|Hard Drive||Mechanical Hard Drive|
Drobo 5D: Direct Attached Storage - 5 bay array - USB 3 and 2 x Thunderbolt 2 ports (DRDR5A21)
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- Highly scalable direct attached storage array with 2 x Thunderbolt 2 & 1 x USB 3.0 ports
- Holds up to 5x 3.5” SATA HDDs. Optional mSATA SSD boosts performance (not included). *Units with hard drives include Seagate IronWolf HDDs
- Award-winning BeyondRAID automated data protection. Internal battery backup protects against power interruptions
- Ideal for large media collections and with 64TB volume support. Expandable by adding drives or hot-swapping drives with larger ones.
- The Drobo chassis is uniquely constructed of metal and the magnetic front cover is easy to install or remove.
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From the manufacturer
Drobo 5D 5-Drive Storage Array, Thunderbolt 2/USB 3.0
The Drobo 5D was designed from the ground up to meet the data storage needs of today's media creators and demanding professionals. Leveraging cutting-edge Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3.0 connectivity along with solid-state drive (SSD) acceleration, the Drobo 5D offers amazing performance in a compact desktop storage array.
But it’s not just fast. The 5D is also easy-to-use, expandable, and automatically protects against hard drive failure(s). Whether you need to edit high-definition videos, store a large photo library, or simply backup terabytes of data, the Drobo 5D delivers the perfect combination of speed, simplicity, expansion, and protection.
Designed with You in Mind
Drobo storage arrays have always been designed with the user in mind. From the tool less design that allows hard drives to be inserted without carriers or screws to the variable-speed cooling fan, the compact and quiet 5D was designed to work just as well on your desk as it does in an office environment. Users can also dim the lights and configure drives to spin down when not in use.
All Your Stuff, Automatically Safe
Built on BeyondRAID technology with single or dual-drive redundancy, Drobo 5D protects your data without any user interaction. Consult the online capacity calculator to determine how the choice of drive size, number of drives, and protection levels affect available capacity at our official website calculator. Drives can be added or replaced on-the-fly for storage expansion with zero downtime. If you're running low on space, the lights on the front tell you what to do. Just add a drive in an empty slot or remove a smaller drive and replace it with a larger one.
*Units with hard drives include Seagate IronWolf HDDs
Power of Thunderbolt 2, Flexibility of USB
Drobo is one of the few storage arrays that offer both high-speed Thunderbolt and the latest generation USB 3.0 that is both fast and backward compatible. Equipped with dual Thunderbolt 2 ports, the Drobo 5D can connect up to six Thunderbolt devices and the bi-directional performance of Thunderbolt allows all devices in the chain to achieve maximum throughput.
SSD Acceleration Boosts Performance up to 3X
Most storage arrays use either all hard drives or all SSDs. The Drobo 5D delivers the best of both worlds by intelligently combining hard drives and SSDs to deliver both capacity and performance. Using a small form-factor SSD boosts performance of popular applications such as Apple Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Lightroom by up to 3X!
Power Protecting Your Critical Data
Drobo doesn’t just protect your critical data from drive failure, but also from power outages. The Drobo 5D includes a battery that protects all data – whether active or at rest. Should the power go out while using your Drobo, the battery will protect everything until the power is restored. The battery recharges automatically and is designed to last for the entire life of the product.
What's in the Box
Drobo 5D, 6 ft (1.8 m) USB cable, 6ft (1.8m) power cord with power supply, and Quick Start Card.
Drobo 5D Redefining Professional Storage, Again. Redesigned from the ground up to meet the data storage needs of today's media creators and demanding professionals, Drobo 5D builds on the fully automated functionality of previous Drobos by adding blazing-fast performance. Drobo 5D is the highest-performing personal storage array on the planet. Fast, easy-to-use, expandable, flexible, and protected - exactly what's expected from a Drobo. Built on award-winning BeyondRAID technology with single- or dual-drive redundancy, Drobo 5D protects your data without any user interaction, even in the event of multiple drive failures. Thunderbolt 2 I/O technology provides performance that's up to 5x faster than the previous-generation Drobo is the only storage array that offers Thunderbolt 2 AND USB 3.0. This latest generation of USB also offers high-performance connectivity and is backward compatibility with any computer running compatible versions of Mac OS X or Windows. Data-Aware Tiering technology, is also available in this desktop Drobo. Intelligently uses the high-performance flash in SSDs to accelerate performance of the storage array. To keep capacity of the Drobo at a maximum, the Drobo Accelerator Bay accepts an industry-standard mSATA SSD, leaving all five 3.5" drives bays available for high-capacity HDDs. Drobo 5D includes a battery that protects all data in memory, or cache. When power spontaneously goes away, the battery keeps the Drobo alive long enough for the data to be written to non-volatile storage, ensuring your important information is safe. This battery recharges itself and is designed to last for the life of the product. It was designed from the ground up to provide very high capacity without taking up a lot of your valuable desk space. Drobo 5D is also significantly quieter than previous-generation Drobos due to its tuned, large, variable-speed cooling fan. You can even configure Drobo to spin down drives when they're not in use to further reduce noise and save energy.
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Five Seagate ST3000DM001 3TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s
Crucial M4 mSATA 6gb/s 128GB SSD w/ latest firmware 01MG as the cache accelerator drive
15TB drives gave me 10.89 of actual storage. This is after redundancy is factor in.
I did some extensive testing and posted a full review on my website.
Or Do a search for "Fortysomethinggeek Drobo 5D review"
Overall, the USB 3 speeds are not that great. I was getting 90MB/s. I was hoping to get around 150-200 in USB 3.0
With Thunderbolt, I was getting 210-240 MB/s writes and 290-300MB/s reads.
This is better than most eSATA boxes sold here on Amazon (sansdigital/mediasonic) which top out at 180MB/s in super ideal conditions.
My source drive was a 512GB Crucial M4 SSD.
Have in mind, synthetic benchmarks do not tell the full story. The unit does data tiering and after repeated use, the system should tier and accelerate the copies depending on your use.
I did some real world testing (small files) and it fared slightly better than average. In fact, it was quite good for a RAID5 like set-up.
It is not the fastest set-up ( compared to the Pegasus units) but it has a rich feature-set.
The things I like:
-Battery backed cache. This is found in more expensive RAIDs and helpful in case of power failure.
-The software has a nice GUI interface with tools like email notifications.
-Two Thunderbolt ports for daisy-chaining and it does indeed work well.
-Black thunderbolt cable that is slimmer than Apple's cable. Where can I buy another?
-Ability to mix drives and upgrade in the future.
-Ability to boot from Drobo via USB 3
I am hoping they address a few things:
1) improve USB 3 speeds
2) Boot via Thunderbolt.
I have spent over two more weeks battling this problem. I have now cleared over 6TB of space from my Drobo. Initially it showed up in the dashboard as clear. Then, suddenly, it disappeared and went back to showing the "red alert." I suspected a drive was bad, so I powered off the unit, and individually checked each drive. I've done various things including forcing a rebuild, identifying and replacing a drive that was having a few sector errors (they weren't shown in the Dashboard, I had to power down and test the drives separately), and many more efforts.
Then I finally discovered the cause: a few months ago, I had set the Drobo's second partition to be a backup destination for Time Machine. When selecting it, I decided "why not encrypt it"? So I ticked the box to encrypt and entered the password.
Turns out that because the Drobo likes to "fake out" the file system that there is more space than there actually is, when the Mac tries to encrypt it, it "fils up the disk" and then puts the Drobo into this red zone condition. In my case, because the encryption was running in the background for a few weeks, I didn't realize this was what is going on.
Turns out, it never got beyond 70% complete for encryption, but is still trying. I have now cancelled that process and hope for a recovery.
However, my updated review to 2 stars below still stands. While Drobo claims to make these devices "super easy to use", this kind of problem is the opposite of "ease of use." If you sell and market a device of ease of use, there should not be hidden conflicts like this with the second most prevalent computer operating system on the planet. Further, this problem was being experienced by users at least as far back as 2011 - I found a thread on a forum where someone encountered the same thing, which is why I finally figured this out.
I love the concept of the Drobo, but I have wasted far too much time and angst on this to be able to recommend or support the product.
Well, the Drobo was great, until it started running out of space. I'm not talking about the space available as reported in the Finder on the Mac, I'm talking about the actual space on the device.
Sometime recently, it went past the "yellow" warning of 20% free. Yes, Drobo expects that if you have a 28.95TB raid like mine, you will keep 5.79TB of it free and clear to avoid any kind of slowdown. That's a large amount of space to keep "free."
Anyway, I did not. I got that number down to around 2TB because I was doing some intensive data reorganization. I was going to free the space later.
This turned into a nightmare. At some point, the Drobo just started consuming all the available space, until it got to 2GB left (not TB, GB).
I've attached a screenshot of the Drobo dashboard, where it reads 44.26GB free space. This read 46.01GB free space just a short while ago (after I cleared another 1.5TB off the drive!!).
I have done repeated cycles of clearing stuff off this drive - amounting to at least 3TB - to get it out of the red zone, and it insists on staying stuck there. It just eats any free space I've cleared up.
Worse, when operating in the "red zone" like this, it is extremely slow - it slows down the whole system to a crawl. So I have a system and disk that operate like molasses, that keep eating away space that I free, and this has been going on for weeks.
This has now wasted enough time that I will be replacing the Drobo with something more reasonable, ASAP.
While I still love the simplicity/concept of the Drobo, it is "small" details like this one that make it very frustrating to use over the long haul.
I would no longer recommend the Drobo to anyone but a light user who will keep the Drobo within it's limited "perfect operating conditions."
I'm not a newbie to RAID arrays; I've been using them since 2000 to store large amounts of scientific data.
I’ve been interested in the concept of easily-expansible storage for years. Whenever I needed to expand an array to larger disk (and volume) sizes, it was PAINFUL and time consuming with traditional RAID. It requires a complete transfer of the data to a different drive, then completely rebuilding the new expanded volume from scratch, before moving the data back. I needed a better solution than this to my ever-expanding data needs.
I was intrigued by the Drobos. However, based on previous bad reviews of the Drobo units, I'd stayed away from trying one. Instead, a few years back I purchased a NAS unit from another well-known company that claimed to also have an expandable raid setup.
That unit has worked ok, but has presented various challenges: 1) it's really slow, 2) it can only do time machine backups up to 4TB total (and they never specified this limitation in the advertising), 3) expanding the array with larger drives is very slow and unreliable, 4) it "died" for a while then magically came back to life, etc...
I got fed up and decided to try the Drobo 5D.
So far, this unit has been the best RAID I’ve ever used. It is very fast, very easy to use, quite reliable, and I have already expanded my array 3 times as I purchased larger drives. It is easy to use, quiet, and so far, reliable.
- Fast - both for dealing with many small files and also for large files (e.g. multi-GB videos)
- Very easy to expand
- Dashboard is easy to use
- I purchased the mSata accelerator card, and for my use with many small files, it sped things up even more
- It is fully mac-compatible with no apparent issues
- The lights on the front give a very good indication of what’s happening
- Did I say “easy to use???” That counts for a lot since my time is valuable.
- I have a thunderbolt cable that worked with other devices but not the Drobo. After swapping it, it worked fine. It seems sensitive in that regard.
- Limited to 17TB per volume. The unit itself can handle at least 40TB, but you are forced to divide that up into smaller volumes. That’s kind of a pain.
THE TRADEOFFS OF RAID
I’ve seen reviews that trash Drobo for using a proprietary format. Yet I presently own three other RAID units (in addition to the Drobo and the NAS). Each one does hardware Raid-5 in its own unique and proprietary way.
In fact, just the other day, one of the drives died in a “generic” unit I have formatted as RAID-5. After I powered it off and inserted a new drive, it wouldn’t power back on. Now I’m stuck having to order a new one to try to recover my data (it’s out of warranty). This is no different than the DROBO.
If you’re using a hardware-based RAID - whether drobo or X or Y or Z brand, if the hardware fails, you will have to get a new unit or do some fancy data recovery.
The only way I can see avoiding this is to use a software-based RAID solution, and those are slower.
The other alternative is to use a JBOD - a bunch of independent disks - and that turns into a mess quickly (I had over 30 at one point).
The other major tradeoff is that if you go with a “fixed” raid solution, expansion requires another drive of the same size or larger.
BACKUP YOUR RAID
I once thought that RAID was a way of avoiding the need for a backup. That was a long time ago, and real life experience has taught me differently.
It’s vital to backup your drives, whether they are RAID or not. The reason to use RAID is not to avoid doing backups, it’s to have a higher likelihood of getting back up to speed quickly if a disk fails.
On this count, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a DROBO or another brand.
THE BOTTOM LINE: IF YOU VALUE YOUR TIME THIS IS A GREAT UNIT
I did a simple calculation of the value of my time, and decided that the extra cost of the Drobo was well worth it for the time it has already saved me.
If you prefer saving a few dollars to saving time, or if you like fiddling around with various RAID settings and configurations, then perhaps another less expensive unit may work better for you.