Drobo and DroboShare experiences

Simon Wistow simon at thegestalt.org
Mon Dec 8 21:27:40 GMT 2008

I have a Drobo which is kind of like a RAID array for dummies and I love 
it. Experience tells me that attempting to replicate the functionality 
using a 'cheap' Linux box or similar would result in considerable 
faffage, compromises, despite the Drobo's not insignificant cost, would 
probably cost me more money.

The kicker for me with the Drobo is to be able to painlessly add and 
remove drives of all different sizes, brands and colours even whilst 
it's in the middle of backing up something else. 

As one review said "It's got to be a pretty bad month for me to not be 
able to afford a new 500Gb drive" - currently I have mine full of 4 
500Gb drives for 1.5Tb of usable space (500Gb drives being approximately 
$50 here) and, if and when that starts filling up I'll start replacing 
them one by one with 1Tb drives. When *they* start filling up then 2Tb 
drives will be the price of the 1Tb drives today and the cycle can begin 

Hakuna matata.

Currently I have my Drobo connected to an NSLU2 - the cheapo Linux 
running NAS device from Linksys. It is good and works fine and with 
practically no fuss and I can stream data off it just fine but, 
especially if its been idle for a while, initially navigating into 
directory is sluggish to say the least. Anecdotal evidence on the 
intawebs seems to suggest that such behaviour is common and was 
introduced in the r63 firmware (or, at least, after r29) but downgrading 
is not an option since, for maximum compatability I format my drive as 
FAT32 which only came after r29.

So, keeping in the spirit of "I'd rather pay money than spend my life 
dealing with crap that should Just Work[tm]" I'm looking for experiences 
on the DroboShare if anyone has them. The DroboShare is Drobo's own NAS 
device and, at $200, it's not cheap. If it suffers from the same problem 
(i.e, it's just a limitation of the SMB protocol or similar) then 
there's no point me upgrading since my current set up works and is not 
unusable by any stretch of the imagination.

Other experiences with NAS devices is also welcome however, for the 

* OSX can't seem to share a FAT32 USB drive for reasons which I can only 
  presume are spite. It's possible that the latest version of the OS 
  fixes this but this would require me to go buy that and then faff 
  about installing it on the Mc Mini that lurks behind the sofa.

* I've tried plugging it into an Airport Extreme. Despite having the 
  latest firmware it threw up its tiny hands towards the sky and then 
  carked it with nothing but a useless blinking amber light for 

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