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  #1  
Old 02-18-2009, 05:27 PM
HoboStew HoboStew is offline
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DO NOT BUY A DROBO - it does NOT protect your data!

Drobo bills itself as a DAS device that automatically protects your data in case of a drive failure. Last year, I purchased a first generation Drobo, and over time filled it with 4 Seagate drives, all purchased from the Drobo Store, 3 750 GB drives and 1 TB drive. Last month I was copying about 100 megs of data onto the drive, and the copy froze and the Drobo rebooted itself. After it came back on, the drive was corrupted and no longer accessible. I ran chkdsk, and it went through its procedure of cleaning up a lot of bad sectors. After it finished, the drive was now accessible, but only about 11 GB of data was there, when originally I had over 1.6 TB. The blue capacity lights still showed that it had all of my data, but I wasn't able to access any of it. I scratched my head, filled out a customer service ticket and went to bed. The next morning, I woke up, and the blue lights were gone. No data, no evidence of data, nothing. I went back and forth with customer service this past month. I sent diagnostics, screenshots of the drive lights, and event logs from my system tools. In the end, they were unable to determine what went wrong. As such, they decided the error was not with the Drobo and therefore I was on my own.

WTF?!?! THE WHOLE REASON I BOUGHT A FUCKING DROBO WAS TO FUCKING PROTECT MY DATA. After getting into it with several people on the drobo forum, their answer was basically "it's your fault for not backing up your drobo." The whole point of buying a drobo was to back up my data! If I had to run a separate backup utility, I never would have bought a drobo in the first place!!!!

Worthless product. Worse than worthless, dangerous. I had external drives for 7 years and never had a problem. I had a drobo for 1 and lost everything. PLEASE do not buy this product. Get a NAS or software raid solution, or just run redundant externals instead. I wish I had.

Last edited by HoboStew; 02-18-2009 at 05:28 PM.
  #2  
Old 02-18-2009, 05:45 PM
black rabbit black rabbit is offline
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Uh, RAID definitely is no substitute for backups. You're better off buying two external disks, backing up to one regularly (say, daily), and then backing up to the other one on a less frequent basis (say, weekly.)

Hell, I can't even tell from the Drobo page what RAID levels it uses internally. Caveat emptor, man.
  #3  
Old 02-18-2009, 05:46 PM
HoboStew HoboStew is offline
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See this is what I don't understand: If raid is no substitute for backups, WHAT GOOD IS IT? Why would I want a raid? If I am doing backups, then I can handle an external crashing, so what does the raid do?
  #4  
Old 02-18-2009, 05:48 PM
Vinyl Turnip Vinyl Turnip is online now
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I confess to ignorance on how this thing works---is it not fully redundant?

I assume it uses some combination of striping and mirroring... what generally happens to a striped/mirrored array when there's a disk failure? Did you have multiple disks fail?
  #5  
Old 02-18-2009, 05:56 PM
HoboStew HoboStew is offline
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I haven't actually found the exact mechanism they are using - they claim it is a proprietary algorithm. To be perfectly honest, I don't know exactly what happened. My only guess is that the 1 TB seagate failed in a weird way that the drobo wasn't equipped to handle. I know there is an issue with seagates and drobos (which is weird, because drobo sells them through their store, which is part of the reason I went with the drives), and the 1TB seagates in particular have had their own issues, but after a month of back and forth with drobo, nobody has any idea what exactly happened to kill the data.
  #6  
Old 02-18-2009, 05:57 PM
Superfluous Parentheses Superfluous Parentheses is offline
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Originally Posted by HoboStew View Post
See this is what I don't understand: If raid is no substitute for backups, WHAT GOOD IS IT? Why would I want a raid? If I am doing backups, then I can handle an external crashing, so what does the raid do?
RAID is good because (in most configurations) you can swap out a broken drive and restart the machine without any interruptions - and some setups allow hot-swap as well, so you don't even need to shut down your computer.

Also, it can increase read and/or write speeds and increase the total volume (make 4 drives act like one giant drive, which may be useful if you're using really gigantic files).

But as noted, RAID is NOT a substitute for backups. Not least because if you accidentally overwrite or delete a file that write action will be propagated over all drives immediately. Some RAID configurations might help against failure of a single drive, but god help you if you have another failure before the replacement drive is repopulated. Striped-only RAID configurations actually increase the risk to your data, and in any case adding drives will increase the risk of a drive breaking.

Backups should be made periodically and on a physically separate medium that is stored away from the source in a safe place. A simple external USB hard drive should do it. Maybe two if you have more than a TB of data.

Oh: and it's not a backup if it's the only place your data is stored. Backups are copies

Last edited by Superfluous Parentheses; 02-18-2009 at 05:59 PM.
  #7  
Old 02-18-2009, 05:58 PM
Cleophus Cleophus is offline
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Originally Posted by HoboStew View Post
See this is what I don't understand: If raid is no substitute for backups, WHAT GOOD IS IT? Why would I want a raid? If I am doing backups, then I can handle an external crashing, so what does the raid do?
RAID is for robustness and/or speed. It is not, in and of itself, a backup solution. Backups involve making independent copies of the data and storing them separately from the "live" data.
  #8  
Old 02-18-2009, 05:58 PM
minor7flat5 minor7flat5 is offline
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Sorry for your loss. Even with a full backup elsewhere I would be very upset if my Drobo suddenly stopped doing what it is supposed to do best. Those things cost hundreds of $$$$.

However, unless you have at least two complete copies of your data in two separate places, you don't have a backup.

Your Drobo is a very reliable external hard drive, but it isn't a backup.

What would have happened had your machine gotten a virus that simply erased the entire Drobo? Such a scenario wouldn't be the Drobo's fault, but you would be screwed just as bad.
  #9  
Old 02-18-2009, 06:06 PM
HoboStew HoboStew is offline
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See that's the thing, I can live with a virus. I can live with a fire or a flood. These are risks I was willing to accept. If a virus destroyed my data, well that's my fuckup for not getting virus protection software. I bought a Drobo SPECIFICALLY TO PREVENT HARDWARE FAILURE, and it died because of hardware failure. I guess I learned the hard way that its no substitute for a backup, but I still don't see the real point of running a drobo if I have to continually back things up as well.
  #10  
Old 02-18-2009, 06:23 PM
Dead Badger Dead Badger is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HoboStew View Post
See this is what I don't understand: If raid is no substitute for backups, WHAT GOOD IS IT? Why would I want a raid? If I am doing backups, then I can handle an external crashing, so what does the raid do?
Well, a well-configured RAID array will let you just swap out dead disks without doing a full restore, so it increases your availability and increases the mean time to failure of the array as a whole (because more disks have to simultaneously fail for it to become inaccessible). It's far from a panacea though, and shouldn't be considered to be bulletproof by any means - there are lots of factors that mean you don't achieve the theoretical maximum reliability improvement. It's not unreasonable to back up to a RAID array, but as a primary storage system I wouldn't treat it as too much more reliable than regular disks. This is particularly true if you've filled your array with consumer-grade drives.

I've started taking a more conservative attitude to what needs to be backed up; if you can pare down your backups to the order of tens of gigs or so, and have a whizzy internet connection, then online options like Amazon's S3 storage service become viable. If you use a front-end like Jungledisk, you can map your online backups as local drives, and can encrypt all your data for peace of mind. I've got about 8GB backing up nightly, and it's costing me less than a dollar a month in fees. For this I get very well-hosted, massively reliable storage, and best of all, I don't have to administer it.

You're never going to get your music/video collection on S3, obviously, but backing up that amount of data is always going to be a pain; probably investing in a Blu-Ray writer might be the best bet for that sort of archival.

Anyway, having just had my main development PC die this Monday (motherboard, though, no data loss), I can certainly sympathise. Hope you haven't lost anything irreplaceable...
  #11  
Old 02-18-2009, 06:45 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Originally Posted by HoboStew View Post
See that's the thing, I can live with a virus. I can live with a fire or a flood. These are risks I was willing to accept. If a virus destroyed my data, well that's my fuckup for not getting virus protection software. I bought a Drobo SPECIFICALLY TO PREVENT HARDWARE FAILURE, and it died because of hardware failure. I guess I learned the hard way that its no substitute for a backup, but I still don't see the real point of running a drobo if I have to continually back things up as well.
It's to keep data live and accessible in the case of failure. A hard drive can fail and you can still access your data without doing anything, just replace the bad drive when you get a chance. I had an iOmega terraserver, RAID5. It's completely fried now. Luckily, I backed up all the data on the RAID5 onto other disks. (Note to everyone: do not trust anything iOmega makes. I'm a complete idiot and have only myself to blame, as I've had two iOmega Zip drives experience the "click of death" and wipe out data on several Zip disks. I decided to give iOmega one last chance. Stupid me.)

After researching everything, the best solution for me was simple mirroring. The fewer levels of complexity, the better, I figure. If my DROBO fails, I don't know if I would even be able to read those disks without another Drobo. Is it a RAID5 array? Is it something else? I need something that I could easily plug into any computer to retrieve my data. If I have all 4 Drobo disks (or however many I have in the Drobo), can I get at that data easily without the Drobo itself? I doubt it. I keep one copy of data on an internal drive, one copy of data on an external drive that I usually keep unplugged, and a compressed version of some of my data on a server. I haven't had an internal drive fail yet, but I've had one external bite it in addition to the Terrserver. When that happens, I just run out, buy a new drive, copy the data over, and I'm good to go.

Last edited by pulykamell; 02-18-2009 at 06:48 PM.
  #12  
Old 02-18-2009, 06:57 PM
HoboStew HoboStew is offline
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Yup, that's the conclusion I came to as well, pulykamell. I just want to make sure no one makes the same mistake I did, because Drobo sure goes out of their way to imply that if you just buy it your data will be fine! Uh uh. It is a $500 paper weight.
  #13  
Old 02-18-2009, 06:59 PM
Vinyl Turnip Vinyl Turnip is online now
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I do sympathize, HoboStew. If I lost over a terabyte of porn, it would take me days to build it back up.
  #14  
Old 02-18-2009, 07:09 PM
Bambro Bambro is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HoboStew View Post
See this is what I don't understand: If raid is no substitute for backups, WHAT GOOD IS IT? Why would I want a raid? If I am doing backups, then I can handle an external crashing, so what does the raid do?
As others have said RAID is for redundancy and speed. There are several levels of RAID.

As an example, the 3 most popular levels are:

RAID 0 - Striping

All data is striped across all disks in predetermined bit lengths. This provides speed. Any hard drive can only handle a certain number of I/O requests. Once this I/O limit is reached then that become your bottleneck. Striping across 2 or more drives in equal amounts per drive give you more available I/O (assuming your controller can accommodate the needed I/O requests)

RAID 1 - Mirroring

Everything written to disk A gets written to disk B. This is nice if you suffer a physical hard drive failure, then you can revert to the mirror. There may be minor config changes needed to get the second disk in the mirror to be functional, but on modern RAID controllers there may not be any config needed.

RAID 5 - Striping with parity

Similar to RAID 0 except 1 drive is used for parity. The parity bit is spread across all drives in the array in a sequential fashion. This RAID config allows for acceptable speed most times, due to the striping...but also allows for a single disk failure due to the parity.

You also have mixtures of RAID levels, such as RAID 0+1, as an example. Each RAID level has it's advantages. Your particular needs, be it speed or redundancy, is what dictates which RAID level you go with.
  #15  
Old 02-18-2009, 07:23 PM
HoboStew HoboStew is offline
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Originally Posted by Vinyl Turnip View Post
I do sympathize, HoboStew. If I lost over a terabyte of porn, it would take me days to build it back up.
The hard part is building it back up with one hand.
  #16  
Old 02-18-2009, 07:44 PM
GuanoLad GuanoLad is online now
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I have never, ever, ever had a good experience with RAID. Big stupid waste of effort.
  #17  
Old 02-18-2009, 07:57 PM
NurseCarmen NurseCarmen is offline
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You should back up to tape. Having things backup to live media make it hard to get rid of viruses. Better to have static.
  #18  
Old 02-18-2009, 09:16 PM
black rabbit black rabbit is offline
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What everybody else said.

Raid 1, 5, 10, and 6 will protect you in the event of the hard failure of one (or possibly more, depending) physical disks, which is actually fairly uncommon given the usage patterns of the typical pro-sumer machine and the MTBF of modern disks.

For a typical workstation user, physical disk failure is far less likely than either:

a) Filesystem corruption, or
b) Accidental file deletion

RAID won't help you in either of those situations, since, by definition, it automatically replicates any sector-level changes to all disks in the array (and/or the parity blocks, etc).

If your main objective is data preservation, nothing beats an LTO4 tape drive or some kind of remote point-in-time recovery system. However, both of those options are hellishly expensive for home users.

So do what I do with my laptop: One external disk for daily backups. A second external disk for weekly backups that I otherwise keep in a drawer in my office. At most, I'll only lose a week's worth of work. Which would suck, but it's a hell of a lot better than losing everything.
  #19  
Old 02-18-2009, 09:18 PM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
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Very clever young man, but it's Drobos all the way down.
  #20  
Old 02-18-2009, 09:57 PM
The Tao's Revenge The Tao's Revenge is offline
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I keep my data guarded an secure with this guy.
  #21  
Old 02-19-2009, 12:26 PM
Vinyl Turnip Vinyl Turnip is online now
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I have never, ever, ever had a good experience with RAID. Big stupid waste of effort.
Is this you?
  #22  
Old 02-19-2009, 12:33 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Is this you?
I get "Forbidden" when clicking on that link.
  #23  
Old 02-19-2009, 01:08 PM
Bambro Bambro is offline
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I get "Forbidden" when clicking on that link.
Just looking at the URL, I'll bet it is a picture of the cartoon bugs from the Raid bug killer commercials. But I may be wrong. That's just a swag.

BTW...I got Forbidden error also.
  #24  
Old 02-19-2009, 02:20 PM
Vinyl Turnip Vinyl Turnip is online now
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No, really, you have my permission. Click away!

Odd, it works fine for me and a remote friend... maybe it doesn't like the link from SDMB for some reason. Here's the site page I got it from:

http://www.tvacres.com/adanimals_raidbugs.htm
  #25  
Old 02-19-2009, 02:40 PM
Loach Loach is offline
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Curtis Lowe was the finestpicker to ever play the blues. What was good enough for Curt is good enough for me.
  #26  
Old 02-19-2009, 02:50 PM
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Every time I see this thread I think it's about resonator guitars.
  #27  
Old 02-19-2009, 03:00 PM
HoboStew HoboStew is offline
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Ah the dobro. Cute. Hope it isn't a pos like this thing was
  #28  
Old 02-19-2009, 03:19 PM
The Tao's Revenge The Tao's Revenge is offline
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Originally Posted by Bambro View Post
Just looking at the URL, I'll bet it is a picture of the cartoon bugs from the Raid bug killer commercials. But I may be wrong. That's just a swag.

BTW...I got Forbidden error also.

It's an antileech script. It checks your browser's refer page to see if it's on the website. Open the image up then go to your address bar and hit enter.

It'll load. This time around your browser will send the image's url as the refer url, which is on site, and bam it loads it.
  #29  
Old 02-19-2009, 04:25 PM
scout1222 scout1222 is offline
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Every time I see this thread I think it's about resonator guitars.
That's what I really want it to be about.
  #30  
Old 02-19-2009, 06:44 PM
HoboStew HoboStew is offline
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Man even their support forums are run by morons. If you ever get frustrated by the dope's forums, just go somewhere else for a day or so. This place is like shangri la compared to that place.
  #31  
Old 02-20-2009, 06:44 PM
kushiel kushiel is offline
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Originally Posted by Superfluous Parentheses View Post

But as noted, RAID is NOT a substitute for backups. Not least because if you accidentally overwrite or delete a file that write action will be propagated over all drives immediately. Some RAID configurations might help against failure of a single drive, but god help you if you have another failure before the replacement drive is repopulated. Striped-only RAID configurations actually increase the risk to your data, and in any case adding drives will increase the risk of a drive breaking.
Ha ha ha, that happened to a local hosting company here. One of the drives in the RAID died, and while they were swapping it out, the other one died. Their backups were months out of date for some clients. However, that proved fortuitous for other companies in the area.
  #32  
Old 02-21-2009, 07:07 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Tao's Revenge View Post
It's an antileech script. It checks your browser's refer page to see if it's on the website. Open the image up then go to your address bar and hit enter.

It'll load. This time around your browser will send the image's url as the refer url, which is on site, and bam it loads it.
Weird. I swear I tried doing that before and it didn't work, but it worked this time 'round.
  #33  
Old 02-24-2009, 04:04 PM
HoboStew HoboStew is offline
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UPDATE:

I sent a letter to the CEO of Data Robotics, Geoff Barrall, detailing my troubles, and he just got back to me today apologizing for the whole affair. He forwarded my info to their head of operations who just called me telling me I will be getting a full refund. Obviously I would have preferred not losing my data, but this makes the pill a little easier to swallow. Kudos to Geoff for doing the right thing for his customer.
  #34  
Old 04-11-2011, 01:57 PM
thepustule thepustule is offline
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Hey HoboStew,

The Drobo is pretty good at protecting data from the MOST COMMON types of failures. Those include hard drive data loss. By the numbers, the most common failure of disk storage is a mechanical failure in the spinning disk and head assembly, which causes the data on the one disk to be lost. Drobo is good at this. And it is good at providing storage for a LOT of data - more than will fit on a single disk.

BUT there are a LOT of other possibilities as well. These include failures in the hard drive controller card, failures in the drobo itself - electrical spikes or brownouts that cause damage to the electronics of either the drobo or the drive(s) or both. The drobo cannot protect from all of this kid of stuff. It may be possible that you were unlucky enough to hit on one of those less common problems.

Bottom line - you can purchase drobo, QNAP, ReadyNAS, Synology, Thecus, Buffalo, Sans Digital, or any other redundancy solution, including the very expensive enterprise ones from EqualLogic, NetApp, EMC, IBM, whatever, to protect your data. But no matter how careful you are or how good the solution is that you buy, there's ALWAYS a chance of something going wrong. That's why the inescapable rule of storing data is this: NEVER EVER EVER KEEP YOUR IMPORTANT DATA IN ONLY ONE PLACE. You broke that rule. You paid the price. Sorry - hate to be blunt and unsupportive, but that's what happens.

It was nice of Geoff to apologize and refund your money, but that seems quite a bit beyond the call for him. Face it. Things break sometimes.
  #35  
Old 04-11-2011, 02:11 PM
Nadir Nadir is offline
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It's Good for the Intended Purpose

Quote:
Originally Posted by HoboStew View Post
SIf raid is no substitute for backups, WHAT GOOD IS IT?
Primarily for the purpose of high(er) availability, and in some specific applications where R/W speed for large file sets is more critical like video editing, for example, depending of course on the raid level we're talking about, as was mentioned.

Look like you bought the wrong thing for your intended purpose.
  #36  
Old 04-11-2011, 02:36 PM
Hal Briston Hal Briston is offline
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Originally Posted by garygnu View Post
Every time I see this thread I think it's about resonator guitars.
Same here. And my first dog, named after said instrument.
  #37  
Old 04-11-2011, 04:52 PM
kaylasdad99 kaylasdad99 is offline
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Originally Posted by garygnu View Post
Every time I see this thread I think it's about resonator guitars.
And I bet you thought you'd seen it for the last time!

Oh, well. What say we make some lemonade out of this lemon? OP, do you mind if people start using this thread to talk about Dobros, the resonator guitars invented by the Dopyera brothers, and now a trademarked name belonging to the Gibson guitar company?

Maybe we can get this zombie shambled over to Cafe Society.
  #38  
Old 04-11-2011, 04:54 PM
Smeghead Smeghead is offline
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Gah. I swear I've bumped into like four new zombie threads today. I even reported one or two, but nothing's been done. Don't people have better things to do in the springtime?

Real people, I mean. Not me. I'm a grad student.
  #39  
Old 04-11-2011, 05:05 PM
bucketybuck bucketybuck is online now
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Its not the zombies that worry me.

Its the fact that I have absolutely no idea what any of you are talking about. Seriously, Frodo carried out a RAID and got your back up? Wut?
  #40  
Old 04-11-2011, 07:38 PM
Autolycus Autolycus is offline
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Frodo carried out a RAID and got your back up? Wut?
You know... One drive to rule them all, and in the dark archive them.
  #41  
Old 04-12-2011, 08:51 AM
Nadir Nadir is offline
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Don't Worry..

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Originally Posted by bucketybuck View Post
Its not the zombies that worry me.

Its the fact that I have absolutely no idea what any of you are talking about.
Neither do they - they're just making it up because they have nothing better to do than bitch about zombie threads.
  #42  
Old 12-16-2011, 05:14 PM
chillypalmer chillypalmer is offline
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Hi and wonder if anyone can help

I have the Drobo FS 5 bay with 5 off 2 TB Samsung F4 hard drives about one year old and last month one HDD shows it is faulty via the red light i have sent the 2TB drive back to Scan and was charged 20 as no fault found.

Scan has sent it back and I have replaced it today and drobo is telling me it is faulty so short of ordering another 2 TB HDD to try out is there any thing i can do?

Many thanks
  #43  
Old 12-16-2011, 05:28 PM
Euphonious Polemic Euphonious Polemic is offline
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It's double zombies! All across the sky!

Actually chillypalmer, the particular forum where this particular old thread is? It's a forum for complaining and bitching, not usually a forum for getting reasonable replies. You should probably start a brand new thread in "General Questions".

That's where the smart people hang out. Mainly smart-asses in here.

Last edited by Euphonious Polemic; 12-16-2011 at 05:29 PM. Reason: spellig
  #44  
Old 12-16-2011, 05:34 PM
Sitnam Sitnam is offline
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Even with the snark The Pit is probably as useful as most of the tech message boards I've endured.
  #45  
Old 12-17-2011, 09:59 AM
StephenG StephenG is offline
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I feel bad about replying to a zombie thread, but since I'm hardly the first...

Quote:
Originally Posted by chillypalmer View Post
Hi and wonder if anyone can help

I have the Drobo FS 5 bay with 5 off 2 TB Samsung F4 hard drives about one year old and last month one HDD shows it is faulty via the red light i have sent the 2TB drive back to Scan and was charged 20 as no fault found.

Scan has sent it back and I have replaced it today and drobo is telling me it is faulty so short of ordering another 2 TB HDD to try out is there any thing i can do?

Many thanks
chillypalmer, I know nothing about Drobos, but I've put in my time in tech support, so I'll take a stab at this.

If the drive has been shown to be good, but your Drobo is reporting it as bad, it sounds like the new question is "What's wrong with the Drobo itself?" That is, why does the bay think a good drive is bad? Could it be a connection problem, or an error on the controller car? Does the manual / product documentation / site / support forums say anything about that?
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