DroboPro FS and 6TB Drives

I helped a customer recently that was using a DroboPro FS, a small business NAS (Network Attached Storage) device, that let’s you easily add and swap in drives as your storage needs grow. Three bays had 4TB drives, and five bays had 3TB drives. We needed to swap a 3TB for the largest drive we can, which is 6TB currently. However there was no conclusive documentation on how large of a drive the DroboPro FS will take. Drobo did have an old (also the latest) firmware update that allowed for 2TB and higher, but this isn’t exactly very confidence building when you’re trying the bleeding edge of hdd storage capacity. Furthermore, the Drobo was originally fitted with four 3GB drives, then, the largest drives available. They added single drives as needed, of the highest available over the years. The manufacturer “end-of-lifed” this Drobo despite only being a few years old. Google searches resulted in many of the same questions in forums at the manufacturer’s website and elsewhere: what’s the largest drive this will take? Well, the best course of action was to buy local and try a 6TB drive. If it didn’t work, I could return the drive and try a 5TB.  And if that didn’t work, well, we know 4TB works as it already has three installed now.  For the benefit of anyone searching for a similar answer, yes, the DroboPro FS handles 6TB drives fine! At least a HGST Deskstar NAS that I used does. So I swapped a 3TB for the 6TB. My immediate storage needs were met with the addition, but soon after the Drobo made the 6TB drive usable, and after I copied the data over (the point of all this), I received a warning to upgrade the next 3TB drive (pictured in yellow) as disk space was low again.

droboThis was to be expected though. One can use Drobo’s space calculator to see what drive configuration yield what kind of capacity. Before buying the 6TB drive, I used Drobo’s Capacity Calculator. By doing several if-then scenarios, you can understand how Drobo maximizes your different configurations. It does seem one should have even numbers of the same drive capacity, but the BeyondRAID they use is their own black box magic and is hard to say. The 6TB I just added will not be fully utilized until I add another 6TB drive. I then won’t need to replace any more drives for a while. The 6TB are expensive, but a better deal to buy 2 drives, versus four 5TB, for future expansion. The next 6TB we add will be cheaper in a month and will maximize the 6TB drive just added, but using all its reserved capacity.

drobo 1

Original customer configuration


After replacing one 3TB drive with a 6TB.


Next step is to add a second 6TB. Notice no more purple in the Capacity chart. The first 6TB drive’s reserve will be maximized.

What other drive models have you found to be compatible in the DroboPro FS?  Please post your comments below. 8TB are just now starting to come out, but are at an extreme cost premium.


To Use SSL or Not?

Traditionally, SSL certificates been an optional security measure for websites that do not take payment or other sensitive information over the Internet.  However, last year Google started a push to encourage all websites to make the move to SSL, for a variety of reasons.  For one, the search results they provide are arguably of better quality when they can steer you to a site that encrypts its traffic between the customer and the website.  Google also says they will provide a tiny bump in search engine results for those that go to SSL.  For this reason, and for myself to understand the technology a bit better.  You can see in your browser address, that pcrequest.com now begins will https (previously just http).  The “s” is for “secure”.  All the traffic between this site and its visitors is now encrypted.  Please contact me if you would like to know if your site should be secured this way, and I can help you out.