Drobo reality check…

On June 19, 2008, in Technology, by Administrator

There is a lot of buzz over the past several months about the Drobo data robotics storage device including coverage on Tekzilla, TWIT (with an eventual TWIT sponsorship), and hundreds of other sites and podcasts.  Given the extensive coverage, I thought I would share my experience with this device, which has not always been positive.

Drobo lies

My Drobo lies to me.  For months it has been checking autoupdate and telling me it has the current software and firmware, when in reality I am several versions behind on both.  Knowing that there was new firmware, my attempts to force it to update all resulted in the same message that I was up to date.

After several emails with tech support (telling me to reboot, etc) and still no luck, I determined that the Drobo software checker was not making it to the Drobo site.  Given my firewall allows everything out, I don’t see how that could be, but when connecting directly to the Internet, I was able to download the new versions and update.  First big issue here is that Drobo reports an inability to connect as if there were no new firmware to download.  If it can’t connect it should alert the user so they are aware of the problem.

Drobo versus DroboShare

With both a Drobo via USB connected to my computer and a DroboShare on my ethernet network, I’ve had problems with Drobo dashboard not recognizing the USB device which is directly connected.  The drive shows up in Mac Finder, but it is not seen by Drobo dashboard (needed for drive maintenance). The only drive that shows up in Dashboard is the DroboShare drive on the network.  Not good and no apparent way to deconflict except take the network device down.

Drobo with a pause and a skip

Before I upgraded my firmware, my Drobo via USB worked like a charm.  I used it to store my iTunes library and never had a single playback issue.  Since upgrading the firmware it is pause city.  This is very frustrating for me as the sole purpose of this Drobo device is to store media files. I hope this issue is addressed in a future firmware update, but taking a step backwards with the current update is no enjoyable.

Overall, I think this device has a lot potential but is clear they have some issues to work through which you may want to consider before purchasing one.


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