OT: Drobo storage

Woodenmike wrote on 1/9/2012, 5:27 PM
Do any of you Vegas users have experience with the Drobo storage units? Does Vegas recognize it as one big drive and find previous project files on it? With a gigabit connection, can you work directly from it, or do you need to transfer your files to an "in work" hard drive? I'm looking at the DroboPro and getting 8 2TB drives for it.


monoparadox wrote on 1/9/2012, 7:49 PM
You might also check out synology products. Lots of positives on newegg.
jrazz wrote on 1/9/2012, 9:41 PM
I use synology on a gigabit network. I have never tried to run a project from it. I use it to store finished projects and related media to keep my internal drives with plenty of free space. The transfer rates are great due to the speed of the network, but again, I have never tried to work directly from the drive.

I have been very impressed with Synology and their software.

j razz
Woodenmike wrote on 1/9/2012, 10:00 PM
I'm finding the synology website a little frustrating as you have to know what model number you're looking for to get any information, or keep clicking on every model they make to get any idea what you need. I know photographers that use the Drobo's and like them because they can mix and match hard drives, redundancy to the point of retaining your data if even 2 drives fail simultaneously, and the ability to keep adding larger drives to the system as you need more storage. They claim fast enough transfer rates with the NAS to edit video, but I would like to hear from someone who actually uses one of these.
Steve Mann wrote on 1/9/2012, 10:48 PM
I would only use them for backup - not for the editing drive.

The engadget review http://www.engadget.com/2007/06/05/drobo-review/ confirms that the sustained data rate is only 12-15 Mbps, and you want 25Mbps for video editing.

They also said that it took seven hours to rebuild a "failed" disk. Pretty typical of RAID arrays.
John_Cline wrote on 1/9/2012, 11:15 PM
DV and HDV are 25 megaBITS per second, AVCHD is up to about 28 megaBITS per second. This translates to less that 4 megaBYTES per second.

USB 2.0 has a real-world transfer rate of up to around 30 megabytes per second and the USB 2.0 version of the Drobo can sustain around 12-15 megaBYTES per second. Fast enough to play and edit video, but certainly not a screamer considering a single eSATA drive can sustain close to 100 megaBYTES per second. The USB 2.0 Drobo would be incredibly slow when transferring huge video files over USB at 12-15 megabytes/sec. However, Drobo NAS boxes can also be had in USB 3.0, IEEE 1394b (Firewire 800), eSATA and Gigabit Ethernet versions, all of which are much faster than USB 2.0. The cheapest Drobo at $299 supports USB 2.0 and Firewire 800.

I know two people that have purchased them a year ago or so and both experienced hardware failures with data loss. Maybe Drobo has improved their reliability since then, I don't know.
Woodenmike wrote on 1/9/2012, 11:55 PM
Thanks for the input...the one i'm looking at is the 8 drive DroboPro with Gigabit ethernet interface. I'm interested primarily in archiving material that i need to access for end of year reviews, student arts supplements, and finished projects for future DVD production. This is all spread out over several hard drives right now accessed through 2 E-Sata docks, but a pain when I'm dealing with multiple years worth of clips that need to be located quickly. I'm sorry to hear about hardware failures with the Drobo units...my worst nightmare with a raid (too many eggs in one basket) The rebuilding time would be inconvenient but at least the data would be intact which is the point. I'll look a little more closely at the other unit that was suggested to see what their reliability is. Not sure of what other mass storage solutions there are...any ideas?
John_Cline wrote on 1/10/2012, 1:51 AM
In all fairness, the two units that my friends had that failed were the original, first-generation Drobo boxes. One would assume that they worked this out by now.
farss wrote on 1/10/2012, 3:39 AM
I too have read many less than favourable reviews from the people whose bread and butter is enterprise data storage that also have an insight into the complexities of all the flavours of RAID and how to actually make it reliable rather than appear reliable.
I've had a Thecus 5200 running for a few years now with zero issue although it's only got 5x 500GB Samsung drives in it in RAID 5. The NAS boxes from QNAP are considered very good, reliable and fast.

The amount of time it takes to rebuild a RAID is not just a matter of convenience. Unless you really know what your RAID is about then during the rebuild a single error can cause you to loose everything, be afraid, be really afraid. One of the issues with the striping stratergy that Drobo use means it works reasonably well with a large number of small files but not so well with a small number of large files.

Ros wrote on 1/10/2012, 7:43 AM
I have been using 2 of these (Rosewill RSV-S4-X) for about 2 years and at a rate of 4 days per week with no issues: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816132029

I manually backup to seperate external drives first and then copy my HD footage onto the esata drive bay which are my main work units. Once editing done, I unplug and put away in safe storage. I haven't used them as raid.

They also have 6 and 8 bay units which weren't available when I first purchased mine. They are really affordable.

kairosmatt wrote on 1/10/2012, 8:20 AM
I got a Drobo as I had only read positive things about them and I haven't experienced any problems.

You can edit off them, but not Best(Full) AVCHD. Copying FROM them is surprisingly fast, even when the drives are full. Copying TO them is slow.

I updated one 2TB drive to a 3 TB drive because it was full and it took 3 (THREE!) days to do the data transfer!

Chienworks wrote on 1/10/2012, 9:56 AM
Yep. That's typical.

One thing to keep in mind is that a Drobo unit is *NOT* a swappable external drive bay. I know there have been some questions in the past about using it as a convenient place to be able to plug in a variety of drives with different projects on them. But, as kairosmatt points out, putting a new drive in causes the Drobo to duplicate what's on the remaining drives onto the new one. Probably the only way to make it a swappable station would be to remove all the drives at once and replace all of them with other drives.

Which kinda makes me wonder why they build the thing to look like a drive swap unit. Since changing drives will be a very rare occurrence it seems like they should be inside the case under a cover, rather than hanging out in the open, tempting users to ... well ... swap them.
Woodenmike wrote on 1/10/2012, 11:43 AM
Good point. I will look into the other units you folks have suggested a little further and check reliability reviews. I would probably build the unit up by copying from the drives I already have populated, organizing the files by year as I go, and keeping the current drives as a longer term back up as protection against a catastrophic hardware failure. It is really good to have feedback from those who use this type of technology...I really have a hard time wrapping my head around raids and how they work and really appreciate the input...thanks!
TheDingo wrote on 1/10/2012, 12:44 PM
I highly recommend the OWC Mercury Elite Pro Qx2 external RAID box that can be configured many different ways. It's all aluminum and quiet as a mouse, and starts at $280 without drives. ( drives are easy to install and configure )

I've been using one for the past 2 years with zero problems.

TeetimeNC wrote on 1/10/2012, 8:23 PM
Some good suggestions here. I took a different route that is working well for my needs. I built a lightweight i5-based server and with 8TB of drives. I run Windows Home Server 2011 on it. It and my video PC are connected via gigabit to the network. I archive projects to the server. If I need to do a quick render of an old project, I DO render it directly from one of the server's removable archive drives. I wouldn't do this a matter of routine but it works fine for the occasional render.

I also use WHS to backup the three other PCs on my network each night, to host general shared files, to serve up my rendered videos to a dlna blu-ray player, and to serve music to a squeezebox (squeezebox server software runs on the server).

The server (less drives, but including WHS software) was a little less than $500 and that included a Supermicro server-class motherboard. It runs headless, and is cool and quite. So far I'm happy with the way this is working for me.

EDIT: I said i5 but should have said i3 cpu.