Drobo Tips and Techniques
Our customers think of us as a hard drive that is NEVER FULL AND NEVER FAILS. Hard drives get full and wear out. A single drive failure can lose your data. Not so with Drobo.
Meet your new storage solution, the safe and expandable Drobo. It's so simple that anyone can use it, yet powerful enough for business. Drobo plugs into Mac and Windows systems for redundant data protection without the complexities of RAID.
Dynamically expand storage any time. Drobo holds up to 16TB in from four to eight drive bays using any combination of 3.5" SATA drives. It comes with FireWire, USB, eSATA, Ethernet, and iSCSI connectivity options, so you get the data protection you need with the speed and interface you want.
- Redundant Protection, No Headaches
Drobo provides the redundant protection of much more expensive storage, in a format you don't have to configure or manage. We call this BeyondRAID™ technology. You'll call it peace of mind.
- Incomparable Expandability
With Drobo, buy just the storage you need now and change it as your data grows. Mix and match drive brands, capacities, and speeds. Replace your smallest drive with a larger one and immediately use the new capacity in a matter of seconds, not hours! It's a simple as inserting the new drive into the slot. Expand up to 16 TB on a single volume as larger drive sizes become available. Drobo creates one large storage pool. Dive in and eliminate the need for multiple external storage drives and devices.
- FireWire 800, USB 3.0, eSATA, iSCSI, Ethernet, File Sharing
Safety and quick access go hand in hand with Drobo. Whether directly attaching to your personal computer, sharing files with others over the network, or backing up a business application—Drobo's the optimal choice.
- Storage on your Terms
Safety access and quick access go hand in hand with Drobo. Whether you're directly attached to your personal computer, sharing files with others over the network, or backing up a business application—Drobo's the best choice.
- Windows and Mac OS
Drobo connects to Windows and Mac OS systems and supports NTFS, HFS+, and FAT32 file formats. Everyone can take advantage of simple, powerful, complete Drobo data protection.
Plug In Peace of Mind
Just plug in Drobo and your data protection is all set up. Add disks at any time for additional protected capacity. Drobo can even solve problems by itself. Lights on the front tell you what's happening—if you can read a traffic light, you're already a Drobo expert.
Drobo protects your data from drive failure, and there are things you can do to protect your Drobo. To reduce the risk of damage caused by voltage spikes and power outages, we recommend getting a UPS (uninterruptible power supply). To protect your data in case your Drobo is damaged due to fire, flood, theft, etc., we recommend that you have a backup copy of your data at a remote location.
You can automatically back up all the computers in your network with the DroboCopy feature built into the This works whether you have all PCs, all Macs, or a mix of both
- Enable file sharing on the computer to which Drobo is attached. This computer will act as a server for the purposes of backing up, and needs to be on for the DroboCopy backups to run.
- Install Drobo Dashboard on each computer that you want to back up. Open “DroboCopy Settings” from the Drobo Dashboard menu. Setup the backup job for that computer, making sure you select the computer as the backup target. You will need to make sure that this computer is able to share files and mount folders on your Drobo. If you aren’t sure how to set this up, consult your computer help files.
The easiest way to use DroboPro is to connect it to your computer using an Ethernet cable. But, if your computer only has one Ethernet port you may want to plug the DroboPro into a network switch. For DroboPro to work in this environment, you need to assign it a static IP address. This is done in the Dashboard using Advanced Tools->Tools->Settings->iSCSI tab. If you don’t know how to get a static IP address, please consult the person who supports your computer or network.
A key factor that hard drive manufacturers use to differentiate between “consumer” and “enterprise” is their “duty cycle.” This is amount of daily use they are expected to have. Enterprise-class drives are designed to be in use 24 hours a day with the drive head mechanism constantly moving. Consumer-class drives are designed for 8-10 hours of use per day. Idle time where the drive is just spinning does not factor into duty cycle.
You should select the largest size volume that your operating system supports, which is 16TB for Vista, Windows 7, and Mac OS X, and 2TB for Windows XP.
By setting a large volume size you will be able to keep adding drives to your Drobo while seeing all that capacity as a single drive on your desktop. If you select a smaller size, as drive capacity increases, you will see an additional volume each time protected capacity reaches another multiple of the size you selected.
There are three approaches to sharing your Drobo on a network:
- An easy, low-cost way is to turn on the file sharing built into the PC or Mac to which Drobo is connected. This method requires that this computer be turned on in order to access Drobo.
- The most complex way is to use a network router that supports sharing of a USB-connected hard drive, such as Apple’s Airport Extreme Base Station or various Linksys routers. You will need to access the management utilities on the router to turn on its file sharing. Also, because these devices don’t run the right interface software, the Drobo Dashboard will not be able to communicate with Drobo.
- The most complex way is to use a network router that supports sharing of a USB-connected hard drive, such as Apple's Airport Extreme Base Station or various Linksys routers. You will need to access the management utilities on the router to turn on its file sharing. Also, because these devices don't run the right interface software, the Drobo Dashboard will not be able to communicate with Drobo.
When you want to transport Drobo, you will need to take out the drives and disconnect the power. Pelican cases offer a safe way to take Drobo with you. For Drobo use model 1510, for DroboPro use model 1610.
These cases come in two varieties, with or without internal protective foam. Be sure to order the one with foam. The foam is scored so that you can easily create pockets for the Drobo/DroboPro, its disk drives, and the power supply.
Drobo is a great storage choice for Apple’s Time Machine. Just open Time Machine’s preference pane and select your Drobo. The DroboApp called Time Tamer lets you limit the amount of Drobo space that Time Machine will use, and automatically walks you through a few steps to implement it. Just download the script from the DroboApps part of the website.
A "frame" is a general networking term used in standard TCP/IP networking; it is a unit of measure for the transferring of data between one computer and another. Sometimes this "frame" is called a "packet". We all use TCP/IP networking to connect our computers to the company Local Area Network (LAN) or WiFi (wireless). Basically a "frame" is a block of data that is exchanged between systems on a network. "Frame Size" is the capacity of the frame or how much data can the "frame" transfer at one time. Standard frame size in typical networks is a default of 1500 bytes (give or take a few). So what happens when you copy a file over the network from one computer to another is that the file is broken down into 1500 byte chunks and transferred over the wire. Then those chunks are reassembled into the complete file at the receiving end. These operations takes a certain amount of CPU overhead to break down the file into pieces and transfer the data and then reassemble the data on the other end.
A "Jumbo Frame" is an increased frame size, typically set to 9000 bytes, to transfer larger chunks of data across the wire at one time. An advantage of a larger frame size is that it reduces CPU overhead on the sending and receiving systems because there are fewer chunks to break down and reassemble for a file transfer. The problem with Jumbo Frames is that if you have any errors on the network that causes a retransmission of the network packet then you need to retransmit the complete 9000 bytes instead of the 1500 bytes within a standard frame. This could cause more saturated networks if you have many errors during transfer.
The other issue is that to successfully use Jumbo Frames, all the networking infrastructure end-to-end needs to support that technology needs to support Jumbo Frames. That means the sending system, including the network interface card (NIC); the switches; the routers; the receiving system, including the NIC, all need to be set to accept Jumbo Frames. Many newer technologies do this automatically but it's always good to be sure before you set your frame size to 9000 to take advantage of Jumbo Frames.
Here at Drobo HQ we get questions from folks putting their Drobo's in all sorts of situations. One common way of deploying Drobo's is in a media center. Many of our customers happily connect Drobo's to their Microsoft Windows based media centers, however many AppleTV users are left in the cold, and stuck with the tiny amount of storage (160GB) Apple chose to put in the device. And to further exacerbate the issue, Apple has decided to disable the USB port on the AppleTV. Why? Who knows, but if you're like most of us you have Terabytes of movies and music that far exceed the size of the standard hard drive in the AppleTV.
So, the problem is... a growing media collection, fixed hard drive size. You already know how this movie ends. Enter the Drobo... and its hip new sidekick, Atv Flash!
This useful piece of software transforms your AppleTV into a "real" media center. Giving AppleTV the capability to not only plays dozens of media types (natively it only lets you play Quicktime files)... but it also... gets this, IT ENABLES THE USB PORT!! So, now thankfully you can attach a Drobo to your AppleTV, and have unlimited storage!
This is a perfect use for Drobo technology -- you need your movies and music to always be available and protected, but you also need the flexibility of growing your storage as your media collection grows. aTV Flash + Drobo provide all of this, and more.
Installing Atv Flash on your AppleTV is a simple process, and once installed you simply plug in a Drobo filled with your favorite media, and boom... media heaven. It's movie time -- grab a big bowl of Orville Redenbachers because you're gonna be a while. Heck, the software will even go out on the Internet and find album and movie art for the files stored on the Drobo.
Drobo S, AppleTV and Atv Flash... the perfect combination for the ultimate in media center flexibility.
One of the new features found on the DroboElite is called LUN Affinity. This article reviews what LUN Affinity is and how it works. The DroboElite is the first multi-host iSCSI SAN product from Drobo – it supports up to 255 LUNs. We call them Smart Volumes™. A LUN is a storage container that holds the data you store on the system. Think of a LUN as a hard drive on your system. When multiple systems connect to a DroboElite that have multiple LUNs to assign, you need a way to ensure that you assign a LUN to a system and keep it straight which LUN belongs to which system. That is LUN Affinity – the ability to ensure a LUN gets assigned to a host and is then protected from other hosts trying to connect. Just like your computer hard drive, only one computer at a time can connect to a LUN.
Use the Drobo Dashboard software in conjunction with the DroboElite to create and manage the LUNs on the storage system. Communicate with DroboElite via Drobo Dashboard to tell the storage system to create a LUN, how large the LUN should be, and what file system should be formatted on the LUN. This is all done with very simple check boxes and slide indicators. After a LUN is created, it needs to be connected to a system or “mounted” on a system. This is done with a simple check box within Drobo Dashboard. Simply check the box within Drobo Dashboard for the LUN you want to use and the LUN gets assigned to that system and is protected from other systems at the same time.
You can always tell which LUNs are assigned to your system by looking for the checked boxes from within Drobo Dashboard. If you see a lock icon then you know that LUN has been assigned to another system and is protected. If you see an empty check box that means the LUN is unassigned and anyone can connect to the LUN and provide added storage to their system. LUN affinity is a simple process with the DroboElite and Drobo Dashboard. Just look for the check boxes and you’re ready to go.
Did you know you can operate your Drobo or Drobo S without installing Drobo Dashboard? The Drobo products are so intelligent that they manage themselves. When you connect a Drobo to your computer (with drives inserted) it will present just as any "normal" FireWire drive would. You can format the drive, and access it as you would any other volume connected to the computer. You can fire up Drobo Dashboard at any time to administer the drive, install firmware updates, etc.