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DPChallenge Forums >> Hardware and Software >> My new Drobo 2.0 is here! 4Tb of Storage!
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07/24/2008 03:36:12 PM · #1
The following article is taken from my blog.

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It came today!

There are many things that I think Average Joe does not understand about the photographic industry and why it costs so much to do pictures (after all, digital is free, right?!?). But the one pervasive, never ending concern, of every photographer out there is Storage!

Digital photography has an incredible appetite for storage. I shot two weddings this week. All together, there were 4,894 images captured, requiring 71Gb of storage. If you ever thought of a 250Gb drive as large, you can quickly see that at this rate, only 2.5 more weeks of weddings will be required to fill up a 250Gb drive.

And that's without processing the images or backing them up!!!

I mention processing the images, because all images are captured as raw files and later converted to displayable / printable jpegs. While the act of converting them won't double the storage requirements, it will probably increase the current 71Gb to perhaps 90Gb or so. And if any editing is done to the images, another 10-20Gb of storage will probably be needed, so we're talking at least 100Gb to 110Gb for the two weddings.

And still no backup! What happens if a hard drive goes out?

I use four different kinds of storage. The memory cards that the pictures were initially recorded on. A main storage drive. A backup drive. And an off site (internet accessible) location.

I don't format the memory cards until the images are in at least two of those locations because you never know when something will go out. And if it's somebody's wedding we're talking about, there are no "do-overs". And your customer won't take "sorry" for an answer.

Why do I worry? Because I lost 3 hard drives last year and one already this year. Have I had an unlucky two years? Sure. But with so many drives up and running, it just happens. You better count on it!

So everything gets backed up, right? But what if you're working on a job and the hard drive you are working on goes out? What happens to all of the changes you've made? What happens to the "hours of labor" you have put into processing the images since the last backup? You can't be constantly backing everything up, can you?!?

This is where my new Drobo 2.0 comes in!

Drobo will be my new Main Storage drive. With 4Tb of high speed storage. Caveat, not all 4Tb are usable by me because some of it is used for redundancy. Still, I'll be able to put many, many "jobs" onto a single system and still consider it to be fairly safe.

The system has 4 drives in it. All of my hard work is spread across all four drives. If one drive goes out, I simply replace it and Drobo automatically rebuilds the data on the new drive. In other words, Drobo is "automatically redundant". It automatically protects every minute of every change I make. Will I still back up my images to other drives and to off site storage? Yes! But I can do so as the job is finished rather than having to continually worry about backups.

But you've heard of RAID systems, right? Is this any different? YES! Absolutely! Some reasons to consider adding a Drobo to your storage:

1) Drobo is immediately expandable. If you have a RAID 5 system with four 250Gb drives and want to grow the system by replacing those drives with 500Gb drives, you may opt to: a) change one drive at a time, over a period of time, or b) change them all at once. Either way, you STILL have to back up the entire system, "break the RAID configuration", then reformat the drives and restore all of your data. How long will that take? You don't want to know.

Drobo, on the other hand, immediately begins growing your storage from the moment you put a new/larger drive into the system. You don't have to wait until all four drives are replaced. You don't have to back up the system or break the raid, and you don't have to restore the images when you're done. It's all automatic. It's fast and it's painless. That's the way storage ought to be!

You can read more about Drobo on their website.

Or watch several video demonstrations.

I've lived with a never ending supply of external drives (I swear, they breed like rabbits). I've lived with a RAID 5 NAS system. I'm extremely excited about my new Drobo 2.0 connected to my system via Firewire.

07/24/2008 06:02:08 PM · #2
I'd be interested to see how this works for you.

I know a photog on another site that got the 1.0 version and nearly had a heart attack when she was told she couldn't take her drives from 1.0 into 2.0 and have it work...tech support there said you could IF you had the latest firmware update. Scary stuff to be locked into a proprietary format that they themselves might abandon!

She's also lost 2 HDs in her drobo to mech failure - new ones - in less than 4 months. Makes me wonder a bit.

I love the concept and ease of use - it just works as simply as a toaster or any otehr small appliance.

I went with a thermaltake blacx ($30) and two 750gb seagates for backup, alternating them week to week offsite. My 500Gb mybook is now a raw archive drive -not a working drive but not backup exactly either. I keep the RAW there (and on DVD) until the wedding/client is 'closed'.

I used to not format mem cards until everything was backed up, but got super busy this week and had to break that rule today...if this becomes normal I'll be buying more cards. I've got 11 cards with a capacity of 30Gb - and I used them all and reused a 2Gb today...all in 5 calendar days!

I had to get 750's for backup as i'm backing up about 460Gb of data overall..i only do weekly incrementals so it's not THAT much each week, but I was hoping the 750's would last me for at least 6 months. I'm begging to worry already!

Message edited by author 2008-07-24 18:03:27.
07/24/2008 06:30:17 PM · #3
Hope it works for you David :)

I looked long and hard at this when it was in an earlier thread (might have been V1). Am I right in thinking you don't get any drives and surely although its capacity is 4TB you only get to use 25% of that? Mind you 1TB of storage all backed up is pretty sweet.
07/24/2008 06:34:52 PM · #4
Showoff! ...grumble grumble grumble... ;-)

Looks sweet! Good luck with it!
07/24/2008 06:48:38 PM · #5
Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

I know a photog on another site that got the 1.0 version and nearly had a heart attack when she was told she couldn't take her drives from 1.0 into 2.0 and have it work...tech support there said you could IF you had the latest firmware update. Scary stuff to be locked into a proprietary format that they themselves might abandon!


According to the FAQ on their website they say you just take the drives out of 1.0 and put them in 2.0 and it works. They do suggest making sure the firmware is up to date, but it's almost mentioned in an off-hand "just in case" sort of way rather than as a requirement.

Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

She's also lost 2 HDs in her drobo to mech failure - new ones - in less than 4 months. Makes me wonder a bit.


I lost 3 drives last year and one this year (luckily the one this year was in a RAID 5 configuration and simply needed replacing). It doesn't make me wonder at all. They're mechanical. They fail. If it hasn't happened to you (or someone you know) yet ... it will.

Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

I used to not format mem cards until everything was backed up, but got super busy this week and had to break that rule today...if this becomes normal I'll be buying more cards. I've got 11 cards with a capacity of 30Gb - and I used them all and reused a 2Gb today...all in 5 calendar days!


I hear ya. I was adding up my cards this week and found that I have 60G worth of cards. Most of them are 4G cards (in fact, most are Sandisk Extreme IV's).

Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

I had to get 750's for backup as i'm backing up about 460Gb of data overall..i only do weekly incrementals so it's not THAT much each week, but I was hoping the 750's would last me for at least 6 months. I'm begging to worry already!


(nods in complete understanding)

And people think you should just give away the pictures for free because it doesn't cost anything to take the pictures, right?!?

Message edited by author 2008-07-24 18:54:00.
07/24/2008 06:52:29 PM · #6
Originally posted by Ecce Signum:

Am I right in thinking you don't get any drives and surely although its capacity is 4TB you only get to use 25% of that? Mind you 1TB of storage all backed up is pretty sweet.


I have four 1Tb drives in the system. It says it has 2.71Tb is available for storage. That seems like less than a standard RAID5 configuration, but it's hard to say whether the overhead is in DROBO or in the NTFS format or what...

By way of comparison, with a standard RAID 5, you effectively use one drive out of the set for redundancy. So if you have 3 drives, you only get to use 2/3rds of the capacity. In a four drive set, you'd get to use 3/4ths, and so on. The Drobo only has 4 bays in it so I can't grow beyond four drives. It'll be interesting to see where they take this system from here ... what will 3.0 be like?
07/24/2008 08:11:26 PM · #7
Thanks for the info :) I'm not as prolific as you guys and usually backup a months worth of images to a single DVD and external drive. I see the Drobo as the way forward and do like the plug and play useability
07/25/2008 01:10:44 AM · #8
Originally posted by Ecce Signum:

Thanks for the info :) I'm not as prolific as you guys and usually backup a months worth of images to a single DVD and external drive. I see the Drobo as the way forward and do like the plug and play useability


Yeah, I'd be backing up a single wedding to something like 9 DVDs. That would just take forever...
07/25/2008 09:57:54 AM · #9
I only burn the keeper RAW files from a wedding, about 1/2. Still takes 2 DVDs most of the time.

As to drive failure she had issues before drobo too. Not sure what you guys are doing, but Ive only ever lost 1 drive -and I got it used in a trade (old 512mb SCSI drive) and that was 10 years ago or so. I've got 6 or 7 drives running plus the 2 750s. It's abit annoying but the BlackX won't sleep the drives (on USB anyway). They spin 24/7 so I've adjusted by backup to all happen fri/sat so I only have to spin them 24 hours every 2 weeks.

My buddy is a computer geek for fun and a living and he's running 4 computers at home and always keeps his drives online - old 60gb drives even -he's only ever had 1 fail since 1989 or so when he got his first HD. and I never hear of him having one fail at work - with multiple servers and 50+ workstations.

So to have a drive fail isn't perhaps unusual, but 3 in a year?
07/25/2008 10:41:26 AM · #10
Terry, coincidentally, I was looking at Drobo just yesterday.

Over the network, does it allow you to create different shares with different permission levels for different users????
07/25/2008 04:57:01 PM · #11
I burned through several drives this year (both at work and at home). Some were in RAID configurations, some were just backup drives themselves, and one was a critical mess. Luckily, the critical mess turned out to be a burnt PCB and I was able to find a replacement board for the drive and it spun right back up.

I'd love to go with a big backup system - but my butt puckers at the thought of spending so much money for what amounts to insurance. I do back up at home... I just don't have a robust solution.
07/25/2008 05:07:07 PM · #12
Just canceled our order from Drobo direct, as they've had it on backorder for over 2 weeks. I called them and they couldn't tell me when the units would actually dhip.

Turned around and ordered from B&H and recieved an expected delivery date of next Wed.
This ended up to be cheaper than from Drobo. No shipping (NAPP membership) and no state sales tax.

07/25/2008 06:26:35 PM · #13
Originally posted by Strikeslip:

Terry, coincidentally, I was looking at Drobo just yesterday.

Over the network, does it allow you to create different shares with different permission levels for different users????


I can't directly answer this question as I didn't buy DroboShare (that lets you connect it directly to the network like a NAS device). But if you were to make your PC a server, then the Drobo would be just like any other hard drive connected to it, so you could set the same permissions as you normally would that way.

07/25/2008 06:31:07 PM · #14
Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

So to have a drive fail isn't perhaps unusual, but 3 in a year?


I think the Geek Gods are just testing me....... lol

Or maybe today's drives just don't have the same quality as they used to? I have no idea if it's just bad luck or something about the environment. I would try to blame the failures on power surges and the like, but all of my equipment is running off of a UPS so the power should be conditioned. So I really don't know.
07/25/2008 06:34:26 PM · #15
Originally posted by shanksware:

Just canceled our order from Drobo direct, as they've had it on backorder for over 2 weeks. I called them and they couldn't tell me when the units would actually dhip.


Yeah, I ordered mine on July 8th and it didn't arrive until the 24th. They said they were on back order. I figured since I placed my order on the day they were announced that having it arrive only 16 days later really wasn't that far off the mark. (try getting a brand new camera within 16 days of announcement)

Anyway... I did try to order it from Newegg (my preferred store), but on the 8th, they only had Drobo 1 for sale. So that's why I went direct to Data Robotics.

07/25/2008 06:34:52 PM · #16
Is it an APC brand ups or some cheaper brand? I have machines here that have been running non-stop for 5 years with constant disk access and not a single failure. In the last 16 years, I've had one disk fail, and that was an infamous Deskstar piece of crap. All of my gear is on a smartups 1500 from APC. Might be worth the investment if you don't already have one.

Message edited by author 2008-07-25 18:35:18.
07/25/2008 07:31:23 PM · #17
Does anybody know how the Drobo works with Apple's Time Machine backup program? I searched the forums at Apple.com but couldn't find anybody commenting on whether it works or not.
07/25/2008 07:42:20 PM · #18
Originally posted by strangeghost:

Does anybody know how the Drobo works with Apple's Time Machine backup program? I searched the forums at Apple.com but couldn't find anybody commenting on whether it works or not.


Data Robotics has their answer right off the home page: //www.drobo.com/Products/Time_Machine.html
07/25/2008 09:38:57 PM · #19
Originally posted by dwterry:


Data Robotics has their answer right off the home page: //www.drobo.com/Products/Time_Machine.html

Duh. I looked everywhere else and neglected to look at their own information. Thanks David. I'm giving this a hard look.

Message edited by author 2008-07-25 21:39:14.
07/25/2008 10:30:10 PM · #20
I just received one of these yesterday, so it will be getting hooked up to my PC this weekend. The main reason that I'll be using this solution is multiple back ups. Once a month of all my critcal stuff and then the drive goes into the fireproof safe. The Vantec drive dock was a cheaper solution for me. I'll be connecting it via e-sata with a transfer rate of 3gb/s

product link: //www.vantecusa.com/front/product/pro_list/70

Message edited by author 2008-07-25 22:31:50.
08/11/2008 11:43:36 AM · #21
I can finally report back on performance. I didn't want to say anything until I had 'real world experience' with the box because just saying it "feels faster" wouldn't mean much until crunch time hit.

For reference, in the past, I have had to do all of my Lightroom processing (for weddings and such) on my local drive and then copy the data out to my NAS because trying to run Lightroom against the images on the NAS was just excruciatingly slow.

This past weekend was my first full blown wedding since getting the Drobo. I copied everything directly to the Drobo instead of to the internal hard drive and I did *all* of my processing on the Drobo. So I can finally report back... I found the speed to on the Drobo to be "good enough for processing", but if I were in a big hurry, I would still prefer to process on my internal drive. The good news is that it was much faster than my NAS experience and I really didn't expect it to match my internal drive speed. But it was good enough that I'm willing to continue processing images this way and enjoy the benefit of "full time protection" against my data.


08/11/2008 12:00:08 PM · #22
Interesting news about working with LR and this device.

I opted for D-Link DNS 343 gigabit ethernet RAID 5 enclosure and four 1 TB WD Caviar drives, for 3 TB of storage. You attach it to an ethernet port on your wireless access point for wireless data storage from your workstation. So the device is in the basement with all the other network equipment and I don't have to look it. :P This will be for backup only. I use Vista wth OneCare, and I'll use its backup feature to schedule automated backups to this device.
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