Time Machine backups with a Drobo

I needed a better solution for the time machine i had running on the mac Pro, i currently have 4 drives online totalling up to 3.5Tb of storage. Currently I am running time machine with an external 1.5Tb USB drive, and had to be selective as to what i included in the backups. It just wasn’t good enough so this week I bought a drobo from eBay. Now I can do Time machine backups with a drobo.

Why use a drobo? For a number of reasons actually.

  1. The Mac Pro currently has 4 SATA drive bays, and all of them are in use. I was struggling with the throughput of the USB ports (30Mb/s). Using FireWire on the drobo instead of USB gives me a much higher throughput (800Mb/s).
  2. Capacity. The largest affordable single drive I could get would be around 2Tb. The 4 drives I already had in the machine added up to 3.5Tb, so this wasn’t big enough. Using a drobo gives me the ability to have a 3Tb time machine drive that I can grow later on if needed.
  3. It just looks cute and it is very silent.

I had read about a number of concerns online with the drobo, that it has it’s own propriety raid format, but my only concern was just using it for time machine and not for main storage (I have a proper Linux RAID6 QNAP system for that). I just wanted to protect the machine from loosing files between backups (we incorporate backups in our workflow). If the drobo suddenly dies, I don’t lose any work, just the ongoing snapshots. I can just recreate them if needed.

It was pretty simple to setup. I guess time will tell if it works well.

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