Drobo Woes

A while ago I bought a Drobo, the 2nd edition with Firewire 800 as I thought it’d be a nice way to get a could of TB of storage attached to the Mac Pro. A lot of people rave about the Drobo, but I’ve found it to be a disappointment. It seems like a great idea, but I’ve had problems with it.


Firstly, I had a few hundred GB of ISOs that I needed to off-load from some external drives (for temporary storage, I use and recommend the 1TB Samsung SpinPoint F DT HD103UJ, a nippy and (so far) reliable drive with a 3-platter array. Maximum PC has a good review. I combine it with with good looking and performant Icy Dock MB559UEB-1S-B, with USB2 and Firewire 800 interfaces. I moved the ISOs over to the Drobo, after some testing, and of course, after I’d deleted the ISOs from the external drive, the Drobo started playing up.

It would restart a few times a day, and then it would hang occasionally. After leaving it for a while, I’d always have to cycle the power by pulling the PSU lead out from the back. I’d opened a support ticket with Drobo when the thing stopped mounting.

Something clearly had become corrupt, as when I tried to mount the Drobo volume my Mac (both my Mac Pro and my Macbook Pro), would crash with the black screen. Not good. I used a combination of tools, including Data Rescue II, Techtool Pro, and Disk Warrior 4 - they couldn’t help. At this point I knew Drobo couldn’t help, and as the data was recoverable (albeit in a time-consuming way), I blatted the hardware and drives and put them in a factory default condition. I’ve upgraded the Firmware to v1.3.0, the dashboard to v1.2.4. and guess what, the damn thing is still restarting.

I’ve had it with consumer grade crap. I’m building a ZFS server.