Data files on each of my web server, laptops, primary computer and iMac are regularly and automatically backed up to my networked Drobo. I also use the Drobo as a primary repository for 100’s of Gigabytes of centralized data – accessible from any device on my home office network, including my Apple TV, TiVo, PS3 and Xbox 360.
As of three days ago, I had two 500 Gigabyte drives and 1 Terabyte drive installed in the Drobo. Two days ago a flashing red light appeared beside one of the 500 Gig drives. This meant that the drive had failed. I purchased a 1 Terabyte Western Digital replacement drive for $114 at infonec.
True to data robotics claims, I was able to hot swap out the defective 500 Gigabyte drive and slide in the new Terabyte drive without incident. It took about 15 seconds to do. Subsequently, it took about six hours for Drobo to reconstitute data redundancy – ie: to format the new drive and redistribute my data across the newly constituted drive array such that data would once again not be lost if any drive failed. During the recovery process, lights beside the three drives blinked green and red. This page on the drobospace.com website says the lights blink green and yellow. It looked more like green and red to me.
As soon as I slid the Terabyte drive in, the Drobo dashboard tool:
- recognized the new drive and went to work restoring data across the drives;
- warned not to remove drives during the recovery process or data would be lost;
- estimated that recovery would take about 6 hours to complete; and
- displayed a graphic bar throughout indicating how far along in the process it was.
I didn’t pay any attention to it after that. Six hours seems about how much time passed before I noticed that all the lights shone solid green and the Drobo was back to normal.
During the entire episode, the Drobo was never down. I was able to read and write to/from the Drobo from any device on my network both while the damaged drive flashed red and while Drobo was reconstituting data redundancy. Reading and writing to the Drobo during recovery seemed to occur at normal speeds – though I didn’t do any tests to measure it.
The Upshot: Drobo worked EXACTLY as advertised. Wonderful!
Click on the image below to access a demo on how to hot swap out a drive. It’s that easy.