Drobo failure

Man, I love my Drobo. I even wrote about it for our local alt-newsweekly. We’ve installed Drobos at several clients, and we’ve never had occasion to consider any other mass-storage device. Their support has been stellar … up to now.
Two weeks ago, the drive volume on my Drobo went belly-up. Couldn’t access it except for just long enough — THANK GOODNESS — to back up everything. I tried reformatting it but the damn thing won’t stay mounted.

The thing is, I wouldn’t mind as much if the Drobo engineers weren’t still, purportedly, looking at my diagnostic file, after a WEEK. I’m stuck. It was easy enough to retrieve my financial data, but my music and multimedia remain in limbo on a single external hard drive. I want to try another reformat, or maybe buy an additional SATA drive to increase storage (it wasn’t near full, and all of the disk lights were all-systems-go green), but I really just need to hear something from the engineers to set my mind at ease.

Author: jjmarcus

Apple Specialist, Mac Whisperer, Cloud Wrangler - Your Remote CTO

8 thoughts on “Drobo failure”

  1. There seems to be a serious bug in the Drobo which is causing it to mark perfectly good drives as “failed.” Maybe DRI is trying to cover it up by obfuscating their diagnostic logs?
    When the Drobo detects a “full timeout” on a particular drive, likely due to buggy code on the part of the Drobo, it will record the occurrence of this error on the drive itself — so even though there’s likely nothing wrong with the drive at all, attempts to clone the “bad” drive to another “good” drive will be unsuccessful: the cloned drive will contain this same recording of the error, prompting the Drobo to declare it “failed” upon insertion.
    Perfectly good, new drives, are being declared by the Drobo as failed! Their forums are full of reports of harddrives failing, within months of inserting them into the Drobo. These same users report that no diagnostic tool can find anything wrong at all with the drives.
    Stay far away from the Drobo unless you want to lose your data or spend weeks begging DRI to actually help you gain access to your perfectly good data that you’re being locked out of due to erroneous drive “failures”. Support takes so long to resolve any issues that most people just end up giving up and wipe their drives in frustration.

  2. I’ve never had this issue, and neither have any of the other Drobo users I know. I’m not saying the issue doesn’t exist, only that it may not be as rampant as this person claims.

  3. I just got a Drobo this week and within two days the drive went offline when idle. Rebooting got it back.
    The next day it went offline again and the drobo stayed powered even with the computer turned off. Only pulling the power got it back.
    Today I was in the midst of uploading files and the drobo went offline. Needless to say I am changing my plans for how important the drobo will be to my long term storage setup.

  4. It is crucial to remember that, even with redundant disks, the Drobo is a single point of failure. The redundancy just increases the chances of staying up when a disk fails, and we assume that disk failure is more likely than Drobo failure, but the Drobo can still tank. In short, I always have backups of the stuff on the Drobo.

  5. My Drobo is connected to a Mac Server. Has been working more than a year. Unfortunately, had to reboot few times over a week as the server was locking up. Discovered my Drobo causing lockup. Tried on couple servers but same problem occurs. When I disconnect Drobo, server works fine. Anyone seen this problem?

  6. I’ve definitely encountered that with various hard drives over the years. It could be the Drobo, the data cable. (I’d include the USB or FireWire card on the Mac, but you’ve tried the Drobo on different computers.) You might have to back the entire Drobo up — I frequently recommend having a second Drobo backing up the first one — then wipe and restore it. If it’s under warrantly, have you brought the problem to Data Robotics attention?

  7. Drobo DRO4D-D with 2 1TB WD drives. Drives have been formatted and tested in different enclosures and also tested while directly connected to SATA ports on a Windows 7 workstation.Same Problem as Marlon Gilbert posted on November 16th. Any system I connect the Drobo to locks either partial of completely. Unplug the drobo and the system immediately regains its composure.
    Windows Server 2003 – Full lockup
    Windows XP Pro – Full lockup
    Windows7 Ultimate – Partial lockup. (system would become sluggish but would respond to mouse and keyboard commands.)
    As I am writing this post the Drobo has come back online for the first time. If I figure anything out I will post results.

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