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Reformatted the Drobo

I've reformatted my Drobo, blowing away every Time Machine backup it had. The thing became "read-only" somehow, had trouble unmounting, and in general became a royal PITA. Of 250 GB that needed backed up1, Time Machine would back up about 1 GB (in about an hour) and then fail out with an error. I backed up 400 GB in about six or eight hours after reformatting.

I just have my "Media" drive - and it's 500 GB - left to go and then I'm back to safety.

One thing that's somewhat annoying: the Drobo, when it gets nearly full, will insist that I change a drive. It'll turn the light(s) yellow and everything. Can't it be told that it's a Time Machine drive and that Time Machine will automatically remove old data to make room for new data?

Footnotes

  1. Best I can figure is that the system reinstall really borked things up.

12 Responses to "Reformatted the Drobo"

  1. If you didn't do it already, I'd recommend formatting the Drobo as a 16 TB unit instead of how much space you actually have in it. It's a bit of future proofing to prevent an annoyance to drive replacement. When you add more capacity then what you have formatted for, the additional space will show up as a 2nd drive.

  2. Brad Miller said on November 10, 2008:

    If you didn't do it already, I'd recommend formatting the Drobo as a 16 TB unit instead of how much space you actually have in it. It's a bit of future proofing to prevent an annoyance to drive replacement. When you add more capacity then what you have formatted for, the additional space will show up as a 2nd drive.

    I formatted as 2.0 TB. Four 500 GB drives give me only 1.35 TB, so I'm covered for awhile (four 750 GB drives give me 2.0 TB). I don't plan to add any drives at this point because I don't need Time Machine to go back two years, after all.

  3. If it's formatted as 2GB but only has 1TB of space, Time Machine won't know that it's getting low on space when it gets close to 1TB, so it won't know to do the pruning. I think.

  4. Zach said on November 10, 2008:

    If it's formatted as 2GB but only has 1TB of space, Time Machine won't know that it's getting low on space when it gets close to 1TB, so it won't know to do the pruning. I think.

    If that's the case, Drobos kind of suck, and I suspect we'd have probably heard about this by now.

    But on the other hand, I have 400 GB of data on the drive now and the Finder's "Get Info" reports 1.6 TB free space, so who knows… It'd be a pretty pathetic piece of engineering if everything somehow just fails when it approaches the actual storage capacity (1.35 TB).

    So pathetic that, again, I suspect it's probably not the case.

    P.S. And even if it did report the problem, going with the 16 TB option certainly wouldn't help things. Unfortunately you can't say "1.35 TB" - your choices are 1 TB, 2 TB, 4 TB, 8 TB, or 16 TB. 😛

  5. Erik J. Barzeski said on November 10, 2008:

    If that's the case, Drobos kind of suck, and I suspect we'd have probably heard about this by now.

    Zach is correct. As far as the OS knows, you've got a 2GB drive attached, and it will behave as such. 😐

  6. Yes, it does suck for Time Machine. That's the downside to being able to easily add storage without any repartitioning, etc.

  7. I'm going to write an email to the Drobo folks, because frankly this is awfully disappointing. Why doesn't a freshly formatted Drobo say "I'm 2 TB in size, but 650 GB is already used" (to get to the 1.35 TB size)? Then Time Machine would work perfectly.

    How is this not a glaring, huge problem? What will happen when I fill the thing up all the way?

  8. [...] Erik Barzeski: [...]

  9. Well, that's really just how devices that provide virtualized storage space work. It's the same deal with high-end SANs as well as other products comparable to the Drobo, as far as I know. Drobo is actually more intelligent than other products; instead of just giving an error when it runs out of space, it drops the transfer speed down to a few MB per second when it's about to run out, giving you a better chance to notice or add a new drive.

    The only other alternative is to re-partition the storage space every time you add or change a drive... not a good option.

    The best option with Time Machine is to partition the fresh Drobo into two partitions, with one partition sized to the maximum amount of space you want to give to Time Machine. You have to be a little careful with the partition map though, read the article I wrote a while ago:

    http://blog.mbcharbonneau.com/post/56856715/thoughts-on-the-drobo

  10. These might help you out:

    http://drobo.com/droboapps/downloads/index.php?id=16

    http://code.google.com/p/drobocapsule/

    Alternatively, the official way is to make two partitions on the drobo.

  11. [...] few days ago I reformatted my Drobo because it was acting up. I was also made aware of the fact that the Drobo, like virtually all [...]

  12. I'm the author of BackMyFruitUp (aka: DroboCapsule) mentioned above. You will need to add a DroboShare into the mix, but it will solve your problems. 🙂

    I believe that your other alternative is to create a properly named/sized sparsebundle and back up to that instead of targeting the entire Drobo. That will limit the size of the backups so your Drobo doesn't appear full all the time. You can download my Create Backup Volume automator action application (say that 10 times fast heh) to simplify creating the sparsebundle.

    Don't blame the Drobo. It is great. I'm very happy with it.


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