Drobo @#$%

My first exposure to Drobo was when I bought a firewire version with 4 drives wayyyyyy back in 2011. Billed as the hassle free external storage, it uses proprietary algorithms (more than just RAID) to ensure that data isn’t lost when a drive goes bad.

Prior to this, I had just used external drives to store stuff (way back in the 1990’s I used tape, but then in the early ought’s it became far cheaper to just buy bigger disks).

It worked great. In fact when a drive failed, it tells you, then you insert a new drive and it magically “rebuilds” itself. And in the 7 years that sat on my desk, I replaced a couple of drives, fairly seamlessly.

Its only flaw was that it was a bit slow, so you wouldn’t want to use it for, say, video editing.

Alas, it aged out, and one update of OSX and its KEXT driver became flakey. Time to upgrade. I had a new-ish mac with a Thunderbolt 2 port, and thus the 5Dt was the natural choice. It had 5 drive slots (instead of 4) and the ability to survive two drive failures.

It also had a m.2 slot for a SSD to cache and buffer access, so it was no longer solely at the mercy of the spinning rust.

And for 2 years it was flawless. I progressively added larger disks, had a drive failure, and the one extra free slot. Worked great.

Then in a re-arrangement of my office to accommodate working from home, I powered it off. I also took that as an opportunity to blow the dust out of it.

The Problem

It wouldn’t come back up. I pressed the on button, the fans would spin up, and after 2 or 3 seconds, it would power off.

Sigh. Off to Drobo’s support system. I submitted a ticket, and got a quick email response with some things to check. I was able to get it to “mostly” boot if I removed the drives. That allowed me to generate a status block of data and submit. And to verify what the status of the LEDs were as asked. I sent that in, and …

Here I am 2.5 weeks later and not a peep. No response, and every other day or so, I submit a comment to the support ticket.

Doing a little digging, and the Drobo devices are out of stock everywhere. There are a few refurbished ones for ridiculous amounts of money. But no new stock, and only one retailer has an estimated date to receive a shipment, late August.

Their support team seems to be AWOL. The communities are not helpful.

Meanwhile, I have about 12TB of data on my disk pack, and no way to access it.

I did buy Drobocare, and I am under coverage. I am hoping that it is just COVID that is slowing things down, but that is getting harder to believe. Their headquarters are about a 20 minute drive away, and I may need to make a visit.

I am pissed at the delay, but I also want to get my data off the drive. Looking at what to replace it with.

Product Manager in Tech. Guitar player. Bicycle Rider. Dog rescuer. Techie.