As regular readers will know, I’ve had a Drobo storage system for some time now. I’ve not had a bad word to say about the product – it just works and does what I expect it to do. However, there’s one function I think could do with some improvement and it’s the one thing that scares me most – removing drives.
I’ve been reviewing 2TB drives recently and now they’re destined to be used in the Drobo to expand my storage footprint. This means I’ve been swapping drives in and out of the Drobo as I test them on another PC. The process for drive removal is quite simple – just pull it out. That’s where the problem lies.
I’m never keen about just removing a drive and letting the system reconfigure itself. I see that as a “hard” failure which could have been avoided. Before drive removal, surely it’s best to logically “evacuate” a drive and move the contents in a controlled fashion? Physical removal must be causing the Drobo to perform rebuilds on data, which means if the other drives have faulty copies, then my data’s lost.
Have a look at the picture; you can see I’ve removed a drive and the Drobo is in a state of rebuild. Fortunately the removed drive only had a 500GB capacity and hadn’t been in the device long. Reconstruction of RAID only took about 7 minutes and I was protected again. However I have swapped drives before and experienced a 13 hour rebuild, during which time data was unprotected.
Maybe I’m being paranoid, but Drobo guys, please give us a controlled way to remove a drive without forcing a rebuild. It will help me sleep better at night!