Drobo Rebuild Time and Your Sanity

I am one of the aspiring new media yahoos that bought into the fever gripping folks everywhere – the Drobo (a play on words for “data robotics.”)  Leo Laporte, Scott Bourne and all of those folks loudly proclaimed about what a fantastic device the Drobo is.

I’m here to tell you it sucks.

Now, first a disclaimer – I’m moaning about the generation 1 Drobo.  I know that a 2nd generation Drobo and a DroboPro have both been released and I’m sure they are much better devices – but there are still some serious problems here that you, the prospective buyer, need to be aware of.  If that’s you, maybe you can skip down to the bullet list for consideration below.

I purchased a Drobo for use in our studio that is expecting to have terabytes of data and loaded it up with 4 1TB Seagate 7200.11 drives.  The Drobo saw them, fired itself up and ran beautifully… or so I thought.

I noticed that the Drobo’s throughput was pretty slow.  Oddly slow.  No, ridiculously slow.  It was so abysmally slow that it was clear from minute one that this thing was only going to be useful for long term storage of archived data or as a Time Machine disk.  Okie, so it’s so slow that even as a Time Machine disk it’s problematic, but I suffered through it.  I was “feelin’ droovy” like everyone in twit.tv said I would.

Then I lost a hard drive.

At first, the Drobo didn’t indicate there was a drive failure.  It suddenly acted like it was out of drive space – at least that’s what it tried to indicate by flashing all four of the drive bays red and green.  Uhm, okie.  Either I lost all four drives or you’re trying to tell me something.

After a reboot of the Drobo, it told me that one of the drives was just bad.  It flagged it with a red light and the software, Drobo Dashboard, informed me as such.  (NOTE: If you use Snow Leopard, you can forget about using Drobo Dashboard in the 64-bit kernel as they still haven’t updated it yet.  Snow Leopard has only been available to developers for almost a year now, guys).  If you want to do anything in regards to checking error messages or updating firmware, you have to use the Drobo Dashboard kids.  That means you won’t be using the 64-bit Snow Leopard kernel.  Oh well, Drobo’s not the only folks guilty of this oversight.

Anyway, after going back to the 32-bit kernel and checking to see what’s going on, the Drobo was upset about a drive failure.  I ordered a replacement drive from Seagate and brought it into the office and replaced the dead one.  Drobo then warned me that it couldn’t protect me from hard drive failures because it was rebuilding the array.

…and it was going to take 1,447 hours to rebuild.

What?  Yes, that’s right.  Better yet, the time to rebuild changed repeatedly.  Sometimes it went to 887 hours, then 2,088 hours, then 48 hours, then back to 1,447 hours.  Drobo couldn’t make up his mind.  The drives were spinning relentlessly.  It was beating on the drives so long and so hard that I became concerned after about a week that another drive might fail in the process.  Fortunately, I could access the data on the drives and copy it off just in case, so I did so.

It’s been two weeks and the array is still building.  It’s also still copying my data off the drive.  That copy has been going on for about three days now.  I’m sure the data copy isn’t helping the throughput at all, but having my array in a compromised state for two weeks without an accurate time estimate to completion is completely unacceptable.

I started to research what was going on here and noticed that other people around the net were experiencing incredibly bad performance issues as well, especially as it pertains to array rebuild times.  The support kb at Drobo says “it can take some time” (not a direct quote), but two weeks is outrageous.  Oh yeah, and it’s still not done by the way.

My copy still has about 11 hours left, so hopefully the data will be copied off the Drobo before it dies completely.

I started thinking about the ramifications of this problem and realized that the Drobo wasn’t entirely a good idea.  I thought I’d bullet those out for you here.

  • Drobo uses a proprietary technology that is NOT based on RAID.  The proprietary technology has marketing materials on it, but that’s about all you’re going to get.  It’s the company’s secret sauce.  It’s something akin to ZFS, but all in all, you’re just going to have to trust your data to them.
  • A key selling point to the Drobo is that this secret sauce allows you to use drives that are varying in capacity and it will squeeze every byte out of it that it can.  That’s nice, but the performance of the unit is so poor that I no longer give a shit.
  • Drobo is very, very proud of their proprietary technology.  So much so that they’re willing to charge you a premium for the privilege of using it, even if it is slow.
  • Drobo performs adequately for almost nothing (other than long-term get-it-out-of-my-site storage) until it has an issue.
  • If it has an issue, you will not know about it under the 64-bit Snow Leopard kernel, if you’re not within eyeshot of the unit.  The Drobo Dashboard can send you alerts.  But if you’re using the 64-bit kernel, it’s not going to send you jack.  It’ll blink at you from across the table… that’s about it.  Hopefully this changes VERY soon.
  • The company charges a mandatory fee for firmware updates and support.  If you don’t pay them a yearly fee, you will not get any support beyond the knowledge base.  You also will not get software and firmware upgrades.  I realize that charging for support is not an entirely new thing and many companies do it, but paying a fee for firmware updates is insane.  (Garmin, I’m looking at you and those maps you want me to buy for the Nuvi, too).
  • The last bullet sucks so bad that you should stop considering a Drobo purchase.
  • Drobo is proprietary, expensive and forces a regular maintenance fee upon you.  You are handing your data over to an unknown, unproven algorithm.  Don’t do that.  I shouldn’t have.  I need to remember to be skeptical of things like this, stop buying into the hype and stick with a solution that has been proven (also known as RAID).

I ordered a Promise Smartstor DS4600 to replace the Drobo.  It’ll do good ol’ RAID5.  Once the copy finishes, I’ll be pulling the drives out of the Drobo and putting them into the DS4600.  I’ll put the Drobo someplace else… maybe hang it off the server for large archival storage one day when I feed it some more drives.  Until then, forget it.

ONE OTHER NOTE: No, I did not call Drobo Support.  Perhaps I should have, I don’t know.  I’m not sure what I was expecting them to do aside from saying, “Yeah, that will take a while.  Sorry buddy!”  So I didn’t.  Mea Culpa if you want to hold me to that, but I’m sure someone out there understands why I didn’t.

Update: Just in case any of you think I’m off my rocker (which I am, but that’s besides the point) – here’s a screen capture of my Drobo Dashboard.  Keep in mind we’re starting on WEEK THREE of the rebuild.  Check out the estimated time to completion after two full weeks…

Estimated time to completion dialog from the Drobo Dashboard.

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4 thoughts on “Drobo Rebuild Time and Your Sanity”

  1. Hello,

    I saw your post and I’d like to take a moment and respond to the issues you raise here. I am a product marketing manager at Data Robotics and we’re sorry you’re having difficulties with your Drobo, and I’d like to assure you that our support organization is there to help out. Please give them a call at 1-866-426-4280, they will do their best to help you resolve your rebuild time issue.

    As you mentioned in your post, you are using the original USB 2.0 Drobo connected to your host. Since the release of that product in 2007 we have come out with two additional products; Drobo 2nd Generation and the DroboPro each product has substantial performance improvements over the original 1st generation product. To help the throughput issue, both the DroboPro and Drobo 2nd generation support Firewire 800/400 in addition to the slower USB 2.0 connection. The DroboPro also supports a Gigabit iSCSI connection to the host which is much faster than USB, as well as Firewire 800. With the addition of Firewire 800 and iSCSI to the product line you should see substantial speed improvements over the USB 2.0 interface found on the original Drobo product.

    One of the key engineering tenants for Data Robotics is to make our storage products simple to setup and manage. Along those lines we’ve developed the BeyondRAID technology that you mention in your entry. BeyondRAID blends the goodness from older traditional RAID into a single self-healing, self-managing system. With BeyondRAID, you have the best of RAID 1, 5, 6 without the limitations of those RAID levels. Your rebuild time issue notwithstanding, BeyondRAID technology is fast and efficient as well as extremely easy to manage. This is what the majority of our customer base demands.

    As I’m sure you are aware, with many computer systems and accessories there are regular software upgrades for products once the initial products are released. Rest assured we at Data Robotics, Inc. continually strive to solve issues as they arise and update features with our firmware and the Drobo Dashboard software. As a Drobo customer the updates to your Drobo firmware and Drobo Dashboard software are *FREE* to download at any time. There is no need to have an extended service contract with us to do this. All you need to do is to select the “Check for updates” option in your Drobo Dashboard software, and the latest firmware and dashboard software will be downloaded automatically. Also, you also have complete free access to our knowledge base and of course all the other materials on our website at http://www.drobo.com. The additional service contract extension you mention in your post is for our on-call support line. As a registered customer of Data Robotics with an out of warranty product, you can extend your call-in privileges by purchasing a $129.00 contract extension. This price is valid for everyone until December 31, 2009.

    Also, soon Drobo Dashboard will be updated to support the 64-bit Mac OS X 10.6 aka Snow Leopard, and should be available by the end of 2009. As a Drobo customer, this update will be a *FREE* download at http://www.drobo.com.

    As we all know, disk drives will eventually fail. One of the key features built into every Data Robotics storage product is to manage drive failures as gracefully and efficiently as possible. The data protection scheme BeyondRAID offers, including the self-healing capabilities, are always striving keep your data safe upon a drive failure. In your case, it seems the restructuring process seems to be taking longer than normal and there can be a few causes to this. First may be you’re actively accessing your data by data while the rebuild is in progress. This will extend the rebuild times because accessing your data and rebuilding the failed drive simultaneously are competing for CPU time on the Drobo causing each to take more time than normal. Be assured that if you stop copying your data off the Drobo then the rebuild time will recover to normal levels. Further, updated firmware will help reduce the rebuild times once the immediate rebuild process that is running completes. More recent products have increased CPU power and, therefore, decreased rebuild times upon a drive failure.

    Another factor could be the error handling quality of the surviving drives themselves. Your Drobo will work with any SATA I or II drives, but some drives are better than others. I’m not sure which drives you are using in your Drobo but, given the age of your Drobo, it may be the case that drives you are using are very old and don’t handle errors very efficiently. Newer, more modern disk drives may help the situation.

    Computing technology continues to evolve and improve with faster process and better technologies. I believe it’s unfair to judge a technology that you haven’t upgraded when all the other technology that surrounds it has probably been improved.

    In that light I would like to make you and your readers aware of our customer upgrade program. For registered owners of an original Drobo you can get a $50 off discount on the purchase of a new Drobo 2nd Generation or $200 off the purchase of a DroboPro. To take advantage of this discount, customers need only call our sales line in the US at 1-866.997.6268 or email sales@drobo.com to get your upgrade coupon.

  2. This is my experience with Drobo S
    My English is bad, but I think you will get the picture.
    Speed is so slow your hear will turn grey.
    All my drives are new and work fine in any other device and in raid configuration. Only the drobo fails. (5 green WD 20EARS 2TB disks)
    I would like spending my time on using a working drobo. Getting more angry avery time.

    Discussion Thread
    Customer (Luc) 10/04/2010 07:41 AM
    Hello again,

    I don’t get any response and don’t know why.

    The fifth drive is put in to place again. Drobo tells me every thing is fine and I have about 45% space left.
    When testing with quicktime player the movie is very choppy and scrolling takes ages (beach ball)
    iTunes is very slow and the music stops and goes on again. scrolling songs is very slow. (Beach ball turning)
    iPhoto takes a very slow start. When reordering my photos into albums and events the beach ball is there all the time. It is really not workable.

    Come on, it is really not funny anymore.

    Please give me a working drobo. I also can not attache the drobo diagnotic file????

    Luc
    Customer (Luc) 10/04/2010 02:20 AM
    >
    Hello,

    I dont get any reply?

    Since I have my drobo back I did a AJA test and send it to you.
    Also the upper drive sundenly gave me a red light. I removed the disk and let the drobo repair itself. With 4 drives it did a diagnostic from the drobo and I will send you this file with this mail.

    Conclusion until now. My drobo is very slow. No movie can be played without being choppy. Scrolling a movie gives a beach ball. Playing music in iTunes gives choppy sound as well.

    Now I ‘m going to put back the fifth drive.
    What is the solution to make my drobo work as it should and be happy again.

    Luc
    >
    Customer (Luc) 10/04/2010 02:17 AM
    Hello,

    I dont get any reply?

    Since I have my drobo back I did a AJA test and send it to you.
    Also the upper drive sundenly gave me a red light. I removed the disk and let the drobo repair itself. With 4 drives it did a diagnostic from the drobo and I will send you this file with this mail.

    Conclusion until now. My drobo is very slow. No movie can be played without being choppy. Scrolling a movie gives a beach ball. Playing music in iTunes gives choppy sound as well.

    Now I ‘m going to put back the fifth drive.
    What is the solution to make my drobo work as it should and be happy again.

    Luc

    I can not ad the drobo log??
    Customer (Luc) 09/30/2010 06:08 AM
    Hello,

    I have my drobo back since yesterday september 29. Nothing has changed. The drobo is as slow as ever and wont go to sleep (disks do not spin down). Video playback is choppy. iTunes music scrolling takes a long time. I see the mac coloured wheel too often for too long. I used to be happy with my drobo, now I don’t trust it!
    All the disks are brandnew and should work a lot faster then my drobo performs. An ordinary JOBD raid I made of 6 1TB disks, connected over USB deliver a smooth continuous read and write data-rate from approximately 15MB/s and plays the same videos perfectly. No matter which test I perform, AJA system test or any other, I always get the same results. The JOBD is smooth and continuous with a reasonable 15MB/s and the drobo not smooth with peaks. This can not be normal? My drobo over firewire with 5 new good working disks should be a lot faster than a JOBD made of 6 slower 1TB disks over USB.
    Also my drobo came back with no explanation at all over what they did to repair.
    I will perform your AJA test again and send it to you. The AJA test duration was about 3 hours!!

    Luc
    Customer (Luc) 09/30/2010 06:05 AM
    > Hello,

    I have my drobo back since yesterday september 29. Nothing has changed. The drobo is as slow as ever and wont go to sleep (disks do not spin down). Video playback is choppy. iTunes music scrolling takes a long time. I see the mac coloured wheel too often for too long. I used to be happy with my drobo, now I don’t trust it!
    All the disks are brandnew and should work a lot faster then my drobo performs. An ordinary JOBD raid I made of 6 1TB disks, connected over USB deliver a smooth continuous read and write data-rate from approximately 15MB/s and plays the same videos perfectly. No matter which test I perform, AJA system test or any other, I always get the same results. The JOBD is smooth and continuous with a reasonable 15MB/s and the drobo not smooth with peaks. This can not be normal? My drobo over firewire with 5 new good working disks should be a lot faster than a JOBD made of 6 slower 1TB disks over USB.
    Also my drobo came back with no explanation at all over what they did to repair.
    I will perform your AJA test again and send it to you. The AJA test duration was about 3 hours!!

    Luc
    >
    Response (Nadine K.) 09/22/2010 05:22 AM
    Dear Mr. Luc,

    we are going to pick up your unit with the following serial number TDB094950114 on the 23.09.2010 with the carrier GLS, tracking number 87894273532 (tracking at http://www.gls-group.eu possible).
    This pick up is a result of our incident number 100906-000004.
    If you have any further questions to this incident number 100906-000004, please do not hesitate to call on our hotline.
    Please make sure that you have securely wrapped up the unit (original packaging) without any accessories and any kind of papers.

    Yours sincerely,
    Nadine Kappel

    Technical Support Agent
    Data Robotics, Inc.
    E-Mail: http://support.datarobotics.com/app/utils/login_form/redirect/ask

    UK: (+44) 0 2030 249580
    Austria: (+43) 0 1 206091049
    Belgium: (+32) 0 2 2008116
    Finland:(+358) 0 97 2519194
    France: (+33) 0 811 640032
    Germany:(+49) 0 6184 2099000
    Italy:(+39) 06 89386001
    Ireland:(+353) 0 15 245159
    Netherlands:(+31) 0 20 2061312
    Norway:(+47) 0241 59774
    Poland:(+48) 00800 4421091
    Spain:(+34) 91 2754718
    Sweden:(+46) 0 85 1761399
    Switzerland:(+41) 0848 000343

    Best Practices: http://www.drobo.com/support/best_practices.php
    Customer (Entered by Claus B.) 09/22/2010 03:54 AM
    Drobo wurde bei Kunde nicht abgeholt wie vereinbart, Bitte neuer Abholung veranlassen, pickup Donnerstag 23.9.2010
    RS: Nadine Kappel geht dies klar, Neuer Pickup veranlasst
    Customer (Luc) 09/21/2010 11:15 AM
    Hello,

    I am getting angry. Just as you asked me to do I called the hotline number 022008116 last week. They told me that they come and collect my drobo on tuesday 21 september. My wife had to stay home all the time but nobody came. I recalled hotline and then they said to call again next day if not collected before 19.00 hours . Is this user friendly support?

    – No other drobo without a creditcard. (discrimination?) Only repair, if they come to do it.
    – No collect on the day that was agreed!

    Isn ‘t it possible that the person who will collect the drobo takes another one to replace mine. You will save a trip and you are sure you will get your drobo
    back. I perhaps will then have a working drobo.

    Also I would be happy to send my drobo to you and wait to get another fast working version. As long as the problem will be fixed within a reasonable time.

    Luc
    Customer (Luc) 09/19/2010 12:23 AM
    Hey,
    The problem is not solved as you might think.
    Next tuesday, my drobo will retrieved at home for repair. This will take about 10 days according to them.
    They would ‘t replace my drobo with a new one since I do not own a credit card!!!!!
    Is this discrimination?
    I hope they will fix the problem and will that contact with after repair and test.

    Luc
    Customer (Luc) 09/16/2010 09:00 AM
    > Hello,

    I contacted the hotline number you gave me. They would not replace the drobo since I don’t have a credit card???? They will take the drobo on tuesday, repare it and send it back to me. Why do I need a credit card?
    You always mention slow spin up time as a possible cause for slow performance. I don’t understand. The drives never spin down anymore although I set the drobo to spin down after 15 minutes. When the drives never spin down how can they be the cause of slow performance in spin up time. When they spin, they spin, isn ‘t it? What is it I don’t understand?
    Thank you for being helpful.
    I hope the problem gets solved.

    Luc
    >
    Response (Claus B.) 09/16/2010 03:17 AM
    Dear Mr. Luc,

    thank you for your inquiry to the technical support.

    Your data should not be at risk. it just seems liek the hard drives are a little slow in the spin up time, this could cause a slower perfomance.

    To rule out an hardware error on your Drobo we can offer you a replacement, however cannot promise that it will solve your problem, if the Problem itself is the harddrives you are using.

    Please contact our hotline directly by phone 02 2008116, our agents will then arrange a swift replacement of your device with you.

    Please refer to this incident 100906-000004 when calling our hotline.

    Thank you very much for your understanding.

    Have a nice day.

    Yours sincerely,
    Claus B.

    Technical Support Agent
    Data Robotics, Inc.
    E-Mail: http://support.datarobotics.com/app/utils/login_form/redirect/ask

    Belgium: (+32) 0 2 2008116

    Best Practices: http://www.drobo.com/support/best_practices.php
    Customer (Luc Vorstenbosch) 09/16/2010 03:00 AM
    > My problem is not solved. Contact is very confusing. Where exactly to respond?
    Also I do not have spare disks to put in my drobo. All the disks are brand new. I already removed one of them on your suggestion and nothing changed. It toke a hole week to rebuild. Running the performance test always gives different results. When using the drobo nothing changed. Slow and choppy video performance. When testing other drive they always give my a smooth continious performance, the drobe runs every test with peaks up and down. I’m also very afraid to lose data from years of hard work.

    >
    Response (Claus B.) 09/16/2010 02:43 AM
    Dear Mr. Luc,

    thank you for your inquiry to the technical support.

    After the repair we still see some issues with slow spin up times for your hard drives.

    If possible we would like you to make a test with another diskpack:

    – shut down your droboS,
    – remove Diskpack,
    – power up Drobo
    – insert 2 hard drives that was not prior in use with the droboS,
    – format new diskpack
    – run performance test.

    f your drobo will still be this slow, we will surely replace your unit.

    Thank you very much for your cooperation.

    Have a nice day.

    Yours sincerely,
    Claus B.

    Technical Support Agent
    Data Robotics, Inc.
    E-Mail: http://support.datarobotics.com/app/utils/login_form/redirect/ask

    Belgium: (+32) 0 2 2008116

    Best Practices: http://www.drobo.com/support/best_practices.php
    Customer (Luc) 09/16/2010 02:37 AM
    I got a mail from you that my problem is solved.
    It is not solved. I used diskwarrior to repair the drobo with little or no succes. The unit is still slow. Movie playback is very choppy. My USB bunch of disk performs perfect with the same data.
    I send to you my latest drobo performance test.
    What do I do wrong for you to think my drobo is fine?

    Luc
    Customer (Luc) 09/15/2010 03:55 AM
    Hey,

    I used diskwarrior for repair.
    Here are the latest test reports. They seem to be a little better but movie playing is still choppy and scrolling in quicktime player very slow.
    How to proceed?

    Luc
    Response (Claus B.) 09/15/2010 12:39 AM
    Dear Mr. Luc,

    thank you for your inquiry to the technical support.

    It would be to prefer, if you could provide performance tests and a fresh diagnostic file after the repair has been finished.

    Then we will be able to see if we need to replace your unit, or if we are havin an issue with your diskpack.

    Thank you very much for your cooperation.

    Have a nice day.

    Yours sincerely,
    Claus B.

    Technical Support Agent
    Data Robotics, Inc.
    E-Mail: http://support.datarobotics.com/app/utils/login_form/redirect/ask

    Belgium: (+32) 0 2 2008116

    Best Practices: http://www.drobo.com/support/best_practices.php
    Customer (Luc) 09/14/2010 01:10 PM
    > Hello,

    I will try to repair, but without the fifth disk in the drobo. I had to take it out before and it toke 140 hours to rebuild.
    So first I try a maintenance tool with the 4 harddrives in my drobo.
    Do I have to do another performance test and send it to you after repair?
    You say that my harddrives spin up slow? I find them spinning all the time and never spin down.
    Right now I ‘m try to repair. It seems to take ages.

    Luc

    >
    Response (Claus B.) 09/14/2010 02:41 AM
    Dear Mr. Luc,

    thank you for your inquiry to the technical support.

    As the incidents 100905-00001 and this incident is coveryng the same subject, we have closed it, and further tracing will follow in this incident number.

    The performance of your Drobo is still very low, the new diagnostic file still shows some slow spin up times from the harddrives, and to my regret also some date corruption.

    Please try to run a repair with your disk maintenance tools or with DiskWarrior (if available) to clean up this corruption.

    If this is not going to raise the performance the next step will be to replace your unit.

    Thank you very much for your cooperation.

    Have a nice day.

    Yours sincerely,
    Claus B.

    Technical Support Agent
    Data Robotics, Inc.
    E-Mail: http://support.datarobotics.com/app/utils/login_form/redirect/ask

    Belgium: (+32) 0 2 2008116

    Best Practices: http://www.drobo.com/support/best_practices.php
    Customer (Entered by Claus B.) 09/14/2010 01:32 AM
    Hello again,

    Finally.
    After 140 hours of rebuilding I now can send you the next result of my drobo ‘s performance. It it still very slow, even after removing the upper drive as requested. Can not scroll or play a movie in quicktime. Loading a movie is slow. Playing very choppy. Scrolling very slow.
    I doubt that there is something wrong with my drives. I really suspect the drobo.
    Here are the results.

    Luc
    Customer (Luc) 09/08/2010 08:55 AM
    > OK. The new results will be in about a week. The drobo takes 140 hours to rebuild. (Wow!!)

    Luc
    >
    Response (Claus B.) 09/08/2010 08:11 AM
    Dear Mr. Luc Vorstenbosch,

    thank you for your inquiry to the technical support.

    we cannot rule out if this hard disk will be the only cause of the low performance, or the reason why your hard drives did not spin down.

    The hard drive might be working without any problems in a standard installation in your computer, but in the beyond raid system of the drobo it might cause data corruption and slow performances.

    A repair tool such as disk maintenance tools or diskwarrior will not be able to rectify the slow spin up times of the harddisk. But harddisk will be working in another configuration, as within the drobo.

    We will need to await the new diagnostic files after the relayout process has finished

    Thank you very much for your cooperation.

    Have a nice day.

    Yours sincerely,
    Claus B.

    Technical Support Agent
    Data Robotics, Inc.
    E-Mail: http://support.datarobotics.com/app/utils/login_form/redirect/ask

    Belgium: (+32) 0 2 2008116

    Best Practices: http://www.drobo.com/support/best_practices.php
    Customer (Luc) 09/07/2010 08:35 AM
    > The disk is removed. I will send a new diagnostic rapport when ready. Please tell me what I can do with the removed disk. Can it be repaired by some sofware like disktools pro or diskwarrior and how do I procede?
    Is the removed disk the reason why my drobo won ‘t spin down?
    >
    Response (Claus B.) 09/07/2010 07:18 AM
    Dear Mr. Luc,

    thank you for your inquiry to the technical support.

    The test show us a quite low performance, from the diagnostic file we see, taht this will be caused by the disk in the upper slot with serial number: WD-WCAVY2890456.

    This disk has some problem with slow spin up times this will then cause the problem with the low performance.

    Please try to remove this drive, and after the relayout process has finished run a new performance test.

    Thank you very much for your cooperation.

    Have a nice day.

    Yours sincerely,
    Claus B.

    Technical Support Agent
    Data Robotics, Inc.
    E-Mail: http://support.datarobotics.com/app/utils/login_form/redirect/ask

    Belgium: (+32) 0 2 2008116

    Best Practices: http://www.drobo.com/support/best_practices.php
    Customer (Luc) 09/06/2010 09:00 AM
    Please see mail
    Customer (Luc) 09/06/2010 09:00 AM
    > Since English is not my own language I don’t really know how I have to respond. Should I type between these lines and send any attached document over your site??
    Hope this works.
    You mentioned in your answer my drobo FS. I have no FS, it is the DROBO S.
    So mounting via SMB or AFP is not an option. My drobo is connected via firewire to my iMac
    I did the AJA test but do not know how to save it, so I made a screenshot.
    I will send AJA test and Drobo diagnostic via the site and here.
    Could you please tell me why the drobo does not spin down anymore?

    Luc
    >
    Response (Claus B.) 09/06/2010 07:07 AM
    Dear Mr. / Mrs. Luc,

    thank you for your inquiry to the technical support.

    To be able to follow up why/if the performance of your drobo is too slow, we will need some performance test results.

    We recommend the Kona benchmark tool. This is available under AJA “Kona System Test” at
    http://www.aja.com/ajashare/AJA_System_Test_v601.zip
    We do not recommend the XBench tool. Research into XBench has revealed a decidedly critical and negative view of this software as a reliable benchmark.
    To measure (or view) Drobo performance (in real time while Drobo is actively being used) use OS X’s “Activity Monitor” as a reliable means of measuring drive performance.
    Select the specific drive under “Disk Usage,” then choose “Disk Activity.”
    1) After power-cycling the FS, ensure that the FS is mounted via SMB or AFP

    2) Open AJA Systems Test

    3) To “focus” the Application (AJA Systsems Test) and enable eventual access to preferences, click anywhere inside the application, for example
    right under the “Start” button.

    4) Now, go to the top left of the Finder window and click on AJA KONA System Test

    5) Choose KONA Systems Test Preferences

    6) Go to the Advanced portion, near bottom

    7) For “File I/O API”, choose “Unix” (not Mac)

    8) Then choose “Enable networked volumes” only for Drobo FS

    9) Ideally, run the read/write test with the following settings:

    a. Test: Sweep File Sizes
    b. Video Frame Size: DVCProHD 1080i60
    c. Disable file system cache

    10) After clicking Start, there will be a delay of at least 20 seconds before test begins

    11) Please generate a new diagnostics directly after ending this performance test and send it to us.

    Please upload the files to this incident by following the instructions of the attached pdf document.

    Thank you very much for your cooperation.

    Have a nice day.

    Yours sincerely,
    Claus B.

    Technical Support Agent
    Data Robotics, Inc.
    E-Mail: http://support.datarobotics.com/app/utils/login_form/redirect/ask

    Belgium: (+32) 0 2 2008116

    Best Practices: http://www.drobo.com/support/best_practices.php
    Auto-Response 09/06/2010 01:26 AM
    Our system has automatically searched our online Knowledgebase for possible solutions to your problem. Please review the answers below:

    Title: Why is my Drobo storage device slow to access files from my Aperture library?
    Link: http://support.datarobotics.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/314

    Title: Optimizing the Array
    Link: http://support.datarobotics.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/478

    Title: Are there any configuration settings that I should use to make sure I use to get the best performance and stability out of my DroboElite in a vSphere 4.0 environment?
    Link: http://support.datarobotics.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/363

    Title: Do Drobo storage products support data scrubbing?
    Link: http://support.datarobotics.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/304

    Title: Why is my DroboPro still exhibiting poor performance after updating the firmware to version 1.1.4?
    Link: http://support.datarobotics.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/377

    If this preliminary response did NOT answer your question please include a diagnostic file with your submission.

    http://support.datarobotics.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/83/kw/diagnostic/r_id/100004
    Customer (Luc) 09/06/2010 01:26 AM
    Since a few weeks my drobo is very slow.
    It has five 2TB WD caviar on board and is about halfway full.
    Drobo is connected over firewire to my iMac.
    Drobo has only music and movie files.
    Playing a movie in quicktime is nearly impossible. Slow access and very choppy.
    Diskwarrior reports “speed reduced by disk malfunction” when trying to rebuild the directory.
    Drobo disks do not spin down anymore.
    Drobo reports everything is fine and healty.

    My drobo clone backup with a JBOD 6TB raid over USB work fine and faster then the drobo.

  3. Can I just say that I wish I had found this site two weeks ago!! For the past six years I have been as happy as can be with my JBOD setup on Windows Server to store my pictures, movies and documents. I have a full managed Gigabit network and life was good.
    Last week I fell for the beautiful looking Drobo Pro with so many cool features, at $1400 I was hoping for much more than just a pretty face. With Windows Home Server removing the Drive Extender feature, I was on the hunt for a device to utilize my various size/speed drives and be able to have some redundancy and peace of mind for my irreplaceable pictures. I didn’t want to go out and purchase a bunch of new drives for a real raid setup when I knew technology has to be good enough at this time to bring all of my existing drives into a harmonious volume. Let me tell you, I used it on USB as I was setting it up and it performed as your Drobo did years ago. (Hopefully you can tell me life DOES get better after a Drobo experience!) In Drobo’s defense the first four days using Iscsi on a dedicated GB NIC I was getting quite good speeds and was able to stream all of my content just fine.
    Day five. After getting all of my pictures and videos “Moved” over. Since I was migrating all of my data to this safe new device, I had to get clever with moving data off each hard drive then popping it into the cool, no tool drive slots. I was getting gitty and excited like a little boy on Christmas morning as I saw the volume grow and feeling more and more at peace knowing that my data is now safe and secure using this professional device in a mere home environment. It is way overkill right for what I needed, but I couldn’t help it after reading all of Drobo’s literature on how great they think their products are. I have now enjoyed my experience so far, it brought all of my mismatched drives together, my data copied over quickly, I had a few days of peace of mind and really felt money well spent! I even let me Brother drool over my new purchase and was going to look into getting Him one for His home.
    Day Six, Storm hits! Drobo informs me I have a drive failure, it was one of my 2TB drives. I’m thinking to myself no problem, this drive is less than a year old under warranty and this is a good experience, I will be left in awe of how great this product is, it gets to show me what it is made of, I will pop a new drive in and be grinning ear to ear! Because really, drives fail, this is what I forked out $1400, I was feeling lucky actually, like I was just in time! Even though I kept a backup with my old Jbod setup, this felt much better. I was sold that this sweet little device was going to show me how great it’s rebuild was going to be. I use raid at work all the time, it has a little more involvement in switching out the failed drive as you sometimes have to deal with drive enclosures or trays. I was so excited to see this sexy machine do it’s proprietary wonder! Remember, I migrated all of my data over and filled this beast up with drives. I completely trusted this company and this shiny Sh!t box with my years of pictures and family videos. I made the mistake of breaking the cardinal rule, the rule that I always tell family, clients, and friends NEVER to break! Never, Ever, Never, Ever keep your important files in one place or on one device! it will eventually fail!! and you will be out everything! But this couldn’t be my case could it? This is why I bought this, it really isn’t only one device…it has a proprietary raid-like algorithm that Drobo robotics has put to the test in every situation…right?? This baby has BEYONDRAID!! “Redundant Protection, No Headaches!” I even watched and fell for the Cali Lewis video, She made is sound so simple. She said ” it ALWAYS keeps your data safe and accessible!” Accessible…Safe….we will see.
    So here I am, I added another drive. I have it set for Dual Disk Redundancy, I am going to be just fine….right Drobo? Hello Drobo? Where are you and where the hell is my data! My volume and mount is nowhere to be found. I did everything right…right?? I downloaded the latest drivers and firmware, I have the new dashboard, I am using Iscsi, dual redundant disks, professional hardware, what could there possibly be to worry about?? Well after trying everything, even having Microsoft Iscsi to reinitialize the session, rebooting the server, rebooting the drobo, reading articles on possible data corruption and fixes. I finally get it to see the drobo again, and my volume appears to be there now. My drive letter comes back up It is telling me it can’t protect me as it is rebuilding data, okay fine I will just let it finish. I didn’t even access the drobo, as I just wanted the damn array to rebuild quicker. I want all my green lights not to flash orange and green. The lovely dashboard tells me it will take 3400 hours to rebuild!! What!!!??? this has to be a mistake, I go to the dashboard again and think it must just have a glitch and it’s not responding, so I politely ask this robotic data wonder to restart itself. This will fix it, it has to, everything will be great! It seems I am trying to convince myself at this point…
    Well it came back up and went from 3400 hours to 2600. I have now waited 48 hours and now it doesn’t show any hours, just the fact that data protection is in progress. I can’t access the volume, I want to just get my data off this POS and accessible again. I also don’t want to be jacked around like the last post, so I refuse to talk with incompetent people from a very misleading company about their inferior on the inside, pretty on the outside box that has turned me upside down. Needless to say, I am getting my data off this F’er and letting someone else have their way with it.
    Just curious how many weeks, months, years…you had to wait to get it to rebuild itself?

    Thanks for your site, I hope others will see this first before they become victims of shiny pretty things that will end up screwing them.

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