Drobo: Day 1 Stress Test

Drobo(The first of a three part series)

I’ll admit it. I tried to break my Drobo on Day 1. No, I didn’t drop it or mangle it. I just did everything backwards.

1. I plugged it in before installing the dashboard app. It showed up as a “Protected USB device”. Oookay…

2. I downloaded installed the software and installed it… via Remote Desktop.

3. I put four of the five drives in- starting with a piddly 42GB drive, a 160GB, a 320GB and a 500GB’er. Did I forget to mention I put the last two drives in backwards?

4. Did I forget to mention that I put all the drives in before powering it up, and then proceeded to format the two drives?

5. Then I put the bottom 320GB and 500GB drives in correctly. Drobo Dashboard found and automatically formatted the drives.

6. Next I started a big copy – 23GB. Started off great, though a little slow.

7. Then I got impatient about 10GB in and pulled the 42GB main drive OUT and dropped a 400GB in.

8. Transfer went fine. Then I took 300GB and let it run overnight. Logging back in in the morning- all my data was there.

So what happened? Not a hiccup. The Drobo protested with blinking yellow lights that I wouldn’t be protected against a single HDD failure. But I didn’t have to re-format, everything just worked as expected. You have to get over the confusing fact that the drives will always report 2TB to Windows (or greater) but the actual storage is much smaller. A large portion of the available space is also taken up for buffer so even after formatting I had on the order of 100GB unavailable. I suspect this is buffer space. The Drobo Dashboard gives you a true view of space on the drive (psst- where’s the Drobo Dashboard Gadget?)

As with most USB transfers however, it felt a bit slow. Here’s to hoping for an eSATA version in the future or if someone can figure out how to “channel bond” two USB ports for faster throughput (send my patent check in the mail please). 🙂

(Next up: Serving HD video off the Drobo- Media Center Style)