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4-bay Gen3 Ext3 Endless Drive Chatter
07-09-2014, 03:12 PM
Post: #11
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.
This.
As far as the chatter is concerned, Drobo does some magic optimization on the volume, even if it's blank - don't know if it does performance tests, or what, it's magic...

It should go to sleep when it's done.

Remember that Drobo is designed for consumers who have little/no knowledge of RAID and very little knowledge of filesystems, etc.

Since you're a Linux person, you are even more prone to overthinking things with Drobo - so "play dumb" more. Wink

--Brandon | WHS2011+Drive Bender/2x Drobo v2/Drobo S G1/ Drobo S G2/Transporter
Drobo provides fault-tolerance, it's NOT a substitute for regular backups.
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07-09-2014, 03:51 PM (This post was last modified: 07-09-2014 03:53 PM by mgriffin34.)
Post: #12
RE: 4-bay Gen3 Ext3 Endless Drive Chatter
I didn't mean to imply ANY FS could be used on a Drobo. I was trying to state that it's far more important to use Dashboard to create the volumes than to use Dashboard to format the filesystem.

Drobo support NTFS, HFS+ and Ext3. What tool you use to create one of those FS's is irrelevant once the partition table is created.

I wasn't saying you could use ZFS or btrfs on Drobo. (Might be worth noting they aren't Filesystems and would be exempt).

BTW - I have had a Gen2 Drobo running a FAT32 filesystem with no issues for years.

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07-10-2014, 08:19 AM
Post: #13
RE: 4-bay Gen3 Ext3 Endless Drive Chatter
(07-09-2014 03:12 PM)bhiga Wrote:  As far as the chatter is concerned, Drobo does some magic optimization on the volume, even if it's blank - don't know if it does performance tests, or what, it's magic...
For three days straight with 4X 1.5TB drives? My 5N has 3X 2TB and 2X 4TB and never "optimized" that long.

(07-09-2014 03:12 PM)bhiga Wrote:  It should go to sleep when it's done.
It does not go to sleep until you unplug the USB cord. Then it goes into a deep sleep: not completely shut down, but all lights off (not dim). Plug it back in and it wakes up and goes back to chattering in a few seconds.

(07-09-2014 03:12 PM)bhiga Wrote:  Remember that Drobo is designed for consumers who have little/no knowledge of RAID and very little knowledge of filesystems, etc.
And who apparently don't use Linux ever.

(07-09-2014 03:12 PM)bhiga Wrote:  Since you're a Linux person, you are even more prone to overthinking things with Drobo - so "play dumb" more. Wink
Thanks for the encouragement, but I've been trying to "play dumb" from the outset. Since there's no Linux Dashboard, there's only so much "dumb" one can play.

Bear in mind that it behaves as if everything is working perfectly. I can mount it, unmount it, copy data to and from it, nothing gets corrupted, etc.

It just does not shut up ever.

I can't play any dumber without simply accepting that the drives will always chatter, never spin down, and would not likely last the year.

(07-09-2014 03:51 PM)mgriffin34 Wrote:  I didn't mean to imply ANY FS could be used on a Drobo.
Nor did I take it as such. As noted in my tune2fs dump, I was using Ext3 -- the precise filesystem specified in the "using Drobo with Linux" page you linked.

(07-09-2014 03:51 PM)mgriffin34 Wrote:  I was trying to state that it's far more important to use Dashboard to create the volumes than to use Dashboard to format the filesystem.
And Dashboard only allows NTFS if running on Windows, or HFS+ if running on Mac.

(07-09-2014 03:51 PM)mgriffin34 Wrote:  Drobo support NTFS, HFS+ and Ext3.
Not entirely correct. Drobo Support has now told me directly that Gen3 Drobo only supports NTFS and HFS+, as stated on the product page for the Gen3 4 bay.

(07-09-2014 03:51 PM)mgriffin34 Wrote:  I wasn't saying you could use ZFS or btrfs on Drobo.
At no point did I attempt to do so. Again, I posted the partition map dump and the tune2fs output. Single partition. Ext3. Nothing fancy. I'm not trying to format the individual drives. I'm not even using LVM on it. I'm not doing anything beyond treating it like a standard block device.

(07-09-2014 03:51 PM)mgriffin34 Wrote:  BTW - I have had a Gen2 Drobo running a FAT32 filesystem with no issues for years.
I'll believe it. FAT32 is well documented and relatively easy to support. It does nothing weird.

Of course, it's also not on the approved list for Gen3.

OK, just to be clear, in case it's not: I'm not hacking the Drobo. I'm not logging into or running anything on its internal processor. I'm being far less invasive than when others install SSH on their 5N and then use that to install a bunch of other stuff. I'm doing none of that. I don't care how they store data on the individual drives, or if they even have partition tables. I'm treating it as a Big Dumb Disk.

I sent Drobo Support their encrypted log dumps, both right after power-on and after it started chattering. And, per Drobo Support, Linux is Simply Not Supported. Not just the Dashboard. At all. They tell me that my only choices are NTFS or HFS+, neither of which have 100% reliable Linux write-mode drivers. IMHO they probably just couldn't spare the engineering/QA resources on Ext3 support for Gen3.

I bought it because I like how my 5N handles things like failed drives and capacity upgrades. It's a lot easier than messing with mdadm and lvm. So I figured I could just use it like the "Using with Linux" page said. My mistake, apparently.

Thank you for your time.
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07-10-2014, 10:38 AM
Post: #14
RE: 4-bay Gen3 Ext3 Endless Drive Chatter
Three days straight is a long time, prior 4-bay models didn't do data scrubbing like the 5-bays, not sure if the Gen 3 4-bay does or not.
It's possible it's a Seagate thing - have you checked to see if there's an updated firmware? Drives are so complex these days... :\

As for Linux (lack of) support...
There's drobo-utils and drobo-utils-gui though I don't know if they're still being maintained.

There's a cute reference to "droboview" in the KB article about Linux usage

--Brandon | WHS2011+Drive Bender/2x Drobo v2/Drobo S G1/ Drobo S G2/Transporter
Drobo provides fault-tolerance, it's NOT a substitute for regular backups.
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07-10-2014, 03:53 PM (This post was last modified: 07-10-2014 03:54 PM by Paul.)
Post: #15
RE: 4-bay Gen3 Ext3 Endless Drive Chatter
hi greyhare,
i was just wondering something... 2 things actually... Smile

1) apart from the no linux support, did the support teams actually look at the drives themselves, in case there is a drive having some problems? the auto corrections between blocks and drives might be causing the chatter in that way.

2) if you have the time and capability/backups etc, you could try resetting and reformatting your drobo as a windows filesystem such as ntfs, and put the same data back, and then see if you still get chatter... if you dont then repeat back to linux, and see if you get the chatter again... then you'll know if its linux or the drives.

(you could also replace the unit but that might be overkill)

(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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07-10-2014, 06:22 PM
Post: #16
RE: 4-bay Gen3 Ext3 Endless Drive Chatter
(07-10-2014 10:38 AM)bhiga Wrote:  It's possible it's a Seagate thing - have you checked to see if there's an updated firmware? Drives are so complex these days... :\
The drives work fine, no chatter, when the Drobo is formatted NTFS or HFS+. (Yeah, it's annoying when "let it sit there for hours and see what happens" is part of the debugging process.) The drives themselves have been used in another (mdadm) RAID for a couple years. SMART dumps (performed pre-Drobo) show no complaints, nor the usual signs of age (uncorrectable sectors and such).

(07-10-2014 10:38 AM)bhiga Wrote:  As for Linux (lack of) support...
There's drobo-utils and drobo-utils-gui though I don't know if they're still being maintained.
drobo-utils hasn't been updated for years. Further, Drobo is very clear that they won't endure or support those tools (makes sense). I used the "read status" function on drobo-utils during my first attempt (it reported the correct array-fill level and no errors), and didn't touch it on my second attempt (it would be an unknown risk).

(07-10-2014 10:38 AM)bhiga Wrote:  There's a cute reference to "droboview" in the KB article about Linux usage
Yeah, I saw that. I haven't found droboview; likely it was replaced with drobo-utils. (And it probably made some assumptions based on how the old DroboFS worked.)

(07-10-2014 03:53 PM)Paul Wrote:  1) apart from the no linux support, did the support teams actually look at the drives themselves, in case there is a drive having some problems? the auto corrections between blocks and drives might be causing the chatter in that way.
Drives don't do that for days on end unless they're about to die. That's enough time to scrub the whole disk several times over.

As for the support team, they asked me to hook it up to my Mac, fire up Dashboard, generate a diagnostic dump, and send it to them. I did that, and sent them another dump half an hour later when they started chattering again. Their next response, a day later, was basically "We don't support Linux at all, only NTFS and HFS+; please refer to the Gen3 4-bay web page."

(07-10-2014 03:53 PM)Paul Wrote:  2) if you have the time and capability/backups etc, you could try resetting and reformatting your drobo as a windows filesystem such as ntfs, and put the same data back, and then see if you still get chatter... if you dont then repeat back to linux, and see if you get the chatter again... then you'll know if its linux or the drives.
The problem being that the computer the data's on right now is Linux and it doesn't have 100% guaranteed NTFS write-mode drivers. So there's no way to tell the difference between "Drobo is chattering on its own" or "Drobo is impeded by a bug in the Linux NTFS driver."

(07-10-2014 03:53 PM)Paul Wrote:  (you could also replace the unit but that might be overkill)
Yeah, I think it's overkill. After all, it works fine with NTFS or HFS+.
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07-11-2014, 08:21 AM
Post: #17
RE: 4-bay Gen3 Ext3 Endless Drive Chatter
Hey, greyhare.

I just wanted to clarify, that I agree with your methodology so far.

The only thing I was trying to point out was to use Dashboard to create the partition table. Let it format the drives as NTFS or HFS+, then use the tool of your choice to re-format (not repartition) the volumes.

Dashboard understands and recognizes more filesystems than it lets you create. I have friends who use a Drobo Mini formatted as NTFS that they move back and forth between Mac/PC all the time.

As for the scrubbing you are hearing from the drives, who knows? Drobo is very vague about BeyondRAID in every aspect, so it could be perfectly normal behavior. Who knows? Perhaps there is a BeyondRAID trigger for that model Seagate that requires a more rigorous disk test.

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07-11-2014, 11:50 AM
Post: #18
RE: 4-bay Gen3 Ext3 Endless Drive Chatter
hmm, its interesting indeed, and i guess having linux without 100% ntfs support, and drobo without 100% linux support doesnt help things Smile

reading the recent posts from bhiga and mgriffin, did you actually check if there were any firmware updates for that particular model?

also, (if i dare ask), do you have the model number/firmware numbers of those drives you are using? (hides from zbig) Big Grin


one thing i can think of... (if you're comfortable with the idea and have backups etc), is to connect the drobo to another operating system, such as mac or windows, which is not able to mount the volumes, but to keep the usb cable connected. this way, it might keep the drobo running, (eg so that it doesnt go to stand by very quickly), and still give you time to see if it starts chattering for a long time.

ive recently heard my Drobo-S chattering a lot (when its been powered up but not used for a while, and its probably scrubbing data), as well as the usual after-effects of when i copy more data to it, (where it optimises the data etc), so "some" chatter is expected, but certainly not all the time.

(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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07-11-2014, 12:35 PM
Post: #19
RE: 4-bay Gen3 Ext3 Endless Drive Chatter
(07-09-2014 02:28 PM)greyhare Wrote:  I noticed something in your signature: "FS/EXT3 diskpack" What is that?

Ah, that. The FS there refers to the older "Drobo FS" NAS that preceded the 5N. It's a fairly standard embedded Linux NAS, just with Drobo BeyondRAID storage backend (and the implementation method is very, very unique). The Drobo FS used the Ext3 filesystem, while the Drobo 5N uses Ext4. However, the %n supports migrating an FS disk pack with some minor performance loss; that's all my sig is indicating - that I'm using an older disk pack in my 5N.

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07-12-2014, 07:18 AM
Post: #20
RE: 4-bay Gen3 Ext3 Endless Drive Chatter
(07-11-2014 08:21 AM)mgriffin34 Wrote:  The only thing I was trying to point out was to use Dashboard to create the partition table. Let it format the drives as NTFS or HFS+, then use the tool of your choice to re-format (not repartition) the volumes.
Ah, but there's the rub: the volume type is recorded in the partition map. You have to change it from whatever it is to 8300 (Linux partition) so that Drobo (or anything you plug it into, really) doesn't expect to find NTFS on the partition. To do that, you have to use a "repartitioning" tool, which updates the partition map, even if (like I did the second time) you don't change the start or end block numbers. It's a catch-22.

To be fair, it's a legacy thing that goes way back before Drobo. Apparently in the old days they didn't expect all partitions to have magic values and such so you could tell them apart on their own. You can do that these days with modern partitions, but it's not 100% reliable, so we still have those partition types in the partition maps. (IIRC, the GPT partition map even expands these partition type labels into GUIDs.)

(07-11-2014 08:21 AM)mgriffin34 Wrote:  Dashboard understands and recognizes more filesystems than it lets you create.
Dashboard 2.6.0 (the latest version, and the minimum version for Gen3) shows my partition as "Unknown" and claims the Drobo is running fine.

(07-11-2014 08:21 AM)mgriffin34 Wrote:  I have friends who use a Drobo Mini formatted as NTFS that they move back and forth between Mac/PC all the time.
From what I understand, Mac OS X can reliably read and write NTFS. Apple got access to the proprietary specs for NTFS in a cross-licensing agreement years ago. Linux developers have no such access.

(07-11-2014 08:21 AM)mgriffin34 Wrote:  As for the scrubbing you are hearing from the drives, who knows? Drobo is very vague about BeyondRAID in every aspect, so it could be perfectly normal behavior. Who knows? Perhaps there is a BeyondRAID trigger for that model Seagate that requires a more rigorous disk test.
Three. Days. Straight. Before I gave up because the drives were almost burning to the touch. That's a sign of a runaway algorithm. Drobo Support also agreed It Should Not Do That right before playing the "we don't support that" card.

(07-11-2014 11:50 AM)Paul Wrote:  reading the recent posts from bhiga and mgriffin, did you actually check if there were any firmware updates for that particular model?
First thing I checked. Dashboard 2.6.0 (latest) reported firmware version 3.1.0 (installed) as the latest version.

Bear in mind the Gen3 only started shipping last month. This is probably one of the first ones.

(07-11-2014 11:50 AM)Paul Wrote:  also, (if i dare ask), do you have the model number/firmware numbers of those drives you are using? (hides from zbig) Big Grin
Seagate ST31500541AS (1.5 TB Barracuda LP from a couple years back). Not sure what the firmware version is; the drives are no longer installed. Bear in mind that:
  • The drives used to be part of a Linux/mdadm/lvm2/ext3 array and never chattered like this unless they were actually in use.
  • The drives don't chatter if the Drobo is formatted as NTFS or HFS+.

Under those circumstances, trying to blame the drive firmware is grasping at straws.

(07-11-2014 11:50 AM)Paul Wrote:  one thing i can think of... (if you're comfortable with the idea and have backups etc), is to connect the drobo to another operating system, such as mac or windows, which is not able to mount the volumes, but to keep the usb cable connected. this way, it might keep the drobo running, (eg so that it doesnt go to stand by very quickly), and still give you time to see if it starts chattering for a long time.
Did that Tuesday. It started chattering within a few minutes. Hooking up to my Mac is how I generated the diagnostic dump I sent to Drobo Support. (Which they followed up with "we don't support Ext3 at all" a day later.)

(07-11-2014 11:50 AM)Paul Wrote:  ive recently heard my Drobo-S chattering a lot (when its been powered up but not used for a while, and its probably scrubbing data), as well as the usual after-effects of when i copy more data to it, (where it optimises the data etc), so "some" chatter is expected, but certainly not all the time.
Yeah, it doesn't take over three days to scrub four 1.5 TB drives in parallel.
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