Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Great Drobo Update of 2011

Drobo (an abbreviation of Data Robot) is a family of DAS, SAN, and NAS appliances made by Data Robotics. Drobo devices can house up to four, five or eight 3.5" Serial ATA hard disk drives and connect with a computer or network via USB 2.0, FireWire 800, eSATA, or Gigabit Ethernet. Drobo devices are primarily designed to allow installation and removal of hard disk drives without requiring manual data migration, and also for increasing storage capacity of the unit without downtime. (description thanks to Wikipedia)

If you follow me on Twitter (@aaren) you will probably know from the last week that I have been upgrading my 1st generation 4-drive Drobo from four 1TB drives to four 2TB drives. The wonderful thing about Drobo is that you can do this without loosing any data already on the device and you also retain full access to the device during the upgrade. This means you can access or stream your files on the Drobo, while the Drobo is updating itself.

About six days ago I ejected the first of the 1TB drives and replaced it with a new 2TB drive. The Drobo went into upgrade mode and the amber and green lights flashed for 48 hours.

Swapping in the second new 2TB drive launched another upgrade mode of flashing lights that lasted about 40 more hours.

Snapping in the third and the fourth new 2TB drives each started an upgrade mode and flashing lights event that lasted about 6 hours for each.

Sometime last night the drives completed the upgrade and the Drobo prompted me to create a new partition with the new space. I completed this step and now I have three drive letters (X, Y, and Z) and each one contains up to 2TB of space. I'm not sure of I want three separate partitions on the Drobo so I'm deciding right now, while drinking coffee and writing this post, if I should backup the data on the Drobo and start fresh with a single big approx 6TB partition?

I'll let you know...

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