After all my recent problems the Drobo is now back up and running. BUT, it only using three disks and not four.
In my previous post on the subject I mentioned that I had to return one of the replacement 3TB drives that had failed. To replace that drive, I ordered a new 4TB from Amazon. When this drive arrived, I tried to add it to the Drobo, but it didn’t seem to fit. It was actually loose in the drive bay.
After some head scratching as to the problem, I compared the drive to one of the old drives and realised it wasn’t as high. It wasn’t the standard size for a 3.5” disk drive. Checking Amazon there was nothing to indicate the unusual size but looking at the physical dimensions of the drive it listed the height as 2cm. Checking other 3.5” drives I realised they were all listed as 2.7cm.
So be warned, if you’re buying additional drives for your Drobo or NAS, check the height of the drive. There are now slimline disks on the market and they don’t fit standard drive bays.
I will pick up a fourth drive at some point, but I just wanted to get the Drobo up and running. I have now copied my backup onto the Drobo and recovered as many images as possible from my formatted memory cards. I’m missing a couple of hundred images but more annoyingly a lot of video I shot for a future YouTube posting. At least the bulk of my images are safe though and I hope you like this one.
Despite all the recent problems with losing my Photo Library (I do have a backup for 98% of the drive), I was able to launch my new book on Amazon over the weekend. Ironically the book is about managing your photo library using Adobe Lightroom. It’s titled “Adobe Lightroom Classic CC: Mastering the Library Module” and is priced at £4.99, or similar in other currencies.
I want to stress that you don’t need to be using Lightroom Classic CC to use the book. The Library module has changed very little over the years so if you’re using Lightroom version 6, version 5 or even version 4, you can still apply the book.
If you ever thought you may be losing control of your photos, or that there must be an easier way to manage all these images, this book can help you.
But as for my Photo Library, I mentioned in my last post, that I was replacing two old disks.
My two new disks have arrived, and I replaced the hottest of the two suspect disks first. When you replace a disk in a Drobo, the unit goes into data protection mode to reorganise the data across all the available drives. Just as this finished, and I was about to replace the second suspect drive, Drobo flashed up warning that a disk had been lost and the drive light turned red.
I replaced the failed drive and left the unit to complete its data protection. I came back after a few hours and everything looked fine until I open Lightroom. That’s when another Drobo warning popped up and the disk light on the first replacement disk turned red. The Drobo data protection sprang into life and the light turned green again. Checking the activity log on the Mac I could see that the disk in question had repeatedly failed and been repaired over several hours.
Here’s where I need to admit to having been a little sceptical of the disks I’d bought. They were purchased as new Seagate Barracuda drives from Amazon. But when they arrived there was no packaging other than they were sealed in anti-static bags and placed in a further bubble wrap bag. On speaking to Amazon, they offered me a refund but couldn’t replace the drives as a third party supplied them. I took the refund and have ordered another drive for the Drobo. Let’s hope this one lasts a little longer.
Yesterday, one on my Drobo units warned me that it was running short of space. This is hardly surprising given the amount of video production I have been doing recently.
I opened the Drobo dashboard software and checked the drives. The software showed me the unit had 2 x 2TB and 2 x 1.5TB disks installed. It also indicated I should replace one of the 1.5TB disks with a larger capacity volume, highlighting it amber. The replacement drive I ordered from Amazon was 3TB and cost only £74 including delivery.
Today the drive arrived, I popped the magnetic cover off the Drobo, ejected the recommended disk and inserted the replacement. It took me around 30 seconds to swap the disks and I didn’t even need to turn the unit off. The Drobo dash then popped up a few messages before turning on data protection mode. This is where the content of the Drobo is spread across all the installed drives in case one ever fails. As for the 1.5TB drive, I popped that into my other Drobo unit which had 2 x 4TB, 1 x 1TB and 1 x 500GB disks.
What I find great is, even though the Drobo is busy protecting the data on the disks, I can still use it just as I would normally. In fact, I just finished editing another video lesson, saving it to the Drobo.
I had a bit of a scare over the holidays that made me realise how sloppy I have become with my backup process. At one time I was pretty rigorous in processing and backing up my images. Everything went into a holding area on my hard drive which was duplicated to a second hard drive. Once the images had been processed and had keywords applied I would then move them to a processed folder set, again duplicated and then also burned to CD.
Over time the image size has increased and so have my storage needs. At some point I seem to have relaxed control and stopped using my complicated, multi copy process. In short, I have become sloppy. I did recognise this a few years ago and took out a little insurance, investing in a Drobo with 4 drive bays. That way if one of my drives dies I still have the data across the others.
Great idea; I love the Drobo and all has been well for the past 4 years.
The only problem I have with this set up is that it’s not very easy to have a backup of 8Tb’s of storage. Sure if one or even two of the disks die I can recover with minimal data loss. But what happens if the whole unit dies. The first thing a Drobo unit does when you insert a new drive is format it.
I had this thought about a week ago and then the unthinkable actually happened. My Drobo wouldn’t boot. Even when I managed to get it started the PC wouldn’t recognise it and the unit would go back to sleep.
I have managed to get the unit started now. I have no idea what caused the problem but it’s made me invest in a second Drobo and hard disks. I am going to spend a lot more time in the coming year developing a sensible archiving policy for all my images. I’m now adding images to the collection far too quickly. I can’t risk losing everything.
Storage may be cheap but the time taken to manage data and image archives isn’t. I think this coming year will be a year of tidying everything up and becoming as streamlined as possible.