Drobo-FS Review, part 2 (abbreviated)

September 30, 2010 at 8:17 pm Leave a comment

Here’s the low down.  I’m not ready to do a bunch of tests with AFP and CIFS, and give you the read and write performance of the Drobo-FS.  After all, I’m not Anand (but I’m a fan of his).  I’ve been pretty busy lately, but I know some readers have been waiting on this sort of info, as I was before I ordered my Drobo-FS.  I did a quick AFP test tonight so I’ll post my results for those interested:

I just copied a 4.7 GB file off of my Drobo-FS in 2:15 (135 seconds) using AFP.  That’s about 34.8 MB/sec (278 Mbit/sec).  These numbers are the result of a single file copy, not repeated tests, but that speed seems in-line with what I remember from the preliminary tests I did soon after getting the Drobo-FS.  That’s significantly slower than the approximate 45 MB/sec I got copying to/from the ReadyNAS Pro with AFP, and a heck of a lot slower than the 70-80 MB/sec the ReadyNAS Pro can handle on CIFS.

Ok – That’s it for the review part – The rest below is mostly ramblings on the economics of RAID solutions.

So, is it fast enough?  It depends on what you are doing.  For most home users?  Considering the cost of a ReadyNAS Pro vs. a Drobo-FS, and the fact that most people simply need storage for videos, photos, and backups, I’d say the Drobo-FS is probably plenty fast enough.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like my ReadyNAS Pro, but it’s expensive storage.  You need to use certain drives, which are never the ones you see with “fire sale” prices.  In fact, the drives you should use in a ReadyNAS Pro should all be the same model and same capacity, and are pretty much Enterprise drives.  Since they are Enterprise drives, they keep a pretty lofty price premium above desktop units,  That makes it expensive to expand.

To illustrate my point, when I had three 500 GB drives in my Pro (with 6 bays), I faced a difficult choice when it came to upgrading…  I could buy more of the same expensive 500 GB drives and add 500GB a pop, or I could upgrade to three drives of a larger capacity (still expensive drives) and add the difference in capacity for two of my new drives to the total.  The big thing to consider is that once you fill up the 6 drive bays, the only way to easily expand is to replace all 6 drives with higher capacity drives.  If you replace one or two with bigger drives, it doesn’t give you any more real capacity on your existing shares until you replace them all.  That makes me want fewer, higher capacity drives in the ReadyNAS.  The key factor in my case was the fact that the 500 GB drives I had were known to have a very high failure rate.  Now, I have three 750 GB drives in my ReadyNAS and I use it for fast storage, such as an iSCSI volume for a VMware virtual machine.  For that, it makes a HUGE performance difference.

Anyhow, I had a recent need for some additional space.  This is where the Drobo really shines.  Just the other day, I saw a 1.5 TB drive on sale for about $80, which I snapped up, dropped into my Drobo-FS and within minutes I had an extra 500 GB of storage, with no rebooting, with 1 GB waiting for another drive swap.  If I next swap my 500 GB drive with a 1.5 TB drive, I’ll have added another 1 TB of redundant storage to my Drobo-FS.

Anyhow, I hope this has helped you to make your decision.


Entry filed under: Networking.

CheckPoint UTM Edge NW More Drobo-FS/ReadyNAS Love

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