I am already subscribed to them it seemed like a better solution than carbonite or google drive.
    http://www.zenfolio.com/

    I will be using zenk for this http://www.plymptonia.com/?p=20

    This may change since they have a MB limit on each file ... I am using a D800 and the file sizes are huge.


My next task is to cull my library of all unwanted images and flatten all my edits in lightroom to JPG. I am thinking I dont need to waste all this space on RAW .NEFs ... at some point the raw data becomes obtuse. Maybe keep them in RAW for a year ?? Any thoughts ?

My Drobo FS will be relegated to being an un backed up Media Server. Movie and Music files are simply too big to backup for now.

My 4 bay Drobo will be put on display, front and center at the vanguard of my junk collection ... just in front of my Bowflex and to the right of my Daytona Beach skull piggy bank.
___________________________________________________________

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - A. Einstein

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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JonK Moderator Awarded for his high level skills and in-depth knowledge in various areas, such as Wildlife, Landscape and Stage Photography Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2004Mon 24-Dec-12 04:16 PM
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#12. "RE: DROBO SUCKS"
In response to Reply # 11


New York, US
          

Michael, the RAW file is your negative, your original. It has all of the sensor information.

NEVER delete a RAW file unless you never want that image.

I understand that you have images processed to the point of perfection. But perfection is subjective, and your taste will subtly change over time, and a year or two down the road you may look an an image and say, "What if…"

Even more likely: RAW converters will continue to improve. PP software — notably the ability to make local selections and tweaks — will improve. You might want to go back and "improve" some of those older, perfect images.

For example, when Lightroom finally gets the Photoshop Content-Aware Clone Tool, don't you have images that would have benefitted from a bit of cloning had you been able to but you were too lazy to export to Photoshop? Hmmm.

NEVER delete a RAW file unless you never want that image.

BTW, you've convinced me. I'm not buying a Drobo.

Jon Kandel
A New York City Nikonian and Team Member
Please visit my website and critique the images!

  

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mdonovan Gold Member Charter MemberMon 24-Dec-12 05:31 PM
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#13. "RE: DROBO SUCKS"
In response to Reply # 12


Mahwah, US
          

Very good point ... I guess what I really need to do is get better at shitcanning my non selects. I have a problem keeping bad images. At some point the amount of data becomes counter productive.
___________________________________________________________

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - A. Einstein

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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KolinP Silver Member Nikonian since 13th May 2006Thu 27-Dec-12 03:43 AM
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#14. "RE: DROBO SUCKS"
In response to Reply # 13


Weston-super-Mare, GB
          

>Very good point ... I guess what I really need to do is get
>better at shitcanning my non selects. (....)
> A. Einstein

That's a wonderfully colourful term and I'll adopt it for my already-committed New Year's Resolution - namely to review and to 'can' even more of the too-numerous marginal shots that I've been hoarding so far.

With my previous D200 and now with my D700, I've always taken a NEF + JPEG-buddy pair with every shot, but I'm considering a carefully controlled deletion of most of those buddy JPEGs, and relying for future previewing and image sorting on the NEF-embedded 'Basic' quality JPEGs. All those buddy JPEGS are really, really (I'm telling myself ...) really redundant!

My 'secondary' image+data backup scheme uses external / eSATA hard drives, and they're now taking far too long to complete, at around 2 hours in total, and that's before I run the equally-essential verify phases on the backups.

(My 'primary' backups are done by my blissfully straightforward (home-built) Windows Home Server (WHS), which takes efficient and no-nonsense data-de-duplicated backups of both of my computers (in their entirety) in the same time it takes to pour just one PC-backup across that eSATA interface.)

I've read all of the above with great interest, thankyou, while I try to re-invent my 'secondary' backup regime ... hoping to find some backup option that comes close to the speed of my WHS box but which is still portable, and which I can implement twice, so that the secondary backups can be rotated off-site, at least once per week ...

Colin P

--
Staying busy is easy. Setting priorities is harder!
My Nikonians gallery
My other photo sites

  

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sabbey51 Gold Member Nikonian since 10th Jan 2010Thu 27-Dec-12 09:37 PM
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#15. "RE: DROBO SUCKS"
In response to Reply # 14
Thu 27-Dec-12 09:39 PM by sabbey51

Saddle river, US
          

All disk drives suck, and one must assume that all disk drives will fail sooner or later. One also needs to assume that software errors will eventually corrupt some important data you need, and you will only find out much later. The only safe solution for data protection is on-site (for rapid recovery) and off-site (for protection against fire, etc) storage. Simple clones are inadequate, as they will efficiently copy the errors on your primary to the secondary. RAID can protect you against drive failures, but will happily write software-corrupted data across all the drives.

I happen to use Apple Time Machine for my on-site backup, and Crashplan for off-site. They run independently and make frequent copies of the primary. They keep older data indefinitely (or at least for a long time), allowing you to recover from corrupted data to any earlier date. But there are many acceptable solutions. They key is diverse locations, diverse software stacks, independent processes. You dramatically reduce your risk of loss in this way.

If you're really paranoid (and you should be), take a periodic full copy of your data (like once a year) and keep it at a different location.

Disk drives? About $100.
Your data? Priceless.

  

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pqtrths Silver Member Nikonian since 02nd May 2007Wed 24-Apr-13 07:41 PM
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#29. "RE: DROBO SUCKS"
In response to Reply # 12


Dublin, CA, US
          

> Even more likely: RAW converters will continue to improve. PP software — notably the ability to make local selections and tweaks — will improve. You might want to go back and "improve" some of those older, perfect images. <

Jon:

And the skillset of the user will also improve.

My decision to delete the raw files that I did two years ago was based on my skill and comfort level with Photoshop and my first digital camera. I have increased my skills over time and would now keep some of the photos that I had previously let go.

Mp

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Fri 28-Dec-12 03:59 PM
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#16. "RE: DROBO SUCKS"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

>> the lights on the enclosure are still all green. However ... like many others (i discovered after reading online) ... today when I booted up somehow the file system became corrupt and I lost ALL of my 2012 data.

I have had over 4 years of trouble-free performance from a succession of two Drobos. A Drobo V2 for about 3 years and now a Drobo S for over a year now. I traded the V2 for the S.

The only major data "loss" I've experienced in that time was in a 4 bay Sans Digital TR4UTBPN eSata/USB3 external enclosure running independent JBOD disks. I had a bad shut down on a Win7 box (due to a Win7 problem coupled with a mistake on my part) as it was booting up. One of my 2TB drives came up "empty" when I rebooted.

I did not lose any data since I keep everything backed up 4 times over. I recovered it from my Drobo-S, which is the first line backup of my working data at the moment.

I don't blame Sans Digital, I blame Windows or fate or whatever. Because your Drobo lights were still "green" after the event, the problem is likely related to an OS problem combined with some sort of operational failure. It likely would have happened to any device acting in the same role. Or, to put it another way, do you have any solid evidence that the Drobo caused the file system failure?

I have followed the Drobo forums since I got my first Drobo. I've never seen any evidence that direct attached Drobos are more susceptible to file system failures than any other hard drive technology. I think that to assume otherwise is an act of faith (more or less shooting the messenger).

I agree with all of what was said here about maintaining backups regardless of technology. And I certainly do not and would not rely on any consumer Raid technology as a single silver bullet solution. Any Raid can fail and few consumers are knowledgeable enough to cope with any and all possible forms of Raid failure.

I personally would not own a Drobo FS. For the money there are far faster solutions and probably more robust Linux OS implementations... based on my own research I would buy a Synology myself but never owned one so can't speak from experience.

I do think Synology's method of Raid expansion is probably a better solution than the Drobo zone system, but for many other reasons than reliability. I just don't know the facts on the reliability issue and I don't think anyone else does either.

One of Drobo's often unsung benefits is that it is certified to run cheap consumer drives. I don't think there are any consumer direct attach Raid 5 systems actually certified to run consumer drives even though they are often bundled with consumer drives. And the cost of the RE Raid drives is what keeps me using a relatively expensive Drobo, verses Raiding my SansDigital box or some similar device. (NAS is a different story of course).

I'm not trying to "sell" you on the idea of retaining the Drobo(s). I think that is a very complex decision well out of the scope of one post. I'm just suggesting that replacing the hardware will not solve the real problem and it is likely you would have had the same failure with any other direct attach storage.

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

  

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JonK Moderator Awarded for his high level skills and in-depth knowledge in various areas, such as Wildlife, Landscape and Stage Photography Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2004Fri 28-Dec-12 05:27 PM
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#17. "RE: DROBO SUCKS"
In response to Reply # 16


New York, US
          

Neil, I agree that any — actually, all — hard drive(s) will eventually fail and there may not be a difference in MTBF for a drive in a Drobo as opposed to in any other enclosure. My big issue is after the failure:

• You take the drive from, say, your Synology box, and pay a data recovery service to recover.
• You take the drive from the Drobo box and pay a data recovery service — it cannot recover a Drobo drive due to the proprietary Drobo software used to write the drive.

I love the Drobo concept, the inexpensive drives, the scalability, the ease of settup and operation. It's only the data recovery aspect — the lack thereof — that stops me from buying.

Jon Kandel
A New York City Nikonian and Team Member
Please visit my website and critique the images!

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Fri 28-Dec-12 06:56 PM
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#18. "RE: DROBO SUCKS"
In response to Reply # 17


US
          

Hi Jon,

I look at it differently. Rather than rely on a data recovery service that generally costs $1000 and up, my strategy is to never need to go there.

My own backup strategy relies on simple JBOD disks that could be recovered by a data service if things got to that point. The only issue is the backup plan and frequency of backup, and etc. And I would not feel comfortable with multiple Drobos as the basis for my recovery plan. The technology itself becomes a potential single point of failure (although arguably fairly remote).

I mentioned I like the Synology disk expansion scheme better because it is based on Linux MDADM, but that is not available on any direct attached storage for Windows/Mac, which has always been Drobo's bread and butter application and my own requirement.

I suspect the Synology scheme is the "sweet spot" in terms of overall reliability and reasonable simplicity and potential recoverability. So strictly in terms of NAS storage I agree with you, although for many other reasons too.

I actually do believe that Drobos are somewhat more susceptible to multiple drive failures and I do believe that that is the root cause of most or all the Drobo array failures. My opinion is based on assessing 4 or 5 years of Drobo support forum threads. A very imperfect process since we rarely have all the information and the nature of the beast is that there are always uncertainties as to cause.

Here is the reason:

When a conventional Raid array rebuilds, the good drives are read sequentially, and the new drive is rebuilt with sequential writes. That process is not only fast but "easier" on the drives.

Drobo Beyond Raid stores data in 1GB zones. In order to provide the total flexibility of drive expansion, those zones may be striped or mirrored, depending on the sizes and numbers of drives and the upgrade history.

The result is that the array rebuilds are more or less "random access". And as was reported here, depending on the size of the drives and the Drobo model a single disk rebuild can take 24 to 48 hours. During that time all the drives are thrashing around at up to a 100% duty cycle in a more or less random fashion (as opposed to the sequential rebuild of conventional raid and Linux MDADM raid usedf by NAS boxes).

(older Drobos like the V2 rebuild at far less than a 100$ disk duty cycle - they are processor bound and that is why their rebuild times are so excessive. But newer Drobos like my S may come very close to 100% disk duty cycle)

Typically consumers do not run their arrays at or near 100% duty cycle for long periods of time. The exceptions would be the initial load-up of a lot of data or perhaps when mastering new backup copies. But how often is that done?

So now consider a typical situation where a storage array with single disk redundancy is lightly used (as it would be for a typical photographer). You have up to 4 or 5 lightly used drives that are either aging or brand new (and unproven and therefore susceptible to "infant mortality").

One drive fails. You replace the drive. The Drobo launches itself into a 24-48 hour rebuild. During that time a subsequent drive failure will kill the array.

That rebuild is a great stress test to find weak sisters but that is not what we want to do at that particular moment in time . It is likely that the rebuild will stress the drives far beyond anything they have ever seen in their lives, and the drives in many cases are quite old. Especially since a lot of people use Drobos to conglomerate the capacity of a bunch of old leftover drives.

I have come to the conclusion that it is not feasible to try to find some sort of "silver bullet" in search of a "fail safe" storage array. I am not suggesting Drobo multi-drive failures are common or necessarily more likely than other forms of failure, in the aggregate. I just point out that the above is, at least in principle, a slight negative for the technology, in addition to the practical issues related to doing array upgrades.

My old Drobo V2 required about 64 hours to rebuild a single drive at a time when I had about 3TB of data stored on it. I had those results 3 times and it is consistent with other user reports. I figured out quickly that it would be better to just kill the array and restore from a backup rather than upgrade more than one drive in a short period of time. That is why I do not believe the Drobo V2 is "fit for purpose" with modern drive capacities or even with what was available when it was introduced.

I believe my Drobo S only required about 12 hours to rebuild a similar amount of data the one time I did a disk upgrade. That is one reason I would never own a Drobo V2 again, in addition to the fact that I think 60-some hours is too long to be vulnerable.

Newer Drobos, released within the last 6 months, are marketed as being "very fast", "far faster" than older Drobos. I have not studied them in depth and therefore have not seen any real world user tests yet (given they are very new). So this whole issue is a moving target that is being resolved as Drobo puts better processors in their boxes.

There is another quirk of the Drobo and that is that Drobos are very particular about drives. They appear to fail drives that other devices (and Windows/Mac OS's in internal attachment schemes) will accept.

The official Drobo position on this is that they fail drives before other devices recognize impending failure, thus minimizing the chance of concurrent multiple drive failures or data loss from "flaky" drives.

That is all well and good but does that mean that the Drobo might also fail a 2nd drive during a rebuild, even if the 2nd drive is capable of performing more than long enough to complete the rebuild and get back to a redundant condition?

I do not know the answer to that but I believe that to be the core question that no asks, except those few that have delved deeply into at least the user experiences reported in Drobos support forum. In my mind this is the $64 million Drobo question.

(the best solution to the above is to use a 5+ bay Drobo in Dual Redundancy mode. I don't have any specific opinions/knowledge of the failure rate of dual redundancy Drobo arrays; I just assume them to be at least significantly safer than single redundancy disk arrays)

This is truly a double edged sword but the above is a cynical and arguably worst-case assessment of things.

If you spend some time studying user reviews of all the major consumer Raid devices you will find they ALL have legions of unhappy users that relied on them as a fail safe device and then lost their arrays. This is particularly true of direct attach devices used with consumer drives.

And, of course, not all array failures can be recovered- the data has to be there and that alone calls into question the idea of relying on data recovery as a feature selection.

People even manage to screw up Drobos, simply due to user error, but surely a Drobo is the most fool-proof Raid device ever made for those that are not particularly Raid savy. And the problem is that no matter how much research you do on the net most of us simply do not have a lot of real world experience with all the possible flavors of Raid failure.

A lot of Raid array losses are simply due to operator error of some sort. I think you have to factor in the big picture of all the possible failures before worrying too much about the Drobo issue I mentioned above, or any other single issue viewed in isolation. And in the end, the best solution is redundancy, not reliance on data recovery.

I can buy about 24TB of disk drives for the cost of a single data recovery incident.

And that is more or less what I did, even though my Drobo does not at the moment hold much or any critical "first line" working data. My decision there had nothing to do with Drobo reliability and in fact I traded off first line reliability for other features I deemed more important but I am always re-evaluating that decision. I trust the Drobo a lot more than those JBOD drives.

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

  

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JonK Moderator Awarded for his high level skills and in-depth knowledge in various areas, such as Wildlife, Landscape and Stage Photography Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2004Fri 28-Dec-12 07:08 PM
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#19. "RE: DROBO SUCKS"
In response to Reply # 18


New York, US
          

We don't actually disagree. I too have multiple backups and feel pretty safe. I'd just like a RAID so that I could be lazier.

I hadn't thought about the Drobo rebuild time and the risk of a second drive failure during that time. Hey, we had that in one of our office RAIDs last year, but that was operator stupidity. It took several days to put the replacement drive in but by then…

Jon Kandel
A New York City Nikonian and Team Member
Please visit my website and critique the images!

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Fri 28-Dec-12 07:23 PM
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#20. "RE: DROBO SUCKS"
In response to Reply # 19


US
          

No, we do not disagree, in terms of NAS storage. I think the Synology is a better Raid technology and at least with the older Drobo models I am familiar with you get more horsepower for the dollar although a "decent" Synology NAS would probably cost a couple hundred more than a Drobo FS - but I think money well spent.

The Synology also has far, far better built in software. Drobo relied on user developed apps that for the most part never got written, and has some other basic shortcomings you won't find with a Synology NAS.

For direct access storage (DAS), I have not found what I consider to be a better and generally acceptable solution. This post was initiated in response to problems with a Drobo DAS unit so that has been the thrust of my discussion, and I went into the detail I did because I know that the Drobo is a very misunderstood product.

There are good reasons to choose something other than a Drobo but I rarely see an unbiased and knowledgeable discussion of those somewhat complex issues.

_________________________________
Neil


my Nikonians gallery.

  

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david_mathre Platinum Member Nikonian since 23rd Nov 2006Fri 28-Dec-12 07:57 PM
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#21. "RE: DROBO SUCKS"
In response to Reply # 20


Skillman, US
          

Jon & Neil,

Thanks for the rational discussion, one of the reasons I like Nikonians. Yesterday, my Drobo S went into a 8 hour rebuild mode. None of the drive lights went red, so I don’t know which drive is having issues. They are all green again. The log file is encrypted, so I don’t know what happened. Based on the discussion, I would have been better off when upgrading the eight x 2 TB drives in the 800i with eight 3 TB drives to just rebuild the system, and restore from a backup rather than replacing the drives one at a time (24-48 hours each) over two weeks. This while dancing around 9 days of power failures post Sandy. I now have a Synology system up and running, which I will be testing as my primary data repository. Once I am happy, the 800i will become the primary backup, and I will convert it to 2-drive failure mode. Beyond this two additional JBOD on/offsite backups.

DJM

"Images of the Day" PhotoBlog
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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Fri 28-Dec-12 09:56 PM
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#22. "RE: DROBO SUCKS"
In response to Reply # 21


US
          

Hi David,

You might want to initiate a support case with Drobo and submit a log. They can determine which drive initiated the rebuild. And even if you are out of warranty I have seen several anecdotal reports that suggest Drobo will provide "free" log decryption. The log encryption is a very sensitive issue among Drobo users so it makes sense that they might do that.

The only issue I've had with my S was a spontaneous rebuild or two shortly after I got the device, then removed the drives, transported the device and then reinserted the drives. I shut it down and removed and reinserted the drives and never had a repeat. I've seen many reports of something similar, presumably related to not quite firmly seated drives.

I think 24-48 hour rebuilds for the 800i are less than exciting, considering the price. I have not seen any user rebuild reports on the new 5D. I have seen reports of sustained data transfer speeds in excess of 200 MB/s, which is pretty impressive for a Drobo. At $849, a 5D is not cheap in my book but compared to an 800i it is downright cheap .

It appears that our Drobos S may rebuild faster than the 800i, which is counter-intuitive, especially considering the price difference.

_________________________________
Neil


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mdonovan Gold Member Charter MemberSat 12-Jan-13 02:23 PM
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#23. "RE: DROBO SUCKS"
In response to Reply # 22
Sat 12-Jan-13 02:27 PM by mdonovan

Mahwah, US
          

All good info above !

Here is an update for anyone willing to listen.

I have backed all my photos to an external disk that is now sealed.

I have rebuilt my directly attached DROBO storage. I use it for importing and working with my photos locally. It could just as easily be one of my internal hard drives. But with all the available space on the drobo it seems safe enough to use on photos that have not even been deleted from my camera.

When I am happy with the import into Lightroom and my initial processing of those images, I copy them to my synology server via Lightroom. The synology has two 3TB NAS class mirrored drives at this point. This server is setup to do an automated differential rsync backup nightly to a 6 TB Drobo FS. I already had the Drobo FS so I figured for now, until I have a cloud backup plan working, it's another layer of security.

I am currently evaluating online backup for a selects Lightroom database.

___________________________________________________________

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - A. Einstein

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tmartin67 Registered since 03rd Feb 2013Sun 03-Feb-13 01:53 PM
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#24. "RE: DROBO SUCKS"
In response to Reply # 23


SG
          

I had a Drobo Pro and suffered a dual drive failure which resulted in 40% data loss. There is strong indication that the dual failure was caused by a fault/glitch in the device. So I eventually lost confidence in that company. Also the fact that the data is striped across all drives does not help in case of a failure. This is actually the case with nearly all NAS solutions. I did not want that anymore. I am now running an unRAID storage server: Standard hardware, no striping. Instead it writes data directly to the drive using a standard file system. All data disks protected by a parity drive. Even if I get a dual HD failure again, all drive are readable individually. And if there is a problem with a drive, I can take it out and analyse/salvage it separately. I also back-up everything to the cloud with Crashplan. Another option I will look into is Windows 8/Server 2012. The new Storage Spaces technology provides build-in disk reduncancy.

  

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mdonovan Gold Member Charter MemberWed 06-Feb-13 12:34 AM
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#25. "RE: DROBO SUCKS"
In response to Reply # 24


Mahwah, US
          

Just an update .... for those of you that don't know ... there is an awesome new cloud storage service called bitcasa ... they are offering unlimited storage for $69 a year (sale ... normally 99 a year)

You cannot beat that ... and their software is amazing ... install ... and you have a permanently attached unlimited storage drive (similar to dropbox ... but way more secure and better).

Check it out. Please tell them I sent you ... I might get an even further discount if you do.

https://www.bitcasa.com

___________________________________________________________

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - A. Einstein

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blossombogart Silver Member Nikonian since 26th Feb 2013Tue 19-Mar-13 08:19 PM
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#26. "RE: DROBO SUCKS"
In response to Reply # 25


US
          

boy, what a conversation...so much info to take in. I am new at considering storage choices. I have alot of research to do I can see. I like the ease and low cost of using the cloud as some have pointed out. Now to figure a reasonable (low cost) back up system...this conversation has given me alot of food for thought...and learning curve.

  

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Pdavid2 Silver Member Nikonian since 21st Jan 2009Mon 08-Apr-13 08:35 PM
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#27. "RE: DROBO SUCKS"
In response to Reply # 26


Marquette, US
          

My main drive is a newer Drobo 5D (Thunderbolt connection with mSATA acceleration of 5 hard drives). My local backup is a Drobo S (eSATA connection with 5 hard drives). I've had 2 hard drive failures and 2 expansions. Long rebid times on one occasion, but no loss of data.

I also backup everything to two sets of regular external hard drives that live 75 miles away (monthly updates).

So far, I really like Drobo (including help during setup of the newer drive). The new Drobo is very fast.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pdavid2/

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Aubrey Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Jun 2007Wed 24-Apr-13 03:28 AM
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#28. "RE: DROBO SUCKS"
In response to Reply # 0
Wed 24-Apr-13 03:29 AM by Aubrey

Limassol, CY
          

I have been using backblaze for cloud backup. I also do a local copy of my disk.
Currently I have almost 1tb on backblaze for less than 50us$ per year

I have on occasions retrieved some data... Works nicely

Aubrey

  

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robsb Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his expertise in CNX2 and his always amicable and continuous efforts to help members Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest Nikonian since 23rd Aug 2006Thu 09-May-13 01:28 AM
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#30. "RE: DROBO STINKS"
In response to Reply # 0


San Jose, US
          

My system is fairly simple First I use an internal hard drive for all of my images, data , etc. I use Retrospect to make automatic duplicates of those files to a second internal hard drive. Notice I said Duplicates and not backups. Finally that second drive is duplicated on a NAS drive. So I have 3 backups that contain all the files. Only changed or added files are duplicated so once you do your first run all other duplications are just incremental updates. The advantage of the duplicates, though it obviously takes up more space is you can open each duplicate as any ordinary file. There is no proprietary read write. All the backups are also verified during the copying process. I have never lost a file due to a single drive failure or for that matter a 2 drive failure.

Bob Baldassano
My Nikonians Gallery

"Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the
camera"

Retirement is a gift of time - Don't waste it!

  

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JSG1967 Silver Member Nikonian since 16th May 2011Fri 21-Jun-13 07:25 PM
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#31. "RE: DROBO STINKS"
In response to Reply # 0


Great Falls, US
          

Folks here have a very high-level knowledge on the various backup systems and I can't add to that.

I am chiming in only to suggest a software package called DrivePool that allows you to pool a bunch of drives, duplicate files across drives, and balance. It is like a software RAID except that the program does NOT put the files in any proprietary format. I am using it on an IcyDock enclosure with 4 WD Red drives constructed into a pool and backing up there. So far so good.

http://stablebit.com/DrivePool/Features

I also use Cloudberry to put scheduled backups to Amazon's Glacier service which is very slow on the first backup but not too expensive. It is not for frequent retrieving. That is S3 which is big bucks.

I have had multiple HD failures and have barely managed to avoid losing lots of photos and video. This setup is my attempt to get serious because now I trust nothing.

Good luck!

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Wolphin Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Mar 2012Mon 08-Jul-13 01:59 PM
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#32. "RE: DROBO STINKS"
In response to Reply # 0


Calgary, CA
          

I too have been stung by an external using proprietary format. I now get WD or Seagate externals only for that reason.

One option nobody has mentioned, and I think needs to be noted:
Synctoy

It is a free program you can get from Microsoft (part of the sysinternals). All it needs is 2 file paths (can be network locations) to work. You can have it sync changes, or even just contribute, and skip any deletions. There are plenty of settings that it will do.
If you read the notes of how to run the sync using command line, you can create a schedule to automate the sync. You can still run it manually off-schedule, and can have as many "sync pairs" that you want, and you can schedule them independently (but is a bit more complex to do).

I have all my pictures (all 350 GB) syncing from my main working drive to a 3 TB USB3 drive ever 2 hours (can be whatever you want). Since the files are just data syncing, if my main dies, I loose only 2 hours of what I'm working on. If the file is in both places and not changed, it skips, so unless I have just downloaded a photoshoot, it takes almost no time when it runs the sync tasks.

I am looking into setting up a system to allow me to place a network drive at my mom's network, and sync up to that on a weekly basis (using synctoy), to prevent any loss if the worst happens (flood/fire). As she is 20 km away, if both are hit, I have much bigger problems, and would not be caring much about my photos.

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Aubrey Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Jun 2007Tue 09-Jul-13 10:05 AM
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#33. "RE: DROBO STINKS"
In response to Reply # 32


Limassol, CY
          

The Msoft sync sounds a great idea.
Would you post your command line file to get the syntax correct and save us reinventing the wheel.

I have been using allway sync but like the idea of running in b.ground through a command line. I think I could set up allway to do the same but it's memory requirements are quite heavy.

Many thanks,
Aubrey.

  

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Wolphin Silver Member Nikonian since 04th Mar 2012Tue 09-Jul-13 06:11 PM
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#34. "RE: DROBO STINKS"
In response to Reply # 33


Calgary, CA
          

The step-by-step directions are under the program's help! Once installed, from the main page, click help, then "Learn how to schedule SyncToy". I'm not going to post the entire document here, as it is several pages long.

Mostly, it uses the system's scheduled tasks system, so as long as the locations are accessable, it can be set to run even if you are not logged in.

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RudyH Gold Member Nikonian since 04th Feb 2010Tue 23-Jul-13 05:52 PM
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#35. "RE: DROBO STINKS"
In response to Reply # 0


Houston, US
          

I've been using a Drobo going on 4 years and haven't had a problem. Knock on wood!

Rudy

Rudy Hardy
www.rudyhardy.com

  

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westcoast Silver Member Nikonian since 28th Jan 2007Sun 06-Oct-13 09:17 PM
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#36. "RE: Use RAID 1"
In response to Reply # 35


California, US
          

Having a working disk that is not your system drive, coping the data to a Raid 1 backup and having an off sight copy is a good policy. If you need more than 2 TB of storage then USB drives are less optimal, and these WD home office solutions are looking like a good value. Perhaps more than one at separate locations, that you keep replicate to on a regular basis.

http://www.frys.com/product/6906487;jsessionid=K2MQMAKiBtcdgDCHIRMI+A__.node3?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG

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Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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kholt Silver Member Nikonian since 01st Oct 2012Wed 13-Nov-13 03:44 AM
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#37. "RE: DROBO STINKS"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

Wow, this is a rather old thread come back to life....

I'm very sorry this happened to you, but understand it is your own fault and in no way the fault of your Drobo. All hardware is subject to failure and file systems are subject to corruption. Anyone that thinks that any RAID like device, including a Drobo, is providing absolute fault tolerance is dangerously misinformed. Make backups. Keep your data on multiple redundant devices. Better yet, keep a copy offsite. A Drobo is a wonderful product, but it is not a substitute for an effective backup strategy and common sense. I am amazed at how many people get so hopelessly confused by this. Any product, including its filesystem, is a single point of failure. If your data is important you should learn better than to put all your eggs in one basket. What happened to you can and does happen with all manufacturers products. If you had taken reasonable precautions you would not have lost a single "bit" of your data.

Keith

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robsb Platinum Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his expertise in CNX2 and his always amicable and continuous efforts to help members Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest Nikonian since 23rd Aug 2006Tue 31-Dec-13 06:45 AM
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#38. "RE: DROBO STINKS"
In response to Reply # 0


San Jose, US
          

When it comes to my images I am a belt and suspenders kind of guy. My main computer is a home built desktop with lots of storage. I use a 750 GB SSD for my boot drive but only store aps on it, no data. I have a 3 TB main data drive and on that I ingest all my NEFS and then on a second drive keep a second copy of those NEFS and never touch it. Once a week I back up all my images to another drive that only has my photos on it. I then back that drive to a Promise NAS. When I finish processing my NEFs all the processed NEF images are stored and copied on those same drives and jpegs are uploaded to Nikonians. So no single drive failure would ever cause me to lose any of my images.

Bob Baldassano
My Nikonians Gallery

"Nikonians membership - My most important photographic investment, after the
camera"

Retirement is a gift of time - Don't waste it!

  

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