Major Drobo problem and speedy replacement from Data Robotics

Just when I thought it was safe to edit on my Drobo Pro…it up and dies on me. Weird things began happening not long after I connected the unit to my new iMac. As I was copying huge amounts of data using Final Cut X (which I was using to create proxy media of my entire film footage), Final Cut would sometimes freeze. Then the system would freeze, and I had to force-reboot more than once. With all the badmouthing Final Cut X has been getting, it was tempting for me to pile on and blame that.

But i had a sense that the Drobo was the culprit. Yesterday morning the fan on the unit went crazy, with all the red and blue lights on at the save time. The fan was on top speed, and would periodically go dark as if it were trying to restart. But it was stuck in an endless boot up loop.

I didn’t shell out the extra money for DroboCare, so I was stuck sending an email to tech support on a holiday. To my surprise, someone answered within an hour. Within a couple of email exchanges, they determined that the problem was fatal, and they would RMA me a new one. I’m grateful for that much, because I purchased mine 16 months ago – so it’s four months past the 1-year warranty that Drobo extends to US customers (EU customers get 2 years).

This morning they notified me that a new unit is on the way and will arrive Thursday via FedEx. I’m crossing my fingers that this one will work, and that all my data will be safe despite the unsafe shutdown it must have suffered when it went down. The nice thing about Drobo is that you can pull out all the old disks (what Drobo calls a “disk pack”) and insert them into the new box (with power off) and turn it on, and it should recognize everything as before. Wish me luck.

**UPDATE** My replacement Drobo Pro arrived within 48 hours. I followed the instructions: with both devices powered off, remove the media from the old drobo, and load it into the new drobo (disk order doesn’t matter, they say – but I put them back in the same order because I guess I’m superstitious that way). Then I stood back, and hit the power switch. Wait for it, wait for it…it works! All my data is safe, and the new Drobo is humming along nicely. I’ve copied several terabytes of data so far (yes, backing up my data to another set of external hard drives), and no problems. Average data transfer with iscsi seems to be somewhere around 60 Mbps, as measured by AJA System Test disk whack tool. My plan now is to try cutting my film on Drobo Pro, but when I can afford it to use Drobo Pro as backup and edit on a Thunderbolt RAID.

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