Why all the Drobo hate?

nodle

[H]ard|Gawd
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So over time here I always see some threads about people hating Drobo devices. Now I was never around for the FS device, but I have heard it was slow. Now I know all about Synology, Qnap, Netgear, Whs, Zfs, etc. But Drobos have always intrigued me. Over the years I had still been rocking my little HP WHS V1 system. No complaints. I even had Crashplan backing up my shares. But I needed to update since my storage space had become limited. I looked into all the vendors listed above. I have nothing bad to say about them, I believe they all do their job just fine. But I didn't need all the extras, just a place to dump some data with a little bit of redundancy. So Amazon had a 5N on sale a few weeks ago so I thought why not? I received it and un-boxed it and plugged it in. I thought this won't be easy to set up, it will be slow, etc. I really wanted to hate this thing or find flaws in it. But guess what? It actually does everything that it says it will do. I know there are better performing boxes, or you can just make your own. But this time I just wanted a set it and forget it little box. I'm not even running the add in SSD card and transfer speeds etc. are just fine for me. The box is way smaller than I thought and slapping mixed drives in works as advertised. Like I said I went in with intentions of hating it so bad I would send it back, but for just data storage it's does what it says. Really the only downside it lack of apps. I just want a full blown Crashplan app with a easy to use GUI to put your account info in, select the folders you want to upload and then everything would be perfect. They have a community supported version but I just want a simplified version. But as far as the hardware goes it does what it advertises. So why do I always see people hating on these things? Have they actually every used them before? Anyone else have a 5N?
 
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Aug 14, 2013
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1. They cost more than they should. This applies to all the prebuilt NAS solutions.
2. They use a proprietary RAID that is far from issue free. Earlier units would semi-commonly wipe data when moved to a new drobo. And the overall issue as a whole:
3. Proprietary RAID format. The only way to recover data is to buy a new drobo to drop them in if your current drobo dies. So it is vendor lock in.

Basically, it has a whole slew of negatives that are not outweighed by positives. Due to increased cost if you just went with a standard raid, you would in most cases have enough left over money to buy additional hard drives of a proper size. and have a bigger raid as a whole.

And like all crappy RAID solutions You never have problems until a component fails, and then all hell breaks loose. The measure of how good a raid solution is all depends on precisely what happens when components die.

I personally hate all the prebuilt NASes, as I think they are largely a scam for anything besides small businesses that need something with a reliable warranty and where the labor cost would outweigh time spent researching a new build. Absolutely any other situation is better served by either a plain raid enclosure, self built NAS, or if a medium sized business, getting professional solutions with ECC ram etc.
 

JoeComp

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Some people only own one Drobo and use it without backing up their important data. When the Drobo fails they are screwed since their only copy of their data is on HDDs in a proprietary format that they cannot access without buying another Drobo.
 

nodle

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So you have to buy another drobo. Isn't this the same deal with a raid 5? Can you pull the drives and swap those on another Raid card from a different maker and chipset, and then boot up and access your data? I don't think you can. I mean worse comes to worse I have to buy another Drobo, I don't mind dropping another $500 to get my data back. I'm not defending them. I'm just saying I was pleasantly surprised it does what it says. I went in with an attitude of trying to find faults but I couldn't.
 

drescherjm

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Isn't this the same deal with a raid 5?

Maybe a HW raid card however a lot of NAS devices that cost the same as a drobo and perform better use linux software raid which to recover you do not need to purchase hardware. Stick the disks in any PC and boot off of a linux usb stick and you should be able to access the raid.
 

bexamous

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I went in with an attitude of trying to find faults but I couldn't.

I don't think most people say they're bad, like avoid them. Rather its not cheapest way of doing things... 5 bays for $550 or 8 bays for $900, both with no way to really expand in the future? Compared to putting FreeNAS on something?

You're paying extra to have something tiny you can put on your desk and is super simple to setup. NAS stuff can attach anywhere to network, so its its not like you need to put it on your desk, I have my file server in a hallway closet. And generally people on this forum are fine with having to set something up if they end up with something better or save a couple hundred.
 

ND40oz

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You can only use them if they're on the same subnet, that's my biggest issue with them and why it got sent back and replaced with a QNAP. Why even bother having a gateway setting if it can't use it?
 

schizrade

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Feb 15, 2003
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Trash. When given large loads to handle, they just crap out. Sustained file transfer rates are terrible. I have 4 B800i units some dumb ass bought that I cannot wait to toss. They suck even as a backup tool. Slow and unreliable.
 

nodle

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Trash. When given large loads to handle, they just crap out. Sustained file transfer rates are terrible. I have 4 B800i units some dumb ass bought that I cannot wait to toss. They suck even as a backup tool. Slow and unreliable.

Don't toss them, I'll take them for a Christmas present! :D
 

NetJunkie

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Drobo is known for terrible performance and a very high failure rate..without much support. They earned a bad reputation. They may have fixed all that but I don't see the reason to try them again with the other good options on the market.
 

ezno_matrix

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So you have to buy another drobo. Isn't this the same deal with a raid 5? Can you pull the drives and swap those on another Raid card from a different maker and chipset, and then boot up and access your data? I don't think you can. I mean worse comes to worse I have to buy another Drobo, I don't mind dropping another $500 to get my data back. I'm not defending them. I'm just saying I was pleasantly surprised it does what it says. I went in with an attitude of trying to find faults but I couldn't.

The good old Drobo debate. The big difference with hardware RAID cards (not fake RAIDs) is most provide hardware acceleration of their proprietary RAID format. Drobo provide no hardware enhancement and their proprietary format is only for vendor lock in.

If you found no fault, why ask the question? It's your choice and your money. Just buy the piece of crap and be happy with it.
 

schizrade

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Drobo is known for terrible performance and a very high failure rate..without much support. They earned a bad reputation. They may have fixed all that but I don't see the reason to try them again with the other good options on the market.

They haven't fixed anything. They rebranded and tossed the same shitty products out there.

Seriously, for the same price you can get so much more. Hell, a dell md1220 and perc h800 card cost the same as one of the b800i units we have. If anybody reading this actually buys one, you are a dope.
 

DPI

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Drobo = overpriced and underpowered. They have a massive advertising in their overhead. In some ways they're like the Apple of small form factor NAS -- a marketing company that just happens to sell hardware rather than the other way around. What they have is a nice dummy-proof GUI and that's apparently enough for some people.

If its working for you, great. If and when you run into a problem then you'll find out "Why all the drobo hate". I got a free drobo a couple years ago as an eval unit and the write performance was just abysmal, and what really turned me off was the pay-forever "support" where firmware and software updates are behind an annualized paywall. I dont know if they changed that or not but that drobo is just sitting in my garage now. I'd much rather get something like a Synology if I *had* to go turnkey NAS - their software stack (apps) is unparalleled.
 
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