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View Full Version : Drobo -what is it?



badbob
2009-01-09, 13:36
Is it a NAS? A USB HD? It seems quite cheap if it's a 4 bay NAS.

TomS
2009-01-09, 13:39
Simplistically (that's all I can provide), it is a mutant-RAID USB data store. It's nice in that you can mix and match disk sizes and it will take care of the redundancy for you and grow things as you swap/add bigger drives.

It can be a NAS by adding their ethernet add-on.

Tom

badbob
2009-01-09, 13:41
lol over flakey unreliable USB. No thanks. Does it have esata? Rather have that by a long mile.

whoosh
2009-01-09, 14:26
Their site also shows that it's FireWire 800 capable. Very interesting...

Goodsounds
2009-01-09, 15:48
...flakey unreliable USB....

I've never heard anyone describe USB this way. I'd be curious to hear more....

badbob
2009-01-09, 16:01
USB relies on drivers and chipsets. Had problems with certain devices, on certain PC's, same devices are fine on other PC's. Just bought two USB sticks, on one PC it disappears, but works fine on the other. Other USB devices work fine on either, such as mice and gaming controllers. Also had couple of USB drives and sometimes act up depending on phase of the moon. Lost data and partitions on USB HD. But another USB HD with exactly the same chipset has had no problems. Do a search for Pro-Lofic 3507 USB chipset.

Also problems with USB printers. Motherboard chipsets are installed on both.

USB is too tempremental to trust data storage. Reason why I used NAS's instead of USB hard drives.

TomS
2009-01-09, 18:56
FWIW, it uses SATA (SATA I or SATA II) drives internally, and if you use the droboshare (ethernet adapter) you will have a USB connection between the drobo (drives) and the droboshare (ethernet).

Tom

MelonMonkey
2009-01-09, 20:45
USB relies on drivers and chipsets.

So does SATA and so too does every single piece of hardware in, and plugged into, every computer on the planet.

Drobo customers have experienced their fair share of issues. I can't recall having ever heard of one due to USB incompatibilities.

To run Drobo with Firewire800 in Windows at a reasonable speed you'll be limited to 2TB and you should use a UNIBRAIN firewire card with UNIBRAIN drivers. Windows stock drivers can only work at Firewire400 speeds. And the Drobo on Windows with FW400 is about the same as USB.

Goodsounds
2009-01-09, 21:09
USB relies on drivers and chipsets. Had problems with certain devices, on certain PC's, same devices are fine on other PC's. Just bought two USB sticks, on one PC it disappears, but works fine on the other. Other USB devices work fine on either, such as mice and gaming controllers. Also had couple of USB drives and sometimes act up depending on phase of the moon. Lost data and partitions on USB HD. But another USB HD with exactly the same chipset has had no problems. Do a search for Pro-Lofic 3507 USB chipset.

Also problems with USB printers. Motherboard chipsets are installed on both.

USB is too tempremental to trust data storage. Reason why I used NAS's instead of USB hard drives.

I'd be curious to know what kind of hardware you are having these experiences with. Is Pro-Lofic a top drawer semiconductor parts supplier? Maybe not the case with them, but you probably know there is a lot of crap that winds up getting into the marketplace from lower tier suppliers. People buy it based on price - crap is cheaper than reliable stuff - not knowing that the quality may not be what they were expecting.

Again, maybe not the case for you, but just asking, because your experience seems quite unusual to me. Also unusual for someone to know what kind of USB chips are in their PC.

badbob
2009-01-10, 05:24
It's not just me.

http://forum.rpc1.org/viewtopic.php?t=25140



So does SATA and so too does every single piece of hardware in, and plugged into, every computer on the planet.


But from what I understand USB is more of a software driven level I/O protocol. For example I have NEVER experienced problems with PATA in DOS, you need no drivers to see PATA HD's, read or write to them. No problems with SATA either.

From my experiences USB storage devices are generally less reliable, either due to the chipsets, or drivers on the PC or a combination of both. I've had a problem were using a Firewire/USB HD did not work on Apple Mac's (tried both) at all, yet plug into a PC and works fine. Sometimes the HD disappears, or you disconnect safetly plug it in again and directory is lost. Others have reported corrupted partitions. One USB HD with Prolific worked fine for months, plugged it in switched it on- not found. Couple of days later it worked fine. I have a few USB HD and when they work, they work. But when they don't it takes dozens of times switching on, off, removing and might appear. I've had no problems with a river DAP.

With the amount of data on HD's now, and with my experiences with USB I do not trust it.

Brothers PC also problems with USB printing, if you send too much in print queue it crashes then just sends garbage to the printer. And yet with LPT printing can print pages after pages without a hitch.

I also find USB ports seems to stop working over time. One example is with optical mouse with LED, plug it in and LED flickers on and off- plugged directly into port not a hub. Plug into another USB port works fine.


It's not just on one computer but pretty much every single PC I've had, either with installing USB drivers or installing motherboard USB drivers.

For this reason I only recommend using USB for non critical devices, such as input devices. NOT data storage, it kind of makes it pointless a USB HD is used as a backup and you're trusting the data is safe, only to find when you plug it in the whole lot is gone, partition is corrupted, or one or two directories have disappered. It may just be the chipsets, but when it spans different computers, even PC's and Mac's, and may work for weeks or months, or not at all for days- then I'd rather spend my money on something else whenre I know data hasen't wiped itself such as NAS's, or if I need to backup onto HD's I'll use the internal IDE/SATA ports, or use a file server hot swop bay again with IDE/SATA.

kanoot
2009-01-10, 08:09
I have a Drobo in use with a Mac holding a very large library of music for my squeezecenter - all in all I have to say I have been very pleased with it. They are going for ease of use and to a very large extent they have nailed it (not easy to explain RAID to everyone I would think).

I've had no problems with it.

mgraves
2009-01-10, 09:12
Seems to me that it's not the best value proposition. I see the Drobo unit listed for around $425 and the NAS adapter for $185. That's $615 without drives.

I just paid $725 for the LaCie 5Big Network Disk, a 5 drive RAID NAS. For that price it came with 2.5TB in the form of 5 x 500 GB Sata-2 drives.

http://www.mgraves.org/voip/2009/01/michael-dont-do-this-michael-i-can-feel-my-files-slipping-away/

Michael

badbob
2009-01-10, 09:17
Can you buy the Lacie with a red glass sphere? :-)

Goodsounds
2009-01-10, 10:29
badbob,

You don't mention the hardware brands involved, but the symptoms you describe sound consistent with cheap/low quality parts. Maybe not the case for you and you've just had bad luck. But I don't think so.

Do what works for you, but to call USB unreliable is pretty extreme. It works for lots of people without incident or issue.