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Posted: 3/9/2011 3:21:09 PM EST
Does it rock as much as it appears to rock?

Thanks.
Link Posted: 3/9/2011 3:38:06 PM EST
Link Posted: 3/9/2011 4:13:15 PM EST
I've read that the Drobo's are good but slow. Some amazon.com reviews talk about technical problems. Price is in line with other NAS systems.

All I really need is a box with four or five drive bays that I can connect to my HTPC via eSATA. Problem is that I want to be able to dynamically resize the array with different sized disks –– just like Drobo. Start with two 2TB disks today, add another pair of 3TB disks when they come down in price, and a 4TB disk two years from now... Then swap out the 2TB disks with 8TB disks in three years, you get the idea.

Is the Drobo the only system that allows this sort of configuration? Speed is not a HUGE issue, all it needs to do is be capable of streaming HD/blurays from the array.

Newegg has several different NAS boxes, not sure I really need gige at this point and again, my focus is the flexibility of different sized drives being added and removed while the array is up and not having to move data, repartition the array, format, move data back, etc.

Secondarily, is there a free software package that can do this? Maybe an old tower with an atom board in it would be a better solutiuon.... Ideas?

Link Posted: 3/9/2011 4:57:41 PM EST
Originally Posted By tucansam:
I've read that the Drobo's are good but slow. Some amazon.com reviews talk about technical problems. Price is in line with other NAS systems.

All I really need is a box with four or five drive bays that I can connect to my HTPC via eSATA. Problem is that I want to be able to dynamically resize the array with different sized disks –– just like Drobo. Start with two 2TB disks today, add another pair of 3TB disks when they come down in price, and a 4TB disk two years from now... Then swap out the 2TB disks with 8TB disks in three years, you get the idea.

Is the Drobo the only system that allows this sort of configuration? Speed is not a HUGE issue, all it needs to do is be capable of streaming HD/blurays from the array.

Newegg has several different NAS boxes, not sure I really need gige at this point and again, my focus is the flexibility of different sized drives being added and removed while the array is up and not having to move data, repartition the array, format, move data back, etc.

Secondarily, is there a free software package that can do this? Maybe an old tower with an atom board in it would be a better solutiuon.... Ideas?



Does Drobo have it's own form of fake raid (parity without having an actual array), or does it just not have any redundancy?

If you are looking for parity (replace dead drive) without being tied to arrays, you might want to take a look at Unraid. I think there is a free version (only 2/3 drives?) and paid versions (mine allows for 16 drives, IIRC).

If you don't need/want redundancy, there are tons of solutions.

One thing to consider, even without RAID arrays, popping in new drives and transferring data around on them can take quite a while... not as long as a full backup/new array/restore, but it is still quite a long chore. Especially when you're talking about 2-4TB drives.
Link Posted: 3/10/2011 11:09:09 PM EST
I have one of the 2nd Gen 4 bay Drobos connected to a Mac Mini with FW800 for my media. It's not the fastest thing in the world - but then, it's not too expensive compare to some of the other options around. It is redundant with their own proprietary RAID system. I have upgraded disks on the fly - it started with 2x 1Tb drives, then 3x, now 4x. The rebuild time is quite long. Had a technical query when I first got it and was using it with Win 2003 - but a firmware update fixed that. It's been running 24x7 since the end of June 2009.
Link Posted: 3/11/2011 7:30:45 AM EST
Drobos sound expensive. Over $700 for just a box (Drobo S), no hard drives, and it doesn't even have an Ethernet port. Really? What am I missing that's worth that kind of cash?

I don't like the sound of the software. Some of the reviews at Newegg were complaining that the network version of the Drobo does not have a Web page, but instead you have to use some kind of goofy "Dashboard" software to access the Drobo. Can anyone shed light on that? I would think you could access it just like any other server.

The eSATA implementation on Drobos sounds screwy. I was trying to help a fellow Linux user get his Drobo up and running late last year, but we were ultimately unsuccessful. Long story short, eSATA Drobos only work with a narrow range of eSATA cards, and none of those cards' manufacturers offer Linux drivers, so it was impossible for him to use his Drobo via eSATA.
(thread on Ubuntu forums)

I would be really, really cheesed if I shelled out for an eSATA Drobo, and then it didn't want to work on my motherboard's eSATA port because of a lousy drivers issue.
Link Posted: 3/11/2011 10:03:53 AM EST
Originally Posted By tucansam:

Secondarily, is there a free software package that can do this? Maybe an old tower with an atom board in it would be a better solutiuon.... Ideas?



http://sourceforge.net/projects/freenas/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FreeNAS

I'm going to be looking seriously at this on some old hardware later this year.
Link Posted: 3/12/2011 8:07:20 AM EST
Drobos are cool, but I don't trust any NAS that uses propriety-closed 'RAID' schemes..

QNAP, Thecus, ReadyNAS and Synology are the bigger names in NAS for the home-small business.

I have a Synology DS-1511+ with 10TB of raw storage (5x2TB drives) and it seems to take everything I can throw at it (it's in RAID 6).

However, it's what you pay for.
Link Posted: 3/12/2011 2:29:15 PM EST
Originally Posted By TheRocketmac:
Drobos are cool, but I don't trust any NAS that uses propriety-closed 'RAID' schemes..


Worth saying here again that no RAID should be considered as backup by itself. I have seen arrays disappear on the most expensive of controllers...

I use a Drobo - and I'm happy enough with it. The entire Drobo is backed up periodically onto plain NTFS formatted mirrored drives that are stored offsite, and the important data is on three machines and backed up in the cloud...

Link Posted: 3/14/2011 3:35:32 PM EST
Originally Posted By target-hunter:
Originally Posted By TheRocketmac:
Drobos are cool, but I don't trust any NAS that uses propriety-closed 'RAID' schemes..


Worth saying here again that no RAID should be considered as backup by itself. I have seen arrays disappear on the most expensive of controllers...

I use a Drobo - and I'm happy enough with it. The entire Drobo is backed up periodically onto plain NTFS formatted mirrored drives that are stored offsite, and the important data is on three machines and backed up in the cloud...



My comment was geared more towards the the thought that It's phase 1 in a multi-tiered approach of data backup/redundancy. I'm a storage engineer by profession, so my comment about the closed-proprietary 'RAID' schema is more of a "I don't like what I don't know" kind of deal.

My scheme.

Computers (x4) -> NAS (has 4 USB2.0 ports on it) -> External drives (rotated off-site every week - 4 drives rotate)
NAS -> Cloud
External Drive -> Fire Safe (local-2 of the 4 drives from step 1) - oldest drive gets zeroed while 2 sit in the safe.

I only backup music, images, home movies (of vacations, wedding and such), important virtual machines and documents. So it all still fits on 2TB for now. (My NAS is setup for 5.66TB ~ Raid 6). The cloud service I use allows for unlimited space/version-cataloging, so I shouldn't have to worry there (they backup to tape/off-site as well).

So yes, the NAS (RAID container) is a single-point of failure, but the data can be recovered from the cloud, local copy or the off-site drive.
I also keep a few extra disks around (same that is in the NAS) for when a drive fails.

So with the 1 is none, 2 is one approach, I'm sitting comfortably at the '5 is four' mark (not counting the extra local drives).
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