The Drobo Conundrum Part III

Update on the Drobo FS situation:

I want to put the conclusions out there first so people looking for Drobo FS reviews don’t need to read the rest.

  1. Performance sucks.
  2. The convenience of a shared network drive does not outweigh the poor performance.
  3. The convenience of a very large drive does not outweigh the poor performance.
  4. If I could go back in time, I would NOT buy the DroboFS, or any Drobo for that matter.
  5. I am convinced, but cannot prove, that the Drobo internals are just not powerful enough for it to deliver performance. Given the high price of the device, this seems intentional – perhaps to drive businesses towards DroboElite?
  6. I would not put any large amount of data on the DroboFS that you’re going to need in a hurry. Let’s say 70Gb+ files/folders. This pretty much rules it out for full system backups.
  7. I’m aware from other reviews that the DroboFS is not the only poor performing consumer NAS out there. So be careful whatever you buy.

Regarding point 5: I can transfer data from PC to Mac at 100Mb/s (i.e. max speed for the gigabit network). There’s no good reason that the Drobo or any other NAS – whose only purpose in life is a filesystem – should perform worse than that. At least not when being accessed from only one device on the network, surely?

So now for the rest…

Having lost patience with poor performance when accessed from the mac, I’ve been copying data off the Drobo FS for at least a week now.

Had I known it was going to take this long to remove 2TB+ of data from the device, I’d have kept accurate records and made a more expose-like post.

Anyway, My initial plan was to remove enough data from the Drobo to use half the disks for a second disk pack that I’d format from the mac to run performance tests.

Transfer speeds onto my PC throughout this process have been around 7-11Mb/s rate .

Removing one disk dropped the speed to 3Mb/s whilst the Drobo reconfigured remaining drives. The operation took a few days.

Thus removing drives creates an unacceptable bottleneck to data transfer so onto plan b: take ALL the data off the DroboFS, THEN rebuild from scratch via Reset in the Drobo interface.

I’m hoping all the data will be off by the weekend. I’ve decided not to use the DroboFS as primary storage for anything at this point so I won’t be putting all the drives back into the device. I may end up not using it at all if resetting does not improve performance.

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