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Drobo Mini Experiences
04-14-2014, 11:22 AM
Post: #1
Drobo Mini Experiences
Curious what other folks are experiencing. I've had the device since Nov 2013:

1) 2.5" drives are capped at 1 TB each. If you need more than ~2 TB of space, don't get this model. It doesn't support any 2.5" drives over 1 TB, so with 4-bays, dual redundancy + overhead you barely get 2 TB with 4x1TB drives.

2) The Thunderbolt speed is very disappointing. Used to other external drives using Thunderbolt, the Drobo Mini seems faster than USB 2.0, but not by much. Mega copies (25+ GB) still take a long time (hours), whereas full Thunderbolt support is minutes. I know there is overhead using the managed RAID Drobo uses, but it's a significant decrease from normal Thunderbolt speeds.

3) I purchased 4x1TB HGST drives and within 5 months, 3 of the 4 drives died. I had each replaced using the HGST warranty and within 1 month, 2 died. Finger pointing aside, I've had a lot of drives and Drobos over the years and NEVER have I had this kind of failure rates. Did I get some sort of bad batch of drives? Maybe, but twice? Unlikely.

4) The unit NEVER goes to sleep. My other Drobo units would go to sleep when my computer did. I have an energy saver time frame from 10pm to 5:50 am where my system sleeps, then is up during the day hours. The Drobo Mini NEVER went in to sleep. Maybe I missed the setting, but there is nothing in the dashboard to have the unit go to sleep. I assumed it would when the system did, but it doesn't. This causes all kinds of other issues like heat, drive spin time, reduction of life, etc.

I have Time Machine via iMac 1TB HDD, Home Movies, iPhoto Library and other various backups on the drive. I'm not an extreme iPhoto user (couple times a week) and the Home Movies is really for archive, not editing or other intensive tasks.
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04-16-2014, 07:30 PM
Post: #2
RE: Drobo Mini Experiences
I received my 5D today and wow, it's amazing the difference in speed vs the Mini. For example, I copied ~80 GB folder from local to 5D took 13 minutes, the same folder from local to Mini 2.5 hours.

(04-14-2014 11:22 AM)barddzen Wrote:  Curious what other folks are experiencing. I've had the device since Nov 2013:

1) 2.5" drives are capped at 1 TB each. If you need more than ~2 TB of space, don't get this model. It doesn't support any 2.5" drives over 1 TB, so with 4-bays, dual redundancy + overhead you barely get 2 TB with 4x1TB drives.

2) The Thunderbolt speed is very disappointing. Used to other external drives using Thunderbolt, the Drobo Mini seems faster than USB 2.0, but not by much. Mega copies (25+ GB) still take a long time (hours), whereas full Thunderbolt support is minutes. I know there is overhead using the managed RAID Drobo uses, but it's a significant decrease from normal Thunderbolt speeds.

3) I purchased 4x1TB HGST drives and within 5 months, 3 of the 4 drives died. I had each replaced using the HGST warranty and within 1 month, 2 died. Finger pointing aside, I've had a lot of drives and Drobos over the years and NEVER have I had this kind of failure rates. Did I get some sort of bad batch of drives? Maybe, but twice? Unlikely.

4) The unit NEVER goes to sleep. My other Drobo units would go to sleep when my computer did. I have an energy saver time frame from 10pm to 5:50 am where my system sleeps, then is up during the day hours. The Drobo Mini NEVER went in to sleep. Maybe I missed the setting, but there is nothing in the dashboard to have the unit go to sleep. I assumed it would when the system did, but it doesn't. This causes all kinds of other issues like heat, drive spin time, reduction of life, etc.

I have Time Machine via iMac 1TB HDD, Home Movies, iPhoto Library and other various backups on the drive. I'm not an extreme iPhoto user (couple times a week) and the Home Movies is really for archive, not editing or other intensive tasks.
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04-16-2014, 07:33 PM
Post: #3
RE: Drobo Mini Experiences
(04-16-2014 07:30 PM)barddzen Wrote:  I received my 5D today and wow, it's amazing the difference in speed vs the Mini. For example, I copied ~80 GB folder from local to 5D took 13 minutes, the same folder from local to Mini 2.5 hours.

That's because 3.5" drives are much faster than 2.5" drives. Typically higher rotational speeds and much higher transfer speeds.

Drobo 5N | 250GB Samsung 850 EVO mSATA | 2 x 4TB Seagate, 3 x 4TB Hitachi | FS/EXT3 diskpack
Peak performance >100MBps read/write (based on FS disk pack, no jumbo frames, no SSD)
DroboPorts: Plex, Transmission, OpenSSH, NFS, nano, screen, bash
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04-17-2014, 09:31 AM
Post: #4
RE: Drobo Mini Experiences
hi about your HGST drives, did you keep track of the model/serial numbers of all the batches?
eg just in case they "fixed" and sent you back the same 2 drives?

(they probably didnt, but just in case)

(btw i have XP home SP2, a Drobo v1 with 2x 1TB/2x 1.5TB WD greens, & a bkp Drobo v2 with the same + a DroboShare: unused)
& a DroboS v2 with 3xWD15EADS &2x1TB in DDR mode on win7, & a drobo5D (all usb)
  • btw i did a sustained (write) operation for about 6 hours, and got 13.2MB / sec ...objection? "sustained" :)
    (16.7MB/s on a v2 & 47-96MB/s drobo-s)
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04-18-2014, 11:12 AM (This post was last modified: 04-18-2014 11:17 AM by barddzen.)
Post: #5
RE: Drobo Mini Experiences
LOL yes, not my first time down this road Wink

(04-17-2014 09:31 AM)Paul Wrote:  hi about your HGST drives, did you keep track of the model/serial numbers of all the batches?
eg just in case they "fixed" and sent you back the same 2 drives?

(they probably didnt, but just in case)

Thank you and understood, but it's a significant difference given the use cases people are expecting from a Drobo.

I couldn't imagine using a Mini for anything other than a simple backup or Time Machine only. My experience of hours vs minutes is huge for ## GB transfers.

(04-16-2014 07:33 PM)diamondsw Wrote:  
(04-16-2014 07:30 PM)barddzen Wrote:  I received my 5D today and wow, it's amazing the difference in speed vs the Mini. For example, I copied ~80 GB folder from local to 5D took 13 minutes, the same folder from local to Mini 2.5 hours.

That's because 3.5" drives are much faster than 2.5" drives. Typically higher rotational speeds and much higher transfer speeds.
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