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Rules of the Drobo world
08-28-2012, 12:46 PM (This post was last modified: 11-20-2013 11:06 AM by bhiga.)
Post: #1
Rules of the Drobo world
Reposting as information... maybe a moderator will sticky it. Smile

Rules of the Drobo world:
  1. Always have backups of important/critical data. Drobo's fault tolerance is not a substitute for backups, it simply reduces downtime and data lost between the last backup and time of failure. This advice is not Drobo-specific. It applies equally to other fault-tolerant storage units as well.
  2. If it's an emergency phone support. A real-time conversation is much less frustrating than back-and-forth email or posts.
  3. Follow instructions carefully and don't try to "jump ahead" because (you think) you know better. Drobo world is different from the normal world you are accustomed to.
  4. Don't ever try to fix something yourself unless you are comfortable with losing your data and resetting, or you are under direct guidance from Drobo support.
  5. Don't mess with the partitioning.
  6. Never move a Drobo with the drives installed. Always remove the drives before transporting. Remember that installation position doesn't matter for Drobo - as long as all the disks of the "pack" are present. See Drobo KnowledgeBase for more detailed information.
  7. Don't fill it beyond 95% of its usable capacity. Since it gets EXTREMELY slow as a safety measure, this should be difficult, but so are many other self-destructive things and people die all the time...
  8. Don't expect undelete to work, it may appear to succeed, but it likely will give garbage data.
  9. Don't try to use "whole disk" encryption on a Drobo. It's okay to encrypt individual files/folders or container files, just don't encrypt the Drobo volume itself.
  10. To avoid filesystem corruption, whenever possible, safely shut down/sleep Drobo before unplugging it from power. If you cannot do that for whatever reason, at least shut down connected clients so there are no pending operations. It may be worthwhile to have a UPS on connected clients so they can be set to automatically shut down when utility power is lost.
  11. With the exception of FS models and DroboShare, Drobo does not maintain the filesystem - the attached computer does.
    The first thing to do when encountering odd file problems is to run a filesystem repair.
    Note: For Windows, never use the use the /R option of CHKDSK! It will waste a bunch of time, mark a large number of clusters as bad and may prevent you from using additional storage space you add in the future.
    Note 2: It is a good idea to run ChkDsk (Windows) or Disk Utility (Mac OS) to verify the Drobo's contents after any "dirty" shutdown - a "dirty" shutdown being anything that causes an unintended shutdown or reboot.
  12. Don't mount/use Drobo in an orientation other than the standard - the backplane is not designed for this.
  13. When adding or replacing a drive, do it with the Drobo powered on (and not on standby). (Re-)Adding a drive when Drobo is off can potentially lead to conflict or data loss, especially if the drive was previously used in a Drobo, as Drobo may not know which disk pack should take precedence.
  14. Whenever possible, let Drobo "catch up" after doing a large delete, especially if you're low on free space. This will give Drobo time to complete its housekeeping that reclaims the space used by the deleted item(s).
  15. For Drobo units with multiple non-network interfaces (for example, Drobo S has both USB and eSATA), don't connect to more than one at any given time.
  16. Do not generate a diagnostic log from Drobo Dashboard during a rebuild/relayout (lights flashing green/yellow), wait until after it is complete unless you are specifically instructed to do so by Drobo support. (Thanks Sky)
  17. When removing/replacing drives, always do one drive at a time, waiting for the relayout to complete before proceeding. If lights are flashing green/yellow, DO NOT remove a drive, even if you have Dual-Disk Redundancy enabled.*
    (* Why? Because even though you're protected from an additional drive failure, relayout is a drive-intensive process and can stress a marginal drive beyond the breaking point. If you've removed two drives, you are completely unprotected and an additional drive failure will lose your data. After all, you've allocated extra resource to be protected, why not stay protected whenever you can?)
  18. Consult with Drobo support before performing a pin reset on an FS unit, even with no drives installed. Depending on the firmware version, a pin-reset on a FS unit will erase the next disk pack it sees.
    See the note at the bottom of this Drobo Knowledgebase Article for more information.
    Drobo FS firmware 1.2.4 and newer are safe for "no drives inserted" pin reset and will not erase the next disk pack it sees.
  19. Do not attempt to defragment a Drobo. Drobo does its own internal housekeeping and data-arranging.
  20. Be mindful when comparing performance of Drobo to a standard hard drive connected on the same interface type. Drobo is doing extra processing for the data protection during disk access, so that involves some level of performance hit. Any protected or fault-tolerant storage system will encounter this. It's similar to sending regular postal mail versus registered postal mail. Regular postal mail, gets to is destination quickly if it gets there. Registered postal mail is guaranteed (to an extent) to get there, but the extra checks during transit can slow down the delivery.

--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.
Drobo Best Practices - Official and Community-sourced.
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08-28-2012, 05:42 PM (This post was last modified: 09-18-2012 11:06 AM by Paul.)
Post: #2
RE: Rules of the Drobo world
idea: if anyone has specific tips, please comment here with constructive stuff to add, and bhiga can edit the master post (if possible) with relevant parts that havent been duplicated. (else a dedupe might be needed) Smile

(just to add that, unless specifically required, swap a drive out / replace a drive in its place when unit is powered on)

(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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08-28-2012, 07:51 PM
Post: #3
RE: Rules of the Drobo world
Outstanding list. It should be included in the box!

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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09-18-2012, 03:44 AM
Post: #4
RE: Rules of the Drobo world
Great tips, a must for any new Drobo owner!

1st Gen / 2nd Gen / FS / 5N (2)
Mac OS X 10, Win7, Win 10
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10-03-2012, 12:32 PM (This post was last modified: 10-03-2012 12:32 PM by Sky.)
Post: #5
RE: Rules of the Drobo world
I like it. Actually the reason we try not to get diags during a relayout is that it can cause the unit to unexpectedly reboot or the diag may be truncated. Reboots during a relayout can cause problems with the disk pack.

Sky
Data Robotics Moderator

Support # 1-866-426-4280
Monday - Thursday 6a-7p PST
Friday and Saturday 6a-12a PST
Sunday 6a-6p PST

Best Practices
http://www.drobo.com/downloads/docs/drob...http://www.drobo.com/downloads/docs/drobobestpra

Knowledge Base
http://www.drobo.com/support/knowledgebase.php
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11-15-2013, 06:34 AM
Post: #6
RE: Rules of the Drobo world
hi i think its also good to "not" allow any automatic updates (for drobo firmware / dashboard) or Operating System upgrades, and for the user to try and understand the changes (fixes and new problems) that each such update can bring, before they actually do it.

in my opinion, it's the only way to better ensure drobo continuity of use.

(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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11-20-2013, 10:40 AM (This post was last modified: 11-20-2013 12:17 PM by Paul.)
Post: #7
RE: Rules of the Drobo world
hi bhiga, for your #11, here's a thought for Windows users.

If explorer crashes / restarts (eg win xp / win7), its usually good to run a chkdsk shortly after.
(best when all other non-essential programs and internet is disconnected)

I tend do to this 1 volume at a time (1 drobo at a time)
using chkdsk driveletter:
and if i see the "and found no problems" message, its ok.

if not, i run the same driverletter but with /x
(and run it again if needed, until i see the "no problems" message)

So far, even on my 2TB max volumes, there always seems to be some kind of "problem" that chkdsk will find after a windows / explorer crash, so its probably better to chkdsk sooner than later.

(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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11-20-2013, 11:09 AM
Post: #8
RE: Rules of the Drobo world
Thanks Paul. Funniest thing I read about Chkdsk once... when run without actually fixing (run without /F, /X or /R), Chkdsk can sometimes report problems that aren't really there!

I suppose it's better to have a false alarm and an all-clear than no alarm for a real problem though!

--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.
Drobo Best Practices - Official and Community-sourced.
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11-20-2013, 11:28 AM
Post: #9
RE: Rules of the Drobo world
(11-20-2013 11:09 AM)bhiga Wrote:  Thanks Paul. Funniest thing I read about Chkdsk once... when run without actually fixing (run without /F, /X or /R), Chkdsk can sometimes report problems that aren't really there!

I suppose it's better to have a false alarm and an all-clear than no alarm for a real problem though!

That's because it doesn't lock the volume for exclusive access before performing a read-only scan. This way there's always a chance for it catching some in-flight transaction not yet completed or other "transient" situation when the volume is just in the process of becoming consistent.
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11-20-2013, 12:18 PM
Post: #10
RE: Rules of the Drobo world
thats useful to know, thanks zbig.
that might actually be whats been causing that volume bitmap error message on my old computer which doesnt seem to go away

(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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