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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Drobo has replaced two 6TB WD my book live duos
A swish looking device; will look a peach beside an imac. Set-up is easypeasy: plonked in 5 WD greens (3TB), and all Go within 15mins or less. I use the drobo to hold all iTunes media, and it does this job well; streaming music and video works well. Read (for me) is around 100-117MB (at the top end, with no SSD), while Write is 98MB (at the very top end - cannot get...
Published 22 months ago by Mr Fuller

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good idea, but.....
This is my second Drobo and clearly there has been a measure of progress since my earlier, second-generation model. However the new Dashboard software didn't even recognise the old Drobo.

It is, however, disturbing to find that Technical Support know nothing of my earlier model, a mere four years old. And the bottom line with regard to that one is that none...
Published 16 months ago by John MacLeod


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Drobo has replaced two 6TB WD my book live duos, 3 Feb 2013
This review is from: Drobo DRDS4A31 5N 5 Bay Desktop NAS Storage Device (Accessory)
A swish looking device; will look a peach beside an imac. Set-up is easypeasy: plonked in 5 WD greens (3TB), and all Go within 15mins or less. I use the drobo to hold all iTunes media, and it does this job well; streaming music and video works well. Read (for me) is around 100-117MB (at the top end, with no SSD), while Write is 98MB (at the very top end - cannot get higher than this on my setup: gigabit, with no jumbo frames (which made no difference activating, in my opinion).

Tips/advice/help:

-you can pop in 5 drives, all at once (even this populated with data).
-push the drives in firmly; one of mine was a little loose, and rattled a little as a result.
-the fan does make noise, and will be loader than that on the late 2012 iMacs; however, the whole unit is quiet in compassion to a Samsung external blu-ray reader/writer. The fan is variable, so do not be alarmed if the tempo changes - you will have to get used to having a hum/whirl in your office if you leave it on 24/7
-support (from Germany, in my case) is prompt, and efficient.
-it takes some time for the drobo dashboard to find the drobo: wait for it.
-WD greens are CAN be used, but drobo does recommend, say, WD Reds as these are designed for a 5-bay NAS environment, so go with NAS drives rather that Greens; i just has mine already or i would have gone with those recommended.
-an SSD can be put into this drive, and it would be interesting to see if performance increases in such as way that would make the expense worthwhile
- there are not many reviews around of these device (lots of the 5D model), but you can get people-views (as i term them) from amazon.com (not .co.uk)
- Do a google price comparison

I have had the device for some 2-3 days, so i may make an update to this review latter

Further, drive spin-down works a treat; the devices usually does spindown after, say, my imac has gone to sleep. You can, of course, shutdown the device.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good idea, but....., 26 Aug 2013
By 
John MacLeod (Ross-shire Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Drobo DRDS4A31 5N 5 Bay Desktop NAS Storage Device (Accessory)
This is my second Drobo and clearly there has been a measure of progress since my earlier, second-generation model. However the new Dashboard software didn't even recognise the old Drobo.

It is, however, disturbing to find that Technical Support know nothing of my earlier model, a mere four years old. And the bottom line with regard to that one is that none of the disks, two of them dating back four years, has failed, but the machine itself has now died. Raid or no raid, the fact is that there's a single point of failure and the material is unrecoverable -- though mercifully I spooled it off when the older Drobo began to become flaky.

If you're not short of cash, buy two of them and use one to mirror the other. Otherwise a couple of external hard drives may be much better value for money.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unreliable, 28 Mar 2014
By 
B. Marshall (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Drobo DRDS4A31 5N 5 Bay Desktop NAS Storage Device (Accessory)
I bought a Drobo 5n a few years ago after I saw an advert for it. To be fair on the product, it worked okay for the first 2 years without issue until one day recently when it suddenly stopped working without warning and I found I could not access any of the data on it. Suspecting faulty cables, I tried a new set but the unit still would not work suggesting an internal power failure. Fearing loss of data I took the drives out and had the data on the disks professionally recovered which took several weeks although the Drobo unit itself no longer functions.

I have a colleague who also bought a Drobo 5n which failed in a similar way. Consequently, I would offer a warning to potential buyers that the Drobo should not be considered entirely dependable. I certainly won't be buying another one as I found Drobo's after-sales technical support most unhelpful. It seems that after you purchase one of these things, Drobo Inc. don't want anything more to do with you.

I make a further recommendation that if you are intending using a Drobo as your primary back-up device, be sure to have a secondary back-up system in case the Drobo fails like mine did.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, but..., 9 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Drobo DRDS4A31 5N 5 Bay Desktop NAS Storage Device (Accessory)
This is my first NAS and setting it up was a breeze.

However, actually using it has been slightly frustrating. I'm an Apple user and not particularly techy, so wanted something simple and intuitive - a bit like Apple, really!

Installing the software? Easy.
Drives? Easy too.
Time machine? Done.

Then I tried copying my media files and documents across from my WD 4TB thunderbolt duo (full) and it all started to unravel a bit. Whether connected to the Mac via the network or directly wired in, the file transfer using finder hung regularly, giving a "-50 error" - I felt like I was using DOS again. Anyway, it appeared to be related to the number of files being transferred simultaneously. 5 or so 1-2GB films at a time was OK. Now that they're all across, it is working fantastically, but this initial population of the NAS was a pain.

I contacted Drobo, who said it was a problem with Mac OS, as other NAS systems have reported similar problems... I'm a bit surprised to hear that, but anyway. Irritatingly, my work laptop running Windows 7 seemed to work fine.

Anyway, that's the only reason I gave 4 rather than 5 stars. I hope my comments are useful to you.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great unit now the problems are resolved, 26 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Drobo DRDS4A31 5N 5 Bay Desktop NAS Storage Device (Accessory)
When the first unit arrived, my 1st reaction was "Wow", superbly packed and excellent looking unit. Setting the Drobo5N up was a doddle. Located it next to the router. Loading the Dashboard was again a very easy operation and withing a few minutes we were up and running.
The following day, after the main PC was bought back online, the Drobo "shares" were not visible on the PC.
They weren't even showing as mapped network drives!
After re-booting the Drobo all was well again.
I had this problem a few times and, as this was obviously not satisfactory, I raised a case with Drobo support, who I must say were very helpful.
After updating the firmware on the Drobo5N there was no change and I was told not to re-load the Drobo firmware anymore as there appeared to be a fault on the Drobo and it could cause a drive to fail!.
A replacement Drobo5N arrived in a couple of days from Germany and the old one was sent back - very easy using FedEx at no cost to me.
Having booted up the new Drobo and replaced a drive which was showing errors, the old problem still existed!
It's a good job that I am a very patient person!
Drobo support were there for me all of the time and phoned me on more than one occasion.
It was then decided that the problem lay in the Dashboard software and I was told to use a version that, at the time, was available for the Drobo5S.
With rebooting the PC every time that the software was removed and re-added, it was becoming a chore!
Thankfully the latest Dashboard software works fine and the Drobo5N is now working as it is supposed to from multiple PCs.
Finally, Yes I would recommend this product now that the problems are being resolved, thanks to Drobo support.
I would have given this 5 stars but for the problems that I had.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works well, 17 Sep 2013
By 
C. J. Elliott (Reading, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Drobo DRDS4A31 5N 5 Bay Desktop NAS Storage Device (Accessory)
I had some direct connect Drobos that were causing major issues with my Windows8 installation(Slow boot time, confusing the BIOS, not always being recognised etc) so I decided to have a device that was on the LAN that wouldn't affect my PC. It works well. Good combination of availability (Doesn't switch itself off to save power too readily) and power saving(Does switch off overnight). Quick to restart. reliable, and just does the job. DO BUY the fastest ethernet cables, as you will cripple the speed if you use the older CAT 5 cables
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Budget NAS that delivers, 6 Nov 2013
By 
Hendy (Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Drobo DRDS4A31 5N 5 Bay Desktop NAS Storage Device (Accessory)
The Drobo 5n is a nice device - the drive bays are really easy to get at and hot-swappable. Ignore the moaners going on about how "it's not compatible with other RAID NASes" etc... read the product spec - it's a proprietary disk management system - if you can't live with that find a different product - you don't buy a Ford and then moan coz a GM fuel pump wont go on the engine. Also, Apple users: here's a shock for you - the world does not revolve around time machine. Just because you get slow network speeds etc. doesn't mean this one link in the chain is responsible. Don't rubbish a product because YOU can't set it up properly. I have mine on a 1Gb ethernet backbone, with jumbo frames across the entire estate - I get a consistent 60+MB/s read (that's MegaBytes - and I have seen peaks at 72+) and consistently north of 37MB/s write - and I have vids on my youtube channel to prove it. Trust me - if yours isn't this quick - you need to look at your existing infrastructure first.

OK, that's the haters dealt with now the goodies:

I like:
* speed
* Hot standby disk - permits two simultaneous disk failures without loss of function (at the cost of capacity as usual)
* easy access
* mix n match of disk capacities/manufacturers
* 5 bays instead of the usual 2 or 4
* BeyondRAID - RAID is ancient and DR's new approach at file level storage with flexible breakpoints instead of hard block level is much more flexible and to be honest a better way of doing things because it allows different size disks to be included in a single array
* sleek looks
* maglocks on the front cover
* flexible config of how it all works
* droboApps - you can use the NAS as a server as well - Apps exist that you simply drop into a special partition as a ZIP file and reboot - no complex Linux installs etc... deleting is just as easy
* change the brightness of the front panel LEDs - simple point but better than it sounds - If you run a dark office with ambient lighting only where it is needed, you don't want overly bright LEDs flickering away.
* Flexible power-down options. Mine has 5x1TB disks and my UPS shows my entire backbone consumption goes from 122W to 74W in powerdown - if the thing is not being used, that represents a considerable saving in energy.
* External PSU. Probably the single component most likely to fail after a disk. Good not to have to dismantle the thing to change it. Also helps to keep the cage cool.

I don't like:
* sometimes DR's droboapps (as opposed to third party ones) are slow to update. The NFS app does not support the full spec of NFS v3 so you can't use it as a NFS filestore on ESX, you still have to go through the rigmarole of mounting it on the host. Shame - close but no cigar.
* the LED capacity indicator on the front is probably more about aesthetics than usefulness
* The write slow down when the thing approaches full. DR say this is so you know you are approaching the limit but I suspect it is a throw-back of BeyondRAID and they are simply talking it up.
* Have to install an App to manage the box - I would like a web interface. On the upside the App is very complete and gives exact indication of how the thing is performing
* Thin provisioning... can't see a way to turn that off so although I have 3.5TB on my 5TB array, it reports as the maximum 15.9TB. This is actually normal because it represents the maximum the device can give and it is all hot achievable by upgrading the disks as you need. It is a small point but I'd like the option to report _actual_ capacity.
* Quite a long boot time. Does a lot of stuff before it becomes usable - possibly a minute plus.
* Deleting can take a while - single file can take a couple of seconds - much slower than a local disk delete from command prompt (proper delete not trashcan)
* No Trashcan - you delete something, it is gone - beware!

To re-cap:
If you need a personal or SME storage array you could do a lot worse than a drobo - It is quick and nice looking if you have to have it in an office (mine is on the kit-shelf above my desk). Despite it's short-comings it is still an excellent option. To be honest I don't really see any difference between this and locally attached disks... the only time I notice is when it has to spin-up the disks from power-down and then I get a lag of about 10 seconds or so - which of course it defined by the disk mechs and not the drobo.

Very happy with the purchase and it has withstood all tests by sometimes skeptical colleagues.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Storage made simple, 23 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Drobo DRDS4A31 5N 5 Bay Desktop NAS Storage Device (Accessory)
I've been toying for years with the idea of buying or building a NAS. Mainly for backups but also because I have a number of devices which could really use the documents I had stored on one machine (e.g. iTunes library, DVD rips etc).

Ease of use

The main reason I decided on the Drobo 5N is because I don't have to worry about setting up and handling a RAID, and because I can mix and match drives. Installing drives is a breeze too - I had my girlfriend install one hoping to help convince her I hadn't wasted my money (she wasn't interested). The Drobo Dashboard app is easy to use, though it can be a little slow at times which is frustrating but I'm just impatient. Installing Drobo Apps on to the device is simple click of a button.

Functionality

I've set my Drobo up to use single drive redundancy, but you can use dual drive redundancy if you like. I've only had it a short while and no drives have gone belly up yet so I haven't had the experience of how well the Drobo handles it. It works without hesitation across multiple protocols on different OS (I've tested OS X, Windows 7 and iOS). The Drobo Apps are great, I use Plex to provide a media center server. Caution that you will probably need to encode your files because the Drobo doesn't really have the power to transcode on the fly.

Performance

There are plenty of other reviews and YouTube videos detailing the performance, so I'll not go into too much depth. What I will say is I get a constant 70MB/s when copying data to the Drobo - both wired and wireless. It wasn't nearly half as painful to transfer 3TB of data as I thought it would be. I've installed an mSATA SSD which is supposed to improve speed of 'hot' files, I can't say I've noticed too much. On a file by file basis, I've not really had any issues reading files or slow read rates.

Size

Another huge benefit is the size! It's a little longer than you'd think, but overall, considering it can hold 5 drives, it's a great size. Wouldn't look out of place on a desk.

Noise

This is a tricky one - my device is currently stored in my bedroom and I turn it off most nights before I go to bed because you can hear the fans in silence. You wouldn't notice it normally. (It's also a little noisier since I put an old drive in which clearly is on the way out - fortunately this drive provides backup for me!)

Price

I bought this at the £360 price point - I regret not ordering when it was £300. This is the maximum I'd pay for the Drobo. It's clearly a premium for the ease of use and functionality, but for this price it would make all the difference if it had a little extra power to handle transcoding of movie files.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple to install & use, 28 Jun 2013
By 
mark irwin (huddersfield, west yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Drobo DRDS4A31 5N 5 Bay Desktop NAS Storage Device (Accessory)
This is now my 3rd Drobo and love them all.
Simple to install and simple to manage as it manages its self and if there are any problems which I have not encountered yet it would warn you automatically.
Love the ability to just simply remove 1 HDD and replace it with another higher capacity without all the formatting etc.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent upgrade, 26 May 2013
By 
Jonathan Latter (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Drobo DRDS4A31 5N 5 Bay Desktop NAS Storage Device (Accessory)
This was an upgrade to my Drobo 2nd gen and it was worth it. It's very easy to set up. It's fast and reliable. Providing that you observe it's operating instructions (i.e. Shut it down properly). It will serve you well.
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