Drobo Storage – Warning


If you purchased a Drobo Storage system please back up all your photo/documents etc etc now, if you were like me and thought purchasing a Drobo system with all these extra hard drives was your back-up you are completely mistaken, you actually have to  purchase two systems to be completely safe which in my eyes defeats the purpose in the first place on spending so much money on a Drobo system.

What happen? Two hard drives crashed and all the photos had to be recovered at the cost of $3500, Drobo takes no responsibility  at all, surprise surprise, there is hundreds of the same complaints online, just google Drobo problems and they all come up in abundance, I wish I did before spending so much money on a so called safe storage system.

Customer service – What a joke.

Action – Forward this post everywhere, people should be made aware of the Drobo system.


  1. dophotog

    You need to accept some of the blame yourself. A single backup source is not enough if you have business critical data. Most Pros recommend 3. If the drobo gets stolen, lost in a fire or destroyed by a lightning strike etc, you’ve lost everything. A RAID system is better then a single drive, but still isn’t totally secure. You don’t need to buy a second drobo, you can use an inexpensive cloud backup and take individual drives offsite just in case that two drive crash or theft occurs.

  2. I dont except some blame I except all the blame for not backing up, what I dont except is a company that does not try and rectify a known problem, I should have realized that when a company has a team dedicated to complaints they must get a few dont you think.

  3. I do agree with dophotog, although drobo makes you beleive that if a crash occurs everything is fine, but not always… the best way is to adopt the 3-2-1 system which is three back up copies, 2 different types (eg: harddrive and DVDs) and 1 at different location. I have a Drobo. one back up that i lock in the office (in case of thieves) + i have a back up hard drive at Ian’s place, and finally all burned on gold DVDs…. expensive and time consuming… but safe….

  4. Yeah Erick that was my belief unfortunately, all I want is a Drobo that works fine and of corse I will be backing it up from now (as I did in the past)on if it ever gets repaired – I posted the above because I have spoken to a number of photographers that are also using Drobo with the same mind frame as myself.

  5. SLRist

    The problem with Drobo is that they use a completely proprietary RAID technology. Whilst this does give advantages in that you can add in ‘any old drive’ – inevitably the reliability is going to be less than a tried & true Linux based RAID.

    I have all my data held on a QNAP 639 Pro running Raid 6 with 6 x 2TB drives (8TB available space). This is a totally generic Linux based Raid device and if I needed, I could get the data recovered by any old data recovery outfit. Running Raid 6 also means that I can have any 2 drives fail without losing data or availability. The extra parity data also gives advantages when ensuring data does not become corrupt.

    For offsite backup ***WHICH IS ESSENTIAL*** I have 3 x cheap 2TB USB drives which I back up my most valuable data onto (my emails, finance data, Lightroom database and my original RAW images) using SyncBackPro on a weekly basis. I store the data TrueCrypt encrypted on these external drives, so I can stash them anywhere I like without worrying someone will get their hands on my data. I generally have one in my car, one in my wife’s car and one at my parents’ home.

    My ‘best of the best’ images are also stored online.

    In my opinion, the ‘advantages’ of Drobo don’t outweight the disadvantages. If you’re running a business on your storage device, you don’t want to be using ‘any old drives’ you want to buy yourself a rack of brand new identical drives, and then swap them all out every 3 years before they begin to fail.

    Either way, if you trust all your data to a single device which can be dropped, flooded, set on fire or stolen, you are taking a huge gamble.

    • Thanks for the answer, I have just come back to this because its done it again so I will have to look into better solutions, I have learnt my lesson from last time and have backups but I do want a reliable system how do you find the QNAP system.

    • you want to buy yourself a rack of brand new identical drives

      Generally this is a big no-no. Identical drives bought from the same batch subjected to the same conditions have a much higher probability of failure at the same time. Keep the brand / model / type consistent but buy one drive at a time and rotate the oldest drive in the set for a new one every few years.

      • Have have purchase two separate systems from 2 separate suppliers both 6 TB I am just going to keep one copy on computer one on drive 1 and the other on the drive 2 which is kept away from everything no flash raid systems at all, never had a problem back in the day and prior to that I shot film…Cheers Levi

  6. RAID is not a substitute for backed up data. This is not Drobo’s fault at all – hard drives fail and you need to be prepared for this to happen.

    If you wanted protection from dual disk failure, you should have set your device up for dual disk redundancy. But remember the likelihood of 3 drives failing at the same time is still very high for two reasons:

    1) You probably bought the drives at the same time, fromt he same batch. So they’re likely to fail at a similar time.

    2) The drives stored in one system are subject to the same environmental conditions. (Vibrations, heat, knocks, bumps and disk activity)

    So a set of drives bought at the same time, fromt he same batch subjected to the same conditions — seems to make sense that they would fail at the same time.

    Also remember that RAID1 (mirroring) also has no ‘back-up’ functionality when it comes to user/system error. If you delete the files, they are potentially lost forever.

    Ideally the minimum backup system a photographer should have is nightly snapshotted backups between two devices stored in different locations — if off-site isn’t possible/feasable try storing the second device in a safe/shed/garage — somewhere unlikely to be affected by whatever destroys the first device.

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