17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 3 February 2013
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).
-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.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 26 August 2013
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.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 28 March 2014
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.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 9 September 2013
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 May 2014
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!)
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.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 26 April 2013
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.
on 20 May 2014
My initial unit that I purchased did need replacing. It didn't want to show up in the dashboard and within days fell off the network. However, Drobo tech support were very good to deal with, had a number of suggestions to try and always courteous. Needless to say, I was a little worried after my first ever Drobo had to be RMA'd, so I was very cautious when the new unit arrived.
New unit hasn't had any problems though. From the first power up and the various drive swaps I have done since, it hasn't had a single hiccup. I don't have an mSATA SSD installed, so it might feel a tad slow, for some people. However, it is designed for the home market. For that purpose it works very well. Allowing users to reuse existing drives and in whatever sizes they may come in, makes this an excellent choice for the home user.
It'll tell you which drive to replace when it gets close to full, in good time beforehand.
Having then the DroboApps available, allowing users to extend the functionality of the unit is a really smart move. Personally I am running transmission and Plex on my unit, and they work flawlessly.
Only reason I don't give the full 5 star rating is that my initial unit needed replacing, and judging by the issue it presented it seems a firmware fault. I'd go so far as hazarding a guess that a factory re-flash of the firmware will have that unit work flawlessly once again too.
All in all, I only miss one thing with this unit. NFS. I am an avid Linux user and the lack of NFS (which is common for other manufacturers at this price range) is a little dissapointing. Having said that, it isn't a deal breaker. Linux is a versatile beast, so mounting CIFS or AFP shares still works really well, with little to wish for.
For Windows or Mac users, you'll have very little to ask for from this unit. For Apple users, the ability to use it as a native Time Machine / Capsule and as much storage as you feel like, you can't go wrong. Windows users, this unit will work just as any other storage unit.
The ability then to also have access controlled via users and groups to your shares further cements it as a unit for the family, where for example access to movies can be restricted so that the kids won't get to the horror movies, your important financial data or can only have read access to the family photos, just in case there might otherwise have been an accidental deletion of that trip to Disney World.
And yes, all of the above is described "on the tin" ... Highly recommended for the home or even a small office.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 September 2013
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
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 January 2015
Love the Drobo devices. These devices are so simple, they deal with all the array management and re-sizing for you. I've had 3x Drobo 4s in the past, now have a 5N and a mini.
There are better devices if you want things like onboard plex streaming, and the ability to run lots of other apps. If you just want a storage device that will work and keep your files safe across multiple drives. Just get a drobo and don't worry about the nerding around (and I'm technical - its nice when stuff "just works").
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 6 November 2013
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:
* 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!
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.