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mrhobbit 08-20-2009 10:47 PM

Best MBP to Drobo strategy with no new partitioning?
I've got a direct connected Drobo on FW 800 to my MBP 17".

I do not want to create new partitions on the Drobo, too much risk of losing something.

But I'd love to have a full automatically updated image of the MBP drive on the Drobo, an image I can use to restore my system from if the inevitable happens.

What's the best way to proceed?

IF SD is the answer for now, it'd be nice to get it and eventually use it for creating bootable backups on a new dedicated and partitioned external drive. For now I'm stuck with a Drobo I don't want to/can't partition for bootable backup drives.

dnanian 08-20-2009 11:01 PM

See "Storing a backup alongside other files on a destination drive" in the User's Guide, mrhobbit.

mrhobbit 08-21-2009 02:44 AM

Thanks Dave, I was looking in all the wrong places. The User Guide has it all.

davep 08-21-2009 10:18 AM

stuck with a Drobo
@mrhobbit -- I made the mistake of purchasing a Drobo, thinking it could be my SuperDuper! target. I found out after purchasing it that Data Robotics does not support the Drobo as a boot volume! Also, I was not aware that the data on the drives used in the Drobo were in a proprietary format that can only be read on a Drobo. Upon further investigation I found a Drobo user forum, but it is not public... it's only available to registered Drobo users (a Drobo serial number is required for registration on the forum), so prospective purchasers cannot fully research the Drobo. I decided there were too many negative factors and sold the Drobo. Now I clone my 1TB drive to another 1TB internal drive using SuperDuper!, alternating backups with an external 1TB Lacie. I also have another external 1TB Lacie I use for Time Machine. The one thing I still need to do is an off-site backup.

mrhobbit 08-21-2009 11:38 AM

Network assessible RAID storage gives you one small bit of extra assurance a single drive Backup solution doesn't. But the price difference in the hardware is daunting. Nevertheless, it's the 'top of the pile' wrt to sensible solutions.

I do believe that Data Robotics is playing on that advantage, but ignoring the golden rule of 'interoperability or bust'. Their approach appeals to the Mac crowd's lust for simplicity and 'it just works' mentality. But, as always, there is a price to pay for that. Closed shops, secret handshakes (that is keystrokes), premium pricing... sometimes that's just how it all plays out in the 'it just works' arena.

In the meantime... computer professionals stand back from it all and use RAID boxes with wee little OS's tuned for transperancy in a ubiquitously networked world. A Drobo is not that at all. The price you pay for 'so simple an 8 year old can use it' is that you end up with hardware that often ends up only fit for an 8 year old. Once again, human nature burns the house down to get rid of a rat... rather than meeting the challenge of simply outsmarting it.

The best solution now costs only a wee bit more money than a Drobo alone. The better bet is only an option if most of what you've generated in the way of data represents 1000's of hours and dollars worth of your irreplaceable data - a single redundant local drive for every computer, (SD is perfect for your Mac mirrors) and a smart remote RAID box that 'pulls' images across the network and refreshes them on a schedule. Fortunately, the market is driving that arrangement towards being as affordable and idiot proof as just a single local direct attached redundant box of drives.

When the right time comes, I too will be dropping the Drobo (has a nice ring to it...) and moving to much cheaper single local mirrors and a humongous smart NAS all my computers are 'attached' to from anywhere with TCP/IP. I wonder who's going to perfect a NAS box like that - built-in WAN transparency for adhoc archiving/backup plus idiot proof scheduled SMART drive imaging?

Sigi 08-22-2009 10:47 AM

Hello davep,

I have a Drobo 2nd Gen. with an iMac. I have this combination now for over a year. I have 2 partitions on the Drobo and one partition is used as a bootable backup - it works flawlessly. I am active in the Drobo Forum and I know other users also use the Drobo as a bootable backup.

The reason why Data Robotics doesn't recommend the Drobo as a bootable backup is the read/write speed. It takes significantly longer to boot from the Drobo compared to an internal drive. In my opinion this is not an issue because I only use the bootable backup from the Drobo for desaster recovery and for once a quarter testing of the clone.


mrhobbit 08-22-2009 01:47 PM


Yes, I don't think folks should be misled. Drobos are much, much better than a single drive as your ONLY imaging solution. And they are bootable if need be. I hope we are clear on that. The only downside there is the same suspects you'd find with any solution... more than two drives fail or the Drobo fails destructively, decent odds as any I suppose.

For me though, I was fooled by the Drobo's easy plug and play. I plugged it in and played. Like an 8 year old. Bad idea. Unless you ARE an eight year old.

Once a Drobo is set up and has more data on it than any accessible drive on hand to back it up to, you have NO re-partitioning options. It, and most other BigBoxofDrives apparently, can't be repartitioned loss-lessly. My loss, close to a grand in hardware I can't use to it's full promise, and now more data on it than I can afford to backup elsewhere.

There just happens to be better backup solutions starting to enter the arena that are almost the same cost as one 4 banger Drobo. As well, DR is getting smart enough with their DroboShare add-on to have a Drobo re-purposed as a NAS with a useful network aware OS.

So a decent backup system upgrade path with DR is there. I am hoping they make it as affordable as one direct connect imaging drive and a plain old remote connected RAID NAS. For now I am happy with a Drobo as my one and only last resort backup.

Using SD! for images only is fine for now.

But having only one backup, even if it's on a BBoD's, is no one's idea of ideal. I just wish I'd known better than to set it up as ONE drive... (:-( No booting from that puppy till I can back IT up and start all over....

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