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Old Aug 16th, 2014, 09:33 PM   #1
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Drobo strategy?

Looking for some advice here if I may.

My setup; Mac Mini server with iTunes running 24/7 serving up to MBA, couple of iPads, iPods, iPhone and Windoze laptop. MM has one 256SSD (system and apps) with a Thunderbolt 4TB RAID attached (all media including iTunes library etc.) and a FW800 6Tb WD RAID setup as my backup drive, It backs up the MM (internal drive and the 4Tb media drive), MBA and the Windoze.

So both external drives are usually 3/4 full.

So I was thinking about replacing the two external drives with one Drobo. Just the basic one with USB3 not the TB, double the price. Looks like r/w speeds are around 130/80 so enough to feed HD, no heavy video editing needed.

I'm liking the Drobo for the hot drive swap and backup redundancy. Will probably load it with four 4Tb drives which I believe works out to about 10Tb of actual storage.

Thought about a NAS and that's why I installed Server on the Mini thinking it's a high end NAS. Still trying to figure out the Server App though.

Anyway, just wondering if anyone has any thoughts?

Thanks
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Old Aug 17th, 2014, 01:22 AM   #2
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The drobo is just a raid array like your current setup. So you still need to back it up if you want your data to be secure.

If your current setup works for you, the simply upgrade to larger drives to fit your storage crave.

OSX server only adds functionality such as a time machine back up location for your other Mac. You should read up on it to know if it is for you. File sharing does not require server.

As for me, I have 2 NAS That back up each other, and a dedicated machine that hosts plex server accessing the media from the NAS.
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Old Aug 17th, 2014, 02:33 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IllusionX View Post
The drobo is just a raid array like your current setup. So you still need to back it up if you want your data to be secure.

If your current setup works for you, the simply upgrade to larger drives to fit your storage crave.

OSX server only adds functionality such as a time machine back up location for your other Mac. You should read up on it to know if it is for you. File sharing does not require server.

As for me, I have 2 NAS That back up each other, and a dedicated machine that hosts plex server accessing the media from the NAS.
Drobo is not RAID. It is proprietary technology. Drobo does similar things but is not RAID.

Drobo

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Drobo, Inc. implements a storage technology that they call BeyondRAID in their Drobo storage devices. While not a true RAID ISO spec extension, it does provide for using up to 12 SATA hard drives in the devices and consolidating them into one big pool of storage. It has the advantage of being able to use multiple disk sizes at once, much like a spanned volume/volume set or the Synology Hybrid RAID, while providing redundancy for all disks and allowing a hot-swap upgrade at any time. Internally it uses a mix of techniques similar to RAID 1 and RAID 5. Depending on the amount of data stored on the unit in relation to the installed capacity, it may be able to survive up to 3 drive failures, if the "array" can be restored onto the remaining good disks before another drive fails. The amount of usable storage in a Drobo unit can be approximated by adding up the capacities of all the disks and subtracting the capacity of the largest disk. For example, if a 5, 4, 2, and 1 TB drive were installed, the approximate usable capacity would be 5+4+2+1-(5)=7 TB of usable space. Internally the data would be distributed in two RAID 5-like arrays and one RAID 1-like set:
Also with Drobo you cannot create the equivalent of a RAID 0 stripe to increase performance.

Standard RAID levels

Quote:
A RAID 0 (also known as a stripe set or striped volume) splits data evenly across two or more disks (striped), without parity information and with speed as the intended goal. RAID 0 was not one of the original RAID levels and provides no data redundancy. RAID 0 is normally used to increase performance, although it can also be used as a way to create a large logical disk out of two or more physical ones

Last edited by screature; Aug 17th, 2014 at 02:52 PM.
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Old Aug 17th, 2014, 03:06 PM   #4
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Thanks, screature, for your interesting explanation of the Drobo system.
Then again, my main question would be: is it safe to use any kind of RAID or RAID-like system for backup? Not with striped disks ( RAID level 0) in any case, if one disk goes, the other does not contain all data.
With the Drobo level 1/5 combination, I would already feel more secure. But if the Drobo controller would go awry, you sit on a virtually unreadable pile of data. Or am I wrong?
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Old Aug 17th, 2014, 03:14 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by hexdiy View Post
Thanks, screature, for your interesting explanation of the Drobo system.
Then again, my main question would be: is it safe to use any kind of RAID or RAID-like system for backup? Not with striped disks ( RAID level 0) in any case, if one disk goes, the other does not contain all data.
With the Drobo level 1/5 combination, I would already feel more secure. But if the Drobo controller would go awry, you sit on a virtually unreadable pile of data. Or am I wrong?
Yes you can use RAID for backup but then for 100% back up (data security) you still need a backup (preferably off-site) for the data on any RAID array.

Most of us will never need that level of data security, but for enterprises (such as Banking) it is absolutely necessary.

You are totally correct.

That is why I use RAID and not Drobo.

Personally, I prefer not to put all my eggs in one basket. Which in effect is what Drobo does.

I don't like that.

If Drobo was less expensive, by about 50%, so I could have a Drobo of my Drobo I might consider it... But even then probably not.

Last edited by screature; Aug 17th, 2014 at 03:35 PM.
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Old Aug 17th, 2014, 06:43 PM   #6
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Weird Drobo issue brought to my attention just now.

Drobo disappearing gradually from a mounted-on-desktop state: https://discussions.apple.com/thread...art=0&tstart=0
Don't think the issue is widespread, though. Yet, leaves another frown on my forehead whether it is reliable enough for backup.
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Old Aug 17th, 2014, 10:30 PM   #7
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RAID is not a replacement for backup's.

RAID typically gives you performance and storage and MAY also provide some level of redundancy for drive failure but that has nothing to do with a backup...esp off site backups.
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Old Aug 18th, 2014, 08:31 AM   #8
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What I find is that people are most confused with what a backup really is.
- If your file exists only once, it is not backed up.
- If multiple copies exist, but on the same drive, it is not backed up
- If your files exit only on a single system (single drive or RAID), they are not backed up

To backup your data, you need to consider the following:

- If I overwrite the file, can I restore the backup copy?
- If I delete the file, can I restore the backup copy?
- If my hard drive fails, can I restore the backup copy?
- If the RAID fails (which they do, a lot), can I restore the backup copy?
- If someone stole or destroyed my system, can I restore the backup copy?

What I find is that technicians and end users are buying low cost NAS units and using them as a central storage. They have a false security thinking that these units are acting as their backup. But because they aren't actually being used as a backup system, rather as their primary storage location, so when disaster strikes, they are left with no choice but to come to a data recovery lab like mine to get their data recovered.

Drobo does use their own unique algorithms, but they are equally as vulnerable as any other RAID configuration...just a lot more difficult and expensive to recover.
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Old Aug 18th, 2014, 09:38 AM   #9
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Thank you everyone for the spirited responses.

So I think I will pass on the Drobo and re examine my backup strategy.

I'm still torn between using the Mini as a server with attached DAS devices for storage or going with a NAS, specifically QNAP or SYNOLOGY.

My present DAS devices are the WD RAIDs and quite honestly they seem to be doing fine, just getting low on storage space. A "good" RAID DAS costs as much as a NAS so I'm kinda torn there.

As far as my backup strategy goes my media libraries are on the TB WD RAID striped but are backed up to my FW WD RAID also. Absolute worst case scenario would be all four drives failing at the same time (two in each RAID device,) highly unlikely I think.

I'm going to clone my internal server HDD daily I think, that way I will always have a bootable disk just in case the SSD fails.

I'm going to sit down today and see if I can get the Sever app setup properly, I'm thinking this is probably my best and cheapest option seeing as I already have it.

Any other suggestions?
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Old Aug 18th, 2014, 10:20 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by gowyn View Post
Thank you everyone for the spirited responses.

So I think I will pass on the Drobo and re examine my backup strategy.

I'm still torn between using the Mini as a server with attached DAS devices for storage or going with a NAS, specifically QNAP or SYNOLOGY.

My present DAS devices are the WD RAIDs and quite honestly they seem to be doing fine, just getting low on storage space. A "good" RAID DAS costs as much as a NAS so I'm kinda torn there.

As far as my backup strategy goes my media libraries are on the TB WD RAID striped but are backed up to my FW WD RAID also. Absolute worst case scenario would be all four drives failing at the same time (two in each RAID device,) highly unlikely I think.

I'm going to clone my internal server HDD daily I think, that way I will always have a bootable disk just in case the SSD fails.

I'm going to sit down today and see if I can get the Sever app setup properly, I'm thinking this is probably my best and cheapest option seeing as I already have it.

Any other suggestions?
Go the NAS route. Uses less power than Mac mini server, is easier to setup, and is purpose-built. Also takes up less space.

I have a Synology (DS1512+) and I'm very happy with it.
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