I Love Drobo

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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.

This is how technology should work.

Something to Say Again

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North Wales would you believe!
North Wales would you believe!

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.