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post 14 Sep 2008, 10:50 PM
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Product summary
CNET Editors' ChoiceJun 07
The good:
Protects your data without your interference; can take a 3.5-inch SATA drive of any capacity and from any vendor; hot swappable; your data is available while Drobo is formatting a new drive (even if one drive fails); runs quietly; dashboard lets you track the condition of your Drobo.

The bad:
Drobo itself is an USB-only device, and networking capability adds $200 to the bill; we would like to see Drobo bundled with a good backup application.

The bottom line:
Drobo takes the pain and confusion out of data protection and lets you tailor and expand the drive according to your needs. This so-called storage robot works exactly as promised and is the most innovative storage device we've seen in a long time. We want one.


Drobo will let you sleep at night. Drobo will make your headache go away. Drobo will put a smile on your face. Drobo is not a drug. Drobo can affect you in the aforementioned ways, however, if you worry about keeping your troves of digital data safe. Drobo is an external storage device that is dead simple to set up and use while offering excellent protection and unbelievably flexible expansion. Specifically, it's a USB drive enclosure with four empty bays that can house any combination of SATA hard drives. It can salvage and rebuild your data in case of drive failure, and you can add larger drives to it as your storage needs grow. Data Robotics calls Drobo a "storage robot" because it automates all those tasks and decisions that RAID arrays require you to make in order to protect your data. An empty Drobo will set you back about $500, but e-tailers will probably offer bundles that include hard disk drives (currently, Drobo is available only in its baseline, driveless configuration). Drobo is the essence of simplicity and user friendliness. We only wish Drobo came bundled with its own backup utility so that the important first step of data backup wouldn't be left to the whims of end users.

The Drobo's all-black body makes it look small and inconspicuous for a four-bay enclosure. While the top and sides are matte black, the front and rear panels are made of glossy, black plastic. The rear panel of the Drobo houses only a USB port and a power port. If you pop off the front panel (which comes off easily without requiring tools), you're faced with four empty drive bays. Each bay can accept a hard drive of any capacity from any vendor, as long as it's a 3.5-inch SATA 1- or SATA 2-type drive. A series of 10 blue LEDs along the bottom of the front panel as the Drobo is filled--each light represents about 10 percent of the drive; the more blue lights you see, the less capacity you have left. On the right side of the front panel are four LEDs--one for each drive bay--that shine or blink green, yellow, or red to indicate the status of each drive. The included user guide offers a full explanation of the light patterns, as does a sticker on the inside of the front panel--saving you from hunting for the manual should you suddenly see the lights blink red or yellow.

Getting your Drobo up and running couldn't be simpler--no tools are required. Insert a SATA drive into any of Drobo's drive bays, connect Drobo to your PC via USB 2.0, and power it up by plugging it into a wall socket. You can start with just one hard drive, but Data Robotics recommends you start with at least two for data protection. You're paying for Drobo's protection technology--there are cheaper alternatives for a single, external hard drive. No matter how many drives you add to Drobo, your PC will see it as a single USB storage device. After you've popped your hard drives into Drobo and plugged it in, you can either use the included CD to format the drive(s) or you can use the native Windows drive formatting utility or Apple's Disk Utility. The benefit of formatting by using the CD is that you can install the Drobo Dashboard, which will help you stay informed of the device's status. The initial formatting will take a few minutes. Drobo supports NTFS (Windows), HFS+ (Mac OS), and FAT32 (cross-platform) file systems, and the separate DroboShare base provides EXT3 support for Linux systems. In order to format your Drobo volume in the EXT3 file system, you will need to purchase the separate DroboShare product.

Once you've formatted the disks, you can install additional disks without going through the formatting process. Simply pop out the full or damaged drive, and slide in a fresh one in its place. The new drive will be formatted automatically, and the data from the removed drive written to it; you can even access your data during this process (keep in mind that any data already existing on a drive will be erased once you allow Drobo to format it). According to Data Robotics, Drobo uses a variety of data protection schemes, including some used in RAID arrays. Unlike RAID arrays, you don't need to choose a protection level or scheme; all of the protection goes on behind the scenes. As mentioned previously, you can use any 3.5-inch drive from any vendor, in any capacity. When choosing drives, however, you should keep capacity in mind, because not all of the installed capacity will be available to you as storage space. Data Robotics' rule of thumb is to omit the capacity of the largest drive and add up the capacity of the remaining ones: for example, if you have three 250GB drives, your usable capacity is about 500GB. If you have two 500GB drives and a 250GB drive, your available capacity is 750GB. Drobo uses the remaining capacity for data protection. The idea is that if the largest drive fails, you'd need equal its capacity on the other drive(s) to store its data should that drive fail.

We installed the Drobo (with two drives, an 80GB Seagate Barracuda and a 160GB Seagate Barracuda) on our Windows-based system, and it was as easy as the start-up literature promised. After the initial formatting was done, we copied over several gigabytes of data, including photos, music, video, and data files. To test the ability to access data during a drive failure, we started a video from Drobo and proceeded to extract one of the hard drives and replace it with another (a 400GB Hitachi Deskstar). We didn't see any hiccups in the video (or any of the other files we accessed), and the formatting of the new disk and the rewriting of the data progressed in the background.

The Drobo dashboard shows a graphical representation of capacity (in the form of a pie chart), which we found useful. In the advanced options window, you can also check the capacity of each drive, set up alerts for various situations, check for firmware updates, and reformat the drive. The dashboard also lets you access instructional videos that show you how to perform various tasks, such as replacing a drive. While the dashboard is useful, we'd like to see Drobo bundled with more software, specifically with a good backup utility. As good as Drobo is at protecting your data, it still relies on users to actively copy files over and let's face it: we are lazy. A backup utility would let users schedule automatic backups during the installation process and let Drobo take care of the rest.

Because the focus of the Drobo is on data protection and not speed, we didn't test data transfer speeds (plus, speeds will vary depending on the hard drives you choose to add to Drobo). So far, Drobo is only available with a USB 2.0 connector, which is the main speed bottleneck, if that's a concern for you. The separate $199 DroboShare adds Gigabit Ethernet networking, but we would also like to see Drobo come in FireWire and eSATA versions for those users who want faster throughput than what USB 2.0 can provide.

Data Robotics supports Drobo with a standard one-year warranty. First-level toll-free phone support is available 24-7; if your matter needs additional attention, the second-level phone support is available 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT. You can also send an e-mail to tech support or fill out the online support form. Drobo's site offers FAQs, documentation, downloadables, and a user forum.

Source : cnet.com


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post 14 Sep 2008, 11:07 PM
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We've been following the Drobo for the past couple of months, and if any one thing is clear, it's that Data Robotics has a lot of work ahead of it when it comes to educating the average RAID-ready consumer why they should lay down five bills for an external enclosure that comes with no drives. We know, it's a tall proposition -- but the Drobo isn't your average external drive array enclosure. To better illustrate why, let's quickly compare some common usage aspects between the Drobo, with its virtualized storage system, and what many (ourselves included) have in their home, a RAID 5 array.

(For simplicity's sake, this example could be any RAID 5 array, we're not gonna get too specific. RAID 5 is possibly the closest consumer analogue to the Drobo's virtualized storage, so we're not gonna talk about RAID 10, or 0+1 or anything.)

Setup
RAID 5 - Three or more same drives required. (Some arrays will accept dissimilar drives, but will function as lowest common denominator. So two 300GB drives and one 20GB drive will yield a 40GB array.)
Drobo - One to four drives supported; two drives necessary for redundancy

Installation
RAID 5 - Drives in caddies or typically somehow screwed/fastened into the enclosure. From here you may have numerous means of access, including eSATA, USB 2.0, FireWire, even NAS.
Drobo - Drives slide into and are secured by enclosure with no tools. USB 2.0 only, sorry.

Redundancy method and data awareness
RAID 5 - Block-level striping with spanning parity. Array is block-level unaware of data though, meaning nothing intelligent is done with free space.
Drobo - Virtual storage pool is redundant, but also block-level aware, meaning that it recognizes free space, and automatically uses it for multiple invisible backups should drive sectors become corrupt. (The added benefit of block-level data awareness is external storage indicators, which show how much storage is being used in its series of LEDs.)

Redundancy overhead
RAID 5 - Space cost of any one of the identical disks in the array. (So four 250GB drives yields a 750GB array, raw.)
Drobo - Space of the largest disk in the array. (So two 250GB drives and two 500GB drives yields a 1TB array, raw.)

File systems
RAID 5 - Format any file system.
Drobo - HFS or NTFS. (Limited FAT32 support, future file systems to be added.)

Failure
RAID 5 - If a drive dies your array is at risk and goes into rebuild mode when you swap out the bad disk. Depending on your RAID array, you may or may not be able to use it during rebuild. Alternately, if a drive starts writing corrupt data, that data may stay corrupt, with backup recovery being your only option of restoration.
Drobo - If a drive dies your array still goes into rebuild mode, but your data may still be protected. Depending on how much capacity you're using, if there's enough free space in the array, your Drobo may still be able to ensure full redundancy. (Again, thank that block-level aware array system.) If your Drobo doesn't have enough free space during a disk loss, your data will be at risk; after inserting a new drive it will go into rebuild mode, but will still continue to be available.

Upgrading
RAID 5 - Users must back up contents and replace their entire array of drives to increase array storage. (Read: no drive recycling.)
Drobo - Upgrade storage a drive at a time. If you have empty bays, simply insert a new drive -- that storage is instantaneously available. If you are out of bays then remove smallest drive and add its larger replacement. Once that array is rebuilt and the new storage is available, remove the next smallest, etc. until you've reached the capacity you desire. Drobo can support 4TB+, and can supposedly address an infinite amount of space as drives push past the 1TB mark.

So it's pretty easy to tell that there are some very distinct advantages for users who aren't attached to the idea of RAID. The usability of a virtualized storage system is a powerful proposition -- especially considering that it's even possible to make backups with entire sets of drives. (Simply turn off your Drobo, remove all drives, and store them away. If you want to recover the data, just put them all back in, the Drobo is aware they are a Drobo drive array and picks up where the set last left off.) Some of these capabilities may not seem too foreign to those familiar with Infrants products, namely those featuring X-RAID (which seems to be that company's take on virtualized storage).

Excepting the defective first unit we got -- which worked fine other than a wire which came loose inside the box and ground up against the fan, making a hideous noise -- our Drobo has worked very well. Upgrading its firmware is dead simple just use the desktop app and it's all done for you. And unlike many external devices, you don't need to install the Drobo desktop software to use the device. It's just a mass storage drive, all the software does is break down how your storage is being used, give diag info, etc.


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post 14 Sep 2008, 11:43 PM
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look how you can calculate RAID spanning size !

extra.info.png

CODE
http://www.drobo.com/Products/drobolator.html




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post 16 Sep 2008, 11:48 PM
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Drobo Benchmark: How Fast is the Drobo?

extra.info.png

CODE
http://elliottback.com/wp/archives/2008/08/24/drobo-benchmark/




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post 17 Sep 2008, 08:54 PM
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it is here, formatting...


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post 18 Sep 2008, 07:10 AM
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χτες σε αντιγραφή 200GB τράβηξα έναν έναν τους δίσκους σταδιακά: remove / rebuild array

η αντιγραφή δεν σταμάτησε ποτέ...


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post 1 Nov 2008, 02:28 AM
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Data Robotics has disqualified the use of the 1.5TB Seagate drives at this time due to reliability issues with the drives.

Pending resolution of this matter by Seagate, Data Robotics will re-qualify these drives for use in Drobo. Please visit periodically to stay informed.


Source : http://www.drobo.com/Support/feed/


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post 13 Dec 2008, 01:40 PM
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I just wanted to pass this on to everyone here. This was released by Data Robotics earlier tonight:

"Data Robotics has disqualified the use of the 1.5TB Seagate drives at this time due to reliability issues with the drives. Pending resolution of this matter by Seagate, Data Robotics will re-qualify these drives for use in Drobo. Please visit periodically to stay informed."

Source : DroboSpace


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post 13 Dec 2008, 01:47 PM
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Posted in PC Builder, 12th December 2008 09:47 GMT

Seagate is cutting the warranty period of its bare drives.

A mail sent by Seagate to a North American reseller said:

Seagate Updates Warranty Terms on Select Bare Drives

Starting in 2009, Seagate will be making some important changes to its limited warranty terms for selected bare drive products.

For products purchased on or after January 3, 2009, the limited warranty period for consumer electronics, notebook and personal storage bare drives sold to Seagate Authorized Distributors will be changed from 5 to 3 years. Seagate believes that the new warranty period and terms better reflect current industry standards.

Seagate enterprise drives and Seagate and Maxtor external retail products that have 5-year warranty periods will not be affected by this change.

Drives with a 3-year warranty period include the Barracuda 7200, Diamondmax, Momentus 7200 and 5400, Pipeline HD and HD Pro, DB35 and LD25 5400.

The warranty change goes into effect on drives shipped from January 3, 2009, onwards. Seagate will honour the 5-year warranty on affected drives purchased before that date. The company isn't intending to change the warranty period on retail or enterprise drives.

A Seagate Bare Drive Warranty Change FAQ strongly rebuts any suggestion that this reflects lower confidence in product quality.

The company says 95 per cent of drive returns take place in the first three years. The industry norm warranty period for such drives is 3 years and Seagate says that by changing to a 3-year term it is able to improve other aspects of its customer support programs.

The Register reader who tipped us off to the change said he was sure many people, including himself, had stuck to Seagate drives because of the 5-year warranty. He, and they, won't do that anymore.

Ian O'Leary, Seagate's, EMEA Corporate Communications Director, said: "Our current 5-year limited warranty will remain in place for consumer retail products as well as for enterprise-class hard drives, and we will now provide our distributor customers with a 3-year limited warranty for all other hard drives."

"Based on our data, we know that 95 per cent of all returns take place during the first three years, so by offering a 3-year warranty - which is in line with the rest of the industry - we can make other aspects of our customer support and warranty programs more attractive with negligible impact to customer product return needs. The 3-year limited warranty on notebook, desktop and consumer electronics bare drives offers new advantages and enhancements to the business proposition for our channel customers while improving cost efficiencies for Seagate. We expect little, if any change for consumers since hard drives used in computer systems and other devices are covered by the individual manufacturerΆs warranty."

Source : http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2008/12/12/seagate_cuts_bare_drive_warranty/


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post 13 Jan 2009, 06:48 PM
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almost out of HD space again...

ordered another Drobo ( V2 this time, ouch ! with the price ) + 4 x 1TB WD SATA2 CAVIAR BLACK HDs ...


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post 23 Jan 2009, 10:17 PM
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QUOTE(NickTheGreek @ 1 Nov 2008, 02:28 AM) *
Data Robotics has disqualified the use of the 1.5TB Seagate drives at this time due to reliability issues with the drives.

Pending resolution of this matter by Seagate, Data Robotics will re-qualify these drives for use in Drobo. Please visit periodically to stay informed.


Source : http://www.drobo.com/Support/feed/


well, guess what ?

i eventually swapped the 1TB WD Caviars for 4x1.5TB Seagate Barracudas.

In the mean time since hat quoted post, several Seagate 1.5TB part numbers have been qualified for the Drobo...

Here is the full story by a Seagate engineer, interesting reading ... and i also attached a letter by Data Robotics exmplaing to their customers the current Drobo + 1.5TB HD issues, solved or not.


"I posted this in another thread, but I'll post it here to. This was posted by a Seagate employee this morning on Slashdot... take it for what it's worth. Might explain what's been going on.

Originally Posted by maxtorman
I work for Seagate. I was there when the fit hit the shan, and I saw everything going in internally, as well as externally.
I really love my job, so please excuse the sock-puppet nature that creating a brand new account and claiming to be an authority on the subject I must seem to be. But I am a geek, and I really think you all need to know the true story behind the scenes.

This whole thing started with the 1.5 Terabyte drives. It had a stuttering issue, which at first we all thought was a simple bad implementation of SATA on common chipsets. Seagate engineers promptly jumped in and worked to try to duplicate the issue and prove where the problem was. This wasn't a massive rush as 1.5tb drives are what? 5% of the drives on the market. When it became obvious that the issue was more widespread, they buckled down and put out a couple of firmware revisions to fix it.

Now, in the 1.5tb drives, there are 2 main revisions. the the product line that gets the CC* firmware, and the line that gets the SD* firmware. They came out with firmware CC1H and SD1A to fix these issues and started issuing them.

But, seagate has always been restrictive of handing out their firmware, so such updates required calling in with your serial so that the people who had access to hand out the firmware could check a) model, cool.gif part number, and c) current firmware just to make absolutely sure that they were giving the right firmware out. This has been a procedre that has worked for YEARS up until now.

Then the bricking issue came to their attention. It took so long because it's an issue that's hard to track down - pretty much the journal or log space in the firmware is written to if certain events occur. IF the drive is powered down when there are 320 entries in this journal or log, then when it is powered back up, the drive errors out on init and won't boot properly - to the point that it won't even report it's information to the BIOS.

This is a rare, but still obviously bad issue. Up until now, we all figured it was just some standard type of failure, as it was such a rare event, so we'd RMA the drives.

So, for whatever reason, mid management started freaking out (as it could be a liability for seagate, I suspect - ontop of the already potentially liable issue of the stuttering problem causing drives to fail in RAIDs). So, they pushed the release of the SD1A firmware to the general public. They took a few days to 'test', though it was mostly just including some code in the batch file that kicks off the firmware updater, to check that it is a BRINKS drive, and the proper model number. Then it was kicked out to the public.

Please understand, this firmware had to go through five different checks to make sure it applies to the specific conditions to qualify sending to a customer, before now. 5 chances for us to go your drive needs the other (or none) firmware update. Suddenly, it's down to ONE check, and even that was more designed for a contingency just incase the wrong firmware was sent out.

Of course, it starts bricking drives.

Right now, the engineers are crapping themselves, the firmware's been pulled, the support agents are told to say "The firmware will be released soon" and no real procedure to fix this issue is in place. Our phones are flooded so bad that it locks the system up when there are too many calls in queue, and emails are coming in at hundreds an hour.

We simply cannot keep up.

The good news is, the chance of your drive simply not spinning up one day is very low. And for those of you who flashed the wrong firmware - be patient. It's not bricked, just unable to write data to the platters properly. When they have a *GOOD* firmware out, a new flash should un-brick the drives. If not, flashing it back to SD15 should make it work again.

Seagate really pushes the idea of being open and honest as much as we can without being sued to hell. They let agents make choices and use their skills instead of scripting us to death. They worked hard to bring their support back to the USA.

Seagate does care about their customers. They just got caught with their pants down, twice in a very short period of time! So, they're wanting to double, triple, and quadruple check the firmware so it doesn't brick anymore drives.

As for why it takes so long before an issue is reported and before seagate makes an announcement - we get a dozen 'reports' of issues that are really just one-off problems a day. It takes time for an issue to be 'significant' enough to escalate to the product teams, and time before they can provide a fix.

I hope this clears up a few things. I may or may not be able to answer questions if you have any.


now, i must be lucky, because eshop.gr did not have any 1.5TBs in stock and i had to wait a week for the new delivery, so i open the first of the 4 hard discs and here are my details :

CODE
ST31500341AS
P/N: 9JU138-302
Firmware: CC1H


no need to upgrade, doing a CC1H > CC1J upgrade is even forbidden !
Attached File(s)
Attached File  Seagate_1.5TB.pdf ( 693.13K ) Number of downloads: 0
 


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post 11 Jul 2010, 10:18 AM
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"Do you own a Drobo?

Drobo is a nice easy to set up storage device with hot swappable drives. And while all this is true, there are a few things that are not mentioned in the Drobo website.

I had my Drobo for a couple of years now, it has given me headaches every now and then. Yet I must say that I am overall happy with the unit.

One thing that I don't like and thought they should be more specific on the website is how long does it take for Drobo to re-arrange your data when you upgrade one of your hard drives. I have mainly video files on my Drobo, therefore a use up my space kind of fast. I had 4TB (1TB per slot) in my unit and wanted to upgrade one of my hard drives with a 2TB. While this won't increase the space I have for use, it will ease up the task by the time I upgrade my second HD, but is worth to point out that if you have about 70% of your space already filled, it will take about 30 hours for your data to realign and take advantage of redundancy in order to protect you in case of a HD failure. I think that this process is rather slow and is something they should mention. And while you are able to access the data stored in your Drobo while you do this, a noticeable increase of time will be displayed on the estimated time thru Drobo dashboard (An application made by data robotics to monitor your Drobo machine).

The second issue I have encountered are the updates on both Drobo and Drobo dashboard. They usually alter my machine and after boot up it still takes a few minutes before i can start using my computer (I use a Mac), a solution to this usually is to clear your cache and delete the Drobo plist file from the preferences folder on your library.

I also still have an issue with Drobo share, which is not fully recognized by my main computer. Drobo dashboard does display the information of my Drobo but I can't access the unit and retrieve my data. All other machines read my Drobo without problems. I have deleted all files related to the application but still can't quite get it to work. I have been thinking about going back with time machine (doesn't that sound cool!!!!) and restore the system before the installation of Drobo share, which wasn't too long ago.

The last issue I have seen is related to the addition of a new HD. When i upgraded to the 2TB one, I inserted the drive without formatting! (big mistake!!!) I assumed Drobo will do that for me, but it doesn't! and what is worse, it will make the unit behave like if you had a massive HD failure. All your lights will turn red and you will start to panic!! (I sure did!!).

A solution for this is quite simple, turn off your unit, remove all your hard drives and insert the new one (already formatted) along with a second one that you might be using for small stuff. I happen to have a 100GB 3.5" HD that I use to store information for small projects while i'm on the go. With those two drives inside, turn your unit and let it align your data. This will take no more then few minutes. Once you are done, turn your Drobo off and replace the hard drives with the ones you had originally. Turn it on, let it map the data and then proceed with your upgrade.

The Drobo unit is quite good, but it does have it's flows! I am happy with my unit, but I do feel like it will become small after another year or two of use. I have been reading a lot about servers and how to make your own. Most likely i will end up making my own case and buy all the parts to make a server running Linux that will accommodate my needs, have data redundancy and allows me to upgrade the storage capacity while making a back up!!

That should be a nice project!!"



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post 7 Feb 2011, 04:46 PM
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Does Drobo support drives larger than 2TB?


New larger capacity drives (e.g. 2.5TB, 3TB) are now available for purchase in 3.5in SATA models. Drobo supports the use of these high-capacity drives in Drobo systems to allow users to continue to expand their Drobo storage.

Users of Drobo products can download and apply a free firmware update for their Drobo system and make use of drives >2TB.

Availability of these firmware updates is based on the following schedule:

Firmware 1.1.0 for the Drobo FS and DroboPro FS adds support for >2TB drives and is available for download.

Firmware 2.1.0 for the Drobo S adds support for >2TB drives and is available for download.



Other products:

February 2011 = DroboElite, DroboPro

March 2011 = Drobo (4-bay)

Source : http://support.datarobotics.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/506/kw/3tb/r_id/100004



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JeanePittman
post 18 Dec 2012, 05:48 AM
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I am happy with my unit, but I do feel like it will become small after another year or two of use. I have been reading a lot about servers and how to make your own. Most likely i will end up making my own case and buy all the parts to make a server running Linux that will accommodate my needs, have data redundancy and allows me to upgrade the storage capacity while making a back up!!








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