>> 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.