Thunderbolt 3 five-bay Drobo 5D3 RAID storage array with dual 4K support launches

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 2017
Drobo has extended its line of storage peripherals with the five-bay Drobo 5D3, a Thunderbolt 3-equipped storage array capable of connecting a pair of 4K displays downstream of the enclosure.




The Drobo 5D3 can connect five 3.5-inch drives, and also has an "accelerator bay" to install a mSATA card for faster caching. Besides the pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports, it also has a USB 3.0 Type C port for peripheral or display connection.

Using one Thunderbolt 3 port, and the USB 3.0 type C port, a pair of 4K displays can be connected to the unit with video provided by the host computer. Drobo notes that the LG Ultrafine 5K display can be connected as well, but no other displays are supported in that configuration.

The 5D3 provides 15W of charging power to a connected computer. A built-in battery backup allows the array to shut down in an orderly fashion in the event of a power failure.

Mac HFS+ is natively supported, as is Time Machine. There are no restrictions on type or manufacturers of drives that can be installed in the enclosure.





Prices for the Drobo 5D3 range from $699 for an empty enclosure with included six-foot Thunderbolt 3 cable to $1899 with four 6TB drives. Amazon is offering no interest financing if paid in full within 12 months using the Amazon.com Store card, while B&H will not collect sales tax on Drobo 5D3 units shipped to addresses outside NY and NJ.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,748member
    1) Is there any reason that APFS wouldn't be supported on this RAID?

    2) If you optimize the RAID for performance (RAID1+0?) and use 7200 RPM drives can you exceed even Read speeds so that TB would be a benefit over USB 3.0, even with the mSATA "accelerator bay"?
    edited June 2017
  • Reply 2 of 16
    appexappex Posts: 687member
    Proprietary backup? No, thank you. Not even for free!
  • Reply 3 of 16
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,825member
    Does it support eSATA? /s
  • Reply 4 of 16
    appex said:
    Proprietary backup? No, thank you. Not even for free!
    What about it makes you call it proprietary?
    williamlondon
  • Reply 5 of 16
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 7,298member
    appex said:
    Proprietary backup? No, thank you. Not even for free!
    What about it makes you call it proprietary?
    This should be good.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 6 of 16
    nhtnht Posts: 4,429member
    appex said:
    Proprietary backup? No, thank you. Not even for free!
    What about it makes you call it proprietary?
    "BeyondRAID technology, built into every Drobo, delivers all of the benefits of traditional RAID, but leaves the limitations and complexity behind combining enhanced protection, reliability, expandability, and ease-of-use. "

    BeyondRAID is proprietary and Drobo isn't a normal RAID box.  That may not matter to some folks but the Drobo Death Spiral is a thing you can google and decide for yourself. 

    On the other hand it's not like you can pop drives from an array from one brand and expect it to work in another brand's enclosure so there's a bit of lock in regardless.  

    Given how much the software has gotten better from most folks like Synology setting up a RAID isn't as obscure as when Drobo first came out so IMHO there's no reason to go Drobo vs traditional RAID. YMMV.

    APFS may not work out of the box...for example ext4 is/was in that maybe it works limbo but it ain't supported category.

    Personally, I'd never buy one. Too many stories on the photography forums of bad customer service and dead Drobos.
    edited June 2017 stevenoz
  • Reply 7 of 16
    Well I have personally had a very good, very long, experience with my 2nd gen 4 bay Drobo.  It's been running flawlessly for many, many years.. more than 10 I would guess.  On the other hand, I bought one of the highly regarded OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro Qx2 boxes for doing video editing (the old Drobo is far too slow for that), the experience with that one has not been so good. After a few years a drive dies and i end up on eBay looking for a used perfect match because its either that or buy a whole new set of drives.  With the Drobo, just swap out the bad drive with anything of equal or greater size and you're good.  
    Just remember when you read all of the horror stories online, there are likely many more happy customers that have no reason to bitch about their experience.  

    StrangeDaysrazorpit
  • Reply 8 of 16
    15W charger? Do iPads have TB3 now? How can it pass 5K for the UltraFines but only supports dual 4K? DRobo ---most likely it's using non-error-correcting memory (and in close proximity to one or more 40Gbps radio frequency emissions, including some potentially connected to great big inadequately shielded UltraFine receiver/transmitter panels). May be good for scrubbing/editing but for mission critical storage I'd go for 10GbE NAS (using a TB3 adapter that probably only goes up to 1GbE lol until the iMacPro ships) that has ECC and a capacitor/battery shutdown during brown/blackouts.
  • Reply 9 of 16
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,425administrator
    15W charger? Do iPads have TB3 now? How can it pass 5K for the UltraFines but only supports dual 4K? DRobo ---most likely it's using non-error-correcting memory (and in close proximity to one or more 40Gbps radio frequency emissions, including some potentially connected to great big inadequately shielded UltraFine receiver/transmitter panels). May be good for scrubbing/editing but for mission critical storage I'd go for 10GbE NAS (using a TB3 adapter that probably only goes up to 1GbE lol until the iMacPro ships) that has ECC and a capacitor/battery shutdown during brown/blackouts.
    While the 15W isn't great, I'm not sure what you're talking about with the dual 4K versus one 5K. That's pretty standard for docks and one TB3 cable.
  • Reply 10 of 16
    doggonedoggone Posts: 181member
    I got a Drobo 5N and it has been working well for several years already.  Drives may dies but haven't lost data yet.  As larger drives get cheaper I end up being able to increase the total size for less cost per TB.
  • Reply 11 of 16
    appexappex Posts: 687member
    appex said:
    Proprietary backup? No, thank you. Not even for free!
    What about it makes you call it proprietary?
    Google is your friend: search for
    Drobo proprietary
  • Reply 12 of 16
    nht said:

    Personally, I'd never buy one. Too many stories on the photography forums of bad customer service and dead Drobos.
    I have a 4 bay Drobo (USB-3 connection). Works perfectly with 3 drives. Put a 4th drive in and although it initially works, within a few weeks the 4th drives fails to be recognised.
    The software then re-orgs and all it ok.
    If you remove the drive and run full diagnostics on it, it shows no problems. Zero the drive and put it back in and it works for a few weeks.
    Three different drives (2 different makers) all show this "feature". The software has been updated but still the problem exists.
    As far as I'm concerned, Drobo is junk and I'll never get another one. Gone back to my ancient QNAP NAS and it is working fine.

  • Reply 13 of 16
    nhtnht Posts: 4,429member
    nht said:

    Personally, I'd never buy one. Too many stories on the photography forums of bad customer service and dead Drobos.
    I have a 4 bay Drobo (USB-3 connection). Works perfectly with 3 drives. Put a 4th drive in and although it initially works, within a few weeks the 4th drives fails to be recognised.
    The software then re-orgs and all it ok.
    If you remove the drive and run full diagnostics on it, it shows no problems. Zero the drive and put it back in and it works for a few weeks.
    Three different drives (2 different makers) all show this "feature". The software has been updated but still the problem exists.
    As far as I'm concerned, Drobo is junk and I'll never get another one. Gone back to my ancient QNAP NAS and it is working fine.

    I'm sure Drobo works for a lot of folks.  Its just that when it falls over there isn't much support according to many owners with problems...

    I like Apple products not just because I feel they are good value (even if not inexpensive) but because I've gotten good service from my local Apple Store.

    I'm not a huge fan of OWC either.  I too had a bum RAID enclosure that they didn't really want to work to resolve (it worked but the fan rattled like crazy) and I wrote it off eventually.
  • Reply 14 of 16
    barthrhbarthrh Posts: 87member
    I have a Drobo USB / FW. It has pros and cons. At one point in the OSX lifecycle, the FW800 just stopped being reliable. It would disconnect suddenly. I've been on USB since. The Drobo Dashboard software doesn't work anymore (OSX version again) and they won't be updating it. I do like the convenience of not needing identical drives, but keep in mind that you still need to plan your drive capacities carefully or you'll waste capacity. It makes the mismatches work by sometimes leaving some space unused.

    I fear the lock-in; if the enclosure dies the only way to read your drives is with another Drobo. I avoid keeping it primary for anything now, and anything that is primary is backed up to CrashPlan online. This way, if the Drobo dies I won't replace it with another Drobo. If I bothered with an array at all (single drives are so big now), I'd do RAID 0 w/ backup or RAID 10.

    I wouldn't get too excited about TB3 on a Drobo. They aren't known for being the fastest redundant storage solutions around. Even when they added SSD caching to newer models, tests showed that the SSD made almost no difference.
  • Reply 15 of 16
    I've been using a Drobo since their first unit was released, and in all that time I have learned that Drobo seems to be a polarising experience.

    There are users like myself, where the units have operated as expected, protected their data through drive failures and they simply upgrade / migrate to a newer unit as time and technology moves along. While others never seem to get out of the gates properly.

    My original Drobo served my requirements well (it was part of an overall Data Protection Strategy for my personal data which includes at least 2 Off-site Cold Storage Backups) and protected me through the Seagate Firmware Issues a number of years ago where my entire Disk Pack contained drives which from one day to the next decide to no longer spin up. It even survived being in my checked luggage (The Drobo only. The Disk Pack went via Carry-on) during a move overseas then later back home.

    That same Drobo, then went on to perform the same task for my sister after I upgraded to the 5D and with her shift to the 5N2, it's now being setup for my Father.

    I've grown to love the set and forget nature of the device and that it truely is a "black-box" and I don't have to know what it's doing or how and can simply get on with doing what I need to do.
  • Reply 16 of 16
    I bought a Drobo 5D3 last week along with 5 Samsung 850 EVO SSD drives. It turns out it was a huge mistake to try Drobo again. I can't believe how slow it is compared to everything else. Why did they make a thunderbolt 3 version when the maximum speeds you can get are far, far below what thunderbolt 3 offers. The write speed for a 5 x SSD array is much slower than a single drive. Even the read speed for the 5 x SSD array is only 800 MB/s. When I put those same 5 drives in my other device, I get 3-5x better read and write speeds. There is just no excuse for that. If you need performance the Drobo 5D3 will make you sad. It's not worth wasting a thunderbolt 3 port.

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