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Author Topic: Thunderbay vs Drobo  (Read 2216 times)

mdijb

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Thunderbay vs Drobo
« on: March 15, 2017, 02:29:41 PM »

I am in need of an External Enclosure and considering the OWC  Thunderbay 4  and the Drobo 5D or 5dt.

It appears the Thunderbay has faster transfer rates, but hte Drobo has other advantages.

What is the experience of members using these two devices? 

MDIJB
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mdijb

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Re: Thunderbay vs Drobo
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2017, 03:25:41 PM »

the Drive enclosure will be attached to a new IMAC.

MDIJB
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hogloff

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Re: Thunderbay vs Drobo
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2017, 05:34:24 PM »

I've been using Drobo for the last 5 years without any issues. No inclination to switch.
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mdijb

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Re: Thunderbay vs Drobo
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2017, 07:16:48 PM »

?Are you using the Drobo to just archive images, or Keeping them there and then processing in LR?  That's where the transferring back and forth speed becomes important.  If you are doing the latter, how is the speed--any hangups?

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dseelig

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Re: Thunderbay vs Drobo
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2017, 03:30:22 AM »

I had drobos for a few years they failed on me fortunely just used for back up . Scott Kelby famously gave up on Drobo after he had one too many problems with them I have the thunderbay to hose my hardrives and a Pegasus R6 for backups.
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rdonson

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Re: Thunderbay vs Drobo
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2017, 09:18:58 AM »

I had some issues with my old Drobo Gen 2 4 bay units.  The problem was with Apple Time Machine.  Drobo support at that time sucked.  Drobo pointed the finger at Apple for the problem and Apple pointed the finger at Drobo.  I resolved things by stopping use of Time Machine writing to the Drobo.  I haven't had an issue since other than the expected occasional drive failures which are easy to deal with.

For my wife's new 27" iMac I got her a Drobo 5Dt.  All her photos and work are stored on the Drobo.  It performs very well with Lightroom and Photoshop. 

I recommended a Drobo 5Dt to a friend of mine for his new 27" iMac and he'd delighted with the performance.  He was able to move the drives from his Drobo Gen 2 4 bay into the new 5Dt without a problem or any loss of data. 

These are just my experiences with Drobos.  I'm sure the Thunderbay is a fine piece of hardware as well.

The weak point in my mind for redundant arrays is hardware failure of the unit.  For example, if the Drobo itself dies it's not clear to me how that affects the drives and if they can be put into a new Drobo.  I used to have a NAS with 9 -10K RPM SCSI drives and it was a bear to maintain.  I felt like I spent far more time maintaining the NAS than I should have.  That's when the Drobos started looking good to me.  Luckily I think the tech for redundant arrays has improved tremendously over the last 5-7 years. 
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Ron

lhodaniel

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Re: Thunderbay vs Drobo
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2017, 12:04:58 PM »

I just bought my first Drobo, a 5Dt. I'm using it right now as primary storage. It's much faster loading LR and C1P than the previous external HD, even though the catalog files have always resided on the rMBP internal SSD. And, right now I'm using drives I had lying around some of which are 5 years old. I like not having to match drives as with most RAID 5 systems.

This purchase was brought about by what i thought was a failed 3TB drive. Disk Utility wouldn't even find it. It turns out that Time Machine had filled that drive to 0kb free. I removed the drive from its case, and placed it in a USB dock. This renamed the volume and I was able to format it. It's now running inside the Drobo. This is the second headache I've had with Time Machine.

Your point about the weak point being Drobo failure is well taken. Even though I have advanced replacement with DroboCare, I am now backing up to 2 rotating 4tb externals using Carbon Copy Cloner. The Drobo data volume is backing up hourly, with SafetyNet on. This way, I can read the backups directly without needing to restore from software. I can even boot from these drives as well.

I had some issues registering and activating my DroboCare. Drobo support handled it and have sent me 2 emails since to make sure everything is good. They seem to be pretty proactive these days.

Lloyd
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rdonson

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Re: Thunderbay vs Drobo
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2017, 04:32:57 PM »

Lloyd, I backup my Drobo Gen 2 to another Gen2 and all photos are also backed up to yet another external drive. 

I'm about to purchase BackBlaze as the space my photos take up will likely exceed what I want to put on a single external drive by the end of this year. 

I too use CCC and hold it in high regard.  Backblaze seems like a great final piece of insurance.
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Ron

lhodaniel

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Re: Thunderbay vs Drobo
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2017, 04:22:23 PM »

Ron,

Yes, I use Crashplan as well as the locals. But, I am thinking of switching to Backblaze when my subscription is up. (Actually, a bit sooner so that Backblaze can develop some history before Crashplan goes poof.) BB offers the ability to restore quickly by shipping a HD to you. I don't think CP offers that. I think I read that BB only retains versions for 30 days. Is this correct? That would not be good for me, as it could take me longer than that to find a problem.

Lloyd
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Farmer

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Re: Thunderbay vs Drobo
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2017, 05:57:35 PM »

CP does up to 1TB HDD in or out.
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Joe Towner

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Re: Thunderbay vs Drobo
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2017, 01:03:30 AM »

So the Thunderbay is different from the Drobo.  The Thunderbay is a direct Thunderbolt to SATA enclosure.  The Drobo abstracts the underlying disks and allows you to do thin provisioning and volumes across disks without having to consider the underlying drives.  To recover a Drobo, you need another Drobo.  To recover a Thunderbay, you just need enough usb3 to sata adapters. 
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mdijb

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Re: Thunderbay vs Drobo
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2017, 11:04:48 PM »

Thanks for the input above.  I decided to with the Drobo 5DT--got a good deal from BHPHOTO.  The flexibility of upscaling was the decision maker.  I will put some of the current internal drives on My old mac pro into the Drobo Gen 2 which I already have and use that as a second backup..I do not wnat to loose any more data or deal with a very difficult restore.  Also, I ahve Carbon copy cloner and now understand better how to use its capabilities to obtain automatic backups on a regular basis.  In addition, I am checking out a cloud based backup as well.

Thank You

MDIJB
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douglevy

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Re: Thunderbay vs Drobo
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2017, 06:32:52 PM »

Don't buy a Drobo. Return your Drobo. They were once a great option, the best for the price. But that was 2008. The proprietary file structure means your data is at risk if you have a drive failure (you can't put the drives in another drobo box like you can with a Thunderbay or Synology) and if you have file system corruption, the data could be there but you may be unable to access it (like a house without a key), and rebuilding it could cause a loss of data (had that happen, lost 10% of my data). I now have a Synology NAS system and it's much more secure, has better features (like a hot spare drive, app and remote access) and is upgradable/daisy chainable if I fill it up.

Drobo is a good idea, but the proprietary software is why it's a hard pass.

rdonson

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Re: Thunderbay vs Drobo
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2017, 07:59:52 PM »

Hi Doug, I'm not sure I quite grasp your points on the Drobo.

- if a drive fails you simply replace it with a new drive in the Drobo - it takes time but it will rebuild the array

You're correct that if the Drobo hardware itself dies the drives can only be migrated to another Drobo.  In my mind the thin provisioning is worth that. 

Anyone with any redundant array should know that it alone is not a substitute for also having another layer of backup.  That could be another drive, another redundant array or cloud backup.
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BobShaw

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Re: Thunderbay vs Drobo
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2017, 12:43:38 AM »

- if a drive fails you simply replace it with a new drive in the Drobo - it takes time but it will rebuild the array

You're correct that if the Drobo hardware itself dies the drives can only be migrated to another Drobo.  In my mind the thin provisioning is worth that. 

Anyone with any redundant array should know that it alone is not a substitute for also having another layer of backup.  That could be another drive, another redundant array or cloud backup.
I agree with Ron. Drobo is no different to any other RAID array in the regard to only being able to use disks in the same hardware. However in practice you would not even do this. You just restore from a backup to a clean and reformatted array.

I have used Drobo for many years now. There have been problems but on each occasion rebuilding from a Timemachine backup has fixed it. The point is that it along with any other storage system it is just that, a storage system. It provides no backup. That requires a separate backup system.

I haven't used Thunderbay but it is probably an excellent system also.

Whatever hardware you use, have it attached through. You can attach to a server. I use NAS as a backup of last resort only. NAS is Not A Server.
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Joe Towner

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Re: Thunderbay vs Drobo
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2017, 01:10:40 PM »

Part of the reason for being hesitant with a new Drobo purchase, is the company has had some fairly significant issues in the last few years.  The window between 2012 and 2016, where the company was pretty much silent, but went thru a spin off, merger and acquisition.  Nothing against them personally, but there is no end to horror stories with the old products. 

Evidently the current leadership at Drobo is taking huge steps to right previous wrongs.
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rdonson

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Re: Thunderbay vs Drobo
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2017, 08:24:35 PM »

Evidently the current leadership at Drobo is taking huge steps to right previous wrongs.

I sure hope so, Joe.  There is some good tech and intellectual property there if managed properly.  Then again, how many times do we look into the corporate background or history of any of the array suppliers.

I once had an IBM commercial grade NAS at home and it was a clunker despite being from a Fortune 100 company. 

Here's the info on Drobo that I could dig up.

http://www.drobo.com/news/press-releases/drobo-acquired-by-investment-group-comprised-of-seasoned-tech-executives/   
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Ron

BobShaw

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Re: Thunderbay vs Drobo
« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2017, 05:40:20 AM »

I once had an IBM commercial grade NAS at home and it was a clunker despite being from a Fortune 100 company.
IBM is a dinosaur. There used to be a saying that nobody gets sacked for using IBM. Now the opposite is true.
Google "Queensland Health IBM", "Australian census IBM", "Canada payroll IBM"
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rdonson

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Re: Thunderbay vs Drobo
« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2017, 10:52:47 AM »

I'm quite familiar with IBM.

IBM has rejiggered itself and is now a purveyor of AI, Cloud Computing and Blockchain.

They still have commanding income from mainframes because large companies can't afford to rewrite all their COBOL applications.  In fact, some companies are now training programmers in COBOL before the world loses the skills completely.
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Ron

David Eichler

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Re: Thunderbay vs Drobo
« Reply #19 on: April 23, 2017, 09:06:13 PM »

Drobo is no different to any other RAID array in the regard to only being able to use disks in the same hardware.

You are referring to hardware RAID. There are also software RAID solutions that are not dependent upon hardware.
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