Drobo, 1 week later

I have added a couple of 500GB drives to the existing pair of 750GB drives in my Drobo and now have 2.2TB of disk space (1.5TB after formatting).

Stability has been excellent with no problems reading and writing to the device. Write speed is approx 14.5mb/sec peak with reads being 18.5mb peak. (speeds reach their maximum when reading or writing large files – like repro sized images).

Obviously these speeds are lower than other USB2 attached drives (up to 50% lower) and I would imagine it is the processing overhead in data protection that is kicking in here. There is no point in wanting a firewire or other faster connection with the Drobo because I suspect its the built in processor that limits the speed.

Having said all that it is still 2x the speed of a consumer Buffalo Terastation with a 1000mbit Ethernet connection so its not too bad. The only other similar option would be a Thecus N5200 which is faster at approx 20-25mb/sec but costs a couple of hundred pounds more.

Im not too worried about transfer speed as my main use at the moment is backing up work via a script at night and even large jobs are backed up before morning. ( I use the Robocopy scripting program from Windows so technically I Robo to my Drobo…)

To put things in perspective here are the approx times to copy 1TB of data:

Bufallo Terastation 46 hours
Drobo 20 hours
Thecus N5200 13 hours
Single external USB2 disk 9.7 hours
Single internal disk 5.8 hours
Internal Raid-0 2.9 hoursOf course the fastest 3 options above would mean that you would lose your data if 1 disk were to fail whereas the other 3 options provide protection.If you currently use single external disks to keep single copies of valuable pictures then cancel anything else you planned today and start copying the files now.I have had too many clients lose images because they were on one external disk that failed.Best practice is to keep valuable images in at least 2 locations (drive + CD/DVD) extra safety comes from RAID5 or similar devices like the Drobo but you still need another physical copy just in case.Would you like my help with your storage requirements? would you like me to setup a series of automatic scripts to protect your day to day work? Get in touch now by emailing me Stephen@copyrightimage.co.uk

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Data and image storage

I have just taken delivery of a drobo unit from http://www.vcisystems.co.uk/ the UK distributors for data robotics inc, you can read more about this unit here: http://www.drobo.com/

I need to test the unit thoroughly before I can recommend it to my photographers and photolibraires but early tests are quite positive, the company have developed a product that solves a common problem in data storage – keeping you work safe on disks that will at some random point in the future die.

As you may know I recommend RAID 5 based disks systems as a safe way to keep images long term and popular products include Buffalo terastations and Thecus NAS devices. The drobo is not RAID per se but rather implements its own data redundancy scheme to spread copies over more than one disk. System overhead is similar to RAID 5 with 4x500mb disks offering 1.5TB of space before formatting.

What makes this system interesting compared to NAS devices is its affordability and expansion potential. Another thing in its favour is the ability to hot swap disks in the device (take disks out or put them in while everything is still switched on and being used). This kind of functionality is normally reserved for system costing £10,000+

I will report back on my experiences when I have received a few more disks to populate the device with.

Stephen

What is NAS?

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