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4-bay Gen3 Ext3 Endless Drive Chatter
06-28-2014, 09:29 PM
Post: #1
4-bay Gen3 Ext3 Endless Drive Chatter
I've got a brand-new Drobo Gen 3 4-bay (the one that just started shipping a few weeks ago), and I've got four 1.5TB Seagate Barracuda drives installed in it. I bought it to use with a Linux machine, so I formatted it as one big 16TB Ext3 partition, starting on block 2048, using gdisk (gptfdisk). I mounted it on one of my computers and copied over just over 3 TB of data (via USB 2; took over a day), so it's at 79% full.

Then I moved it to the machine it will be working with, an Intel NUC (Haswell i5 chipset) running a 3.12 Linux kernel. All the USB ports are 3.0. It mounts just fine, and from the computer's point of view it's just fine.

But it runs the hard drives. All the time. Constant drive head seek chatter. After several hours, the drives are quite hot. (the Drobo's fan seems to be fine, if at low speed.) Even though nothing was accessing it, it won't go into spin-down mode (dim LEDs). Which is odd because it did go into spin-down mode after it finished that initial 3+ TB copy.

Anyway, not being interested in losing the drives early due to wear, I shut it down cleanly. I've tried various tests with it; the most telling is that it sat there and ran the drives for over two days straight, never spinning down the drives, without its volume being mounted at all. (Unplugging the USB cable results in the Drobo going into standby mode, no LEDs on, within a couple of seconds.)

I've moved it to another machine (AMD chipset) and it seems to behave the same whether on a USB3 or USB2 port. Chatter starts within a few minutes, drives are hot within ten minutes.

Drobo Dashboard (when I have it plugged into a Mac) is convinced everything is A-OK.

So I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas of things I can try next. Thanks for your time.
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06-30-2014, 09:28 PM
Post: #2
RE: 4-bay Gen3 Ext3 Endless Drive Chatter
You say you formatted it as Ext3. What tool did you use?

Did you use Dashboard to create the volumes/partitions and gdisk to format? If so, you can't specify a location on the 'disk' since the OS has no access to the actual device.

You would be better served to create/format with Dashboard (NTFS for Linux), then use gdisk to just reformat as Ext3.

http://support.drobo.com/app/answers/det...http://support.drobo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/165/~/how-do-i-use-my-drobo-with-a-linux-

i7 Mac Mini Server, 10.10
Drobo (Gen2), USB, 4x WD 4TB RED

Drobo (Gen3), USB3, 4X WD 4TB RED

Drobo 5D, TB, 5x WD 4TB RED, 120GB Intel 525 mSATA SSD
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06-30-2014, 11:35 PM
Post: #3
RE: 4-bay Gen3 Ext3 Endless Drive Chatter
(06-30-2014 09:28 PM)mgriffin34 Wrote:  You say you formatted it as Ext3. What tool did you use?
gdisk first to create the partition map (GPT with protective MBR), then mke2fs -j to create the Ext3 partition.

mgriffin34 Wrote:Did you use Dashboard to create the volumes/partitions and gdisk to format?
No, I just used Dashboard to make sure it was running OK after powering up the first time and that it had the latest firmware (had to upgrade to Dashboard 2.6.0 just to see the Drobo at all).

mgriffin34 Wrote:You would be better served to create/format with Dashboard (NTFS for Linux), then use gdisk to just reformat as Ext3.
I'll keep that in mind if I can't deal with this some other way than a complete erase. BTW, Dashboard only gave me the option of HFS+ on the Mac.

mgriffin34 Wrote:http://support.drobo.com/app/answers/det...http://support.drobo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/165/~/how-do-i-use-my-drobo-with-a-linux-
I read that before I even started.
1) this isn't a Drobo S
2) My kernel version is 3.10. Tried both 64-bit Haswell and 64-bit AMD.
3) GPT is supported by my tools
4) Using Ext3 not Ext4. I'm even using mount -t ext3
5) no idea what it means by "create the 1 TB, 2 TB volume". Dashboard created one 16 TB "drive". (Sometimes people use "volume" to refer to a LUN, and sometimes to a partition; not sure which is used here)
6) Not using an Elite and not sure what "the management LUN" is
7) Using USB3 (no FireWire interface on the Drobo or computer)
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06-30-2014, 11:49 PM
Post: #4
RE: 4-bay Gen3 Ext3 Endless Drive Chatter
The most important tip is never use a tool on a Drobo that thinks it's accessing the 'drive' directly.

Never touch the partition table with any tool other than Dashboard.

A HFS format would be fine. The FS format is irrelevant, you just want the partition table established. Format the volumes with whatever FS you would like.

i7 Mac Mini Server, 10.10
Drobo (Gen2), USB, 4x WD 4TB RED

Drobo (Gen3), USB3, 4X WD 4TB RED

Drobo 5D, TB, 5x WD 4TB RED, 120GB Intel 525 mSATA SSD
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07-01-2014, 08:49 PM
Post: #5
RE: 4-bay Gen3 Ext3 Endless Drive Chatter
(06-30-2014 11:49 PM)mgriffin34 Wrote:  The most important tip is never use a tool on a Drobo that thinks it's accessing the 'drive' directly.

Never touch the partition table with any tool other than Dashboard.

Amen.

(06-30-2014 11:49 PM)mgriffin34 Wrote:  The FS format is irrelevant, you just want the partition table established. Format the volumes with whatever FS you would like.

I'm not 100% positive of that. BeyondRAID is actually a "filesystem-aware" RAID setup (at least according to the patent), so you may or may not be able to go willy-nilly on it.

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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07-02-2014, 12:03 PM (This post was last modified: 07-02-2014 12:07 PM by Zbig.)
Post: #6
RE: 4-bay Gen3 Ext3 Endless Drive Chatter
(06-30-2014 11:49 PM)mgriffin34 Wrote:  [..] The FS format is irrelevant, you just want the partition table established. Format the volumes with whatever FS you would like. [..]

So untrue! Of course it IS relevant - Drobo has to be able to read and understand the volume bitmap to keep track of the allocation units used and assign/free/remap them dynamically (not to mention the LED capacity bar).
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07-02-2014, 11:20 PM
Post: #7
RE: 4-bay Gen3 Ext3 Endless Drive Chatter
... which is why Linux users are told to only use Ext3, I guess.

So it sounds like I'm going to have to wipe the array down. Nuts.
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07-06-2014, 09:34 PM
Post: #8
RE: 4-bay Gen3 Ext3 Endless Drive Chatter
OK, so I hooked the Drobo up to a Windows box, installed Dashboard 2.6.0, and factory reset the whole thing. Then I formatted it as NTFS. Then I rebooted the machine to Linux and used gdisk (a.k.a. gptfdisk) to repartition. The system hung for a couple minutes, then the drive shut itself down. From then on it wouldn't fully boot.

So I dragged it over to my Mac, plugged it in, ejected all but two drives, and turned it back on. It reconfigured itself and came up successfully. So I used Dashboard 2.6.0 on the Mac to factory reset it, and then format as HFS+. Plugged in the other two drives. 4 TB available, so far so good.

Moved it back to Linux and repartitioned it, making sure to use the same start & end block numbers as the original partitions. This time it didn't lock up; just repartitioned normally. So I ran mkfs.ext3 on it to create the volume (took hours), mounted it, and rsynced my 3.5 TB of data back to it. Then when done, I unmounted it but left it plugged in to the USB port. No problems indicated on the computer's end.

That got done six hours ago. The drives are still chattering. The unit has not gone to sleep. If it's some magic involving the partition map, it must be completely undocumented.

Bear in mind that the whole time, the storage-used LED bar has shown the correct level. The Drobo seems top be perfectly aware of the amount of space used. Also, the transfer rate during the rsync was about 30 MB/s. I don't know how much of that is the fact that it's on a USB 2.0 bus.

BTW, here's the current partition map:

Code:
GPT fdisk (gdisk) version 0.8.10

Partition table scan:
  MBR: protective
  BSD: not present
  APM: not present
  GPT: present

Found valid GPT with protective MBR; using GPT.
Disk /dev/sdg: 34359738368 sectors, 16.0 TiB
Logical sector size: 512 bytes
Disk identifier (GUID): DA0E5F97-E498-44E7-9AE4-68D105A31801
Partition table holds up to 128 entries
First usable sector is 34, last usable sector is 34359738334
Partitions will be aligned on 8-sector boundaries
Total free space is 262157 sectors (128.0 MiB)

Number  Start (sector)    End (sector)  Size       Code  Name
   1              40     34359476183   16.0 TiB    8300  Linux filesystem

And here's the output from tune2fs on the one volume:
Code:
tune2fs 1.42.7 (21-Jan-2013)
Filesystem volume name:   drobo
Last mounted on:          <not available>
Filesystem UUID:          079f576f-eb92-45ed-a3d3-f5a12e73ed73
Filesystem magic number:  0xEF53
Filesystem revision #:    1 (dynamic)
Filesystem features:      has_journal ext_attr resize_inode dir_index filetype sparse_super large_file
Filesystem flags:         signed_directory_hash
Default mount options:    user_xattr acl
Filesystem state:         clean
Errors behavior:          Continue
Filesystem OS type:       Linux
Inode count:              536866816
Block count:              4294934518
Reserved block count:     214746725
Free blocks:              3402898922
Free inodes:              536660513
First block:              0
Block size:               4096
Fragment size:            4096
Blocks per group:         32768
Fragments per group:      32768
Inodes per group:         4096
Inode blocks per group:   256
Filesystem created:       Sat Jul  5 09:00:06 2014
Last mount time:          Sat Jul  5 11:29:47 2014
Last write time:          Sun Jul  6 20:13:12 2014
Mount count:              1
Maximum mount count:      -1
Last checked:             Sat Jul  5 09:00:06 2014
Check interval:           0 (<none>)
Reserved blocks uid:      0 (user root)
Reserved blocks gid:      0 (group root)
First inode:              11
Inode size:              256
Required extra isize:     28
Desired extra isize:      28
Journal inode:            8
Default directory hash:   half_md4
Directory Hash Seed:      8fa9271f-d09b-402c-8c8c-01c275823b4b
Journal backup:           inode blocks
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07-07-2014, 05:06 PM (This post was last modified: 07-07-2014 05:07 PM by diamondsw.)
Post: #9
RE: 4-bay Gen3 Ext3 Endless Drive Chatter
Nothing about how the Drobo interacts with the partition map is documented - it's a proprietary system. Best bet - format it on a supported system the supported way and then stop messing with the partition table. The way you're headed, drive chatter will be the least of your problems.

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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07-09-2014, 02:28 PM
Post: #10
RE: 4-bay Gen3 Ext3 Endless Drive Chatter
(07-07-2014 05:06 PM)diamondsw Wrote:  Nothing about how the Drobo interacts with the partition map is documented - it's a proprietary system. Best bet - format it on a supported system the supported way and then stop messing with the partition table. The way you're headed, drive chatter will be the least of your problems.

From the page linked by mgriffin34 above:
support.drobo.com Wrote:the Drobo will simply be seen as a SCSI drive (e.g. /dev/sdf) and so when it comes to partitioning, formattng and mounting, can be treated as a regular drive.

Thus, all basic Linux commands used to partition, format and mount driives, also apply to the Drobo.
Please pardon my naivete.

Drobo support just told me that Drobo Gen 3 doesn't support Linux at all (and, indeed the product page lists only NTFS and HFS+), so hopefully they'll update their support page to reflect this.

I noticed something in your signature: "FS/EXT3 diskpack" What is that?
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