A few years ago, I went ahead and built a NAS w/ 4x2TB drives, about 7TiB of usable storage (interestingly enough, 2TB drives are the same price as they were 3 years ago). I had a separate 2x3TB external setup for backup, as well as way too many external drives (about 10TB of loosies). Later, I also inherited another microserver (w/ the same 4x2TB setup) from work as we switched to two Synology DS1812+‘s in the office. And I also have an old Drobo Gen 2 that’s still ticking along.
As you might surmise, my personal storage situation has been… loosely managed. I have a spreadsheet that helps a bit, but it’s always a mess as I run out of space on a drive and the nice clean schema gets all out of whack. Recently I decided to try to get a better handle on things, and acquired 5x4TB of external drives to help rejigger things. This was a good start, but as the drives on my main NAS were giving up the ghost, and as I was digging through my backups, backups of backups, and other duped files, I realized I probably needed a new NAS to help work things out.
The state of dedupe/file organizing tools is the topic of another long blog post. I’ve used Disktracker off and on, which is ancient, and not quite what I want, but seems to indexing tens of millions of files the best. The general state of desktop file management/indexing/duping is quite sad however, especially if you’re interested in consolidating and comparing entire folder structures/partial drive backups. (as far as I can tell, there’s no good tool for that).
In any case, after a late night of clicking around, I decided that as the Drobo 5N was pretty reasonably priced, and that as my old Drobo was still working fine after almost 6 years, and people online (and Drobo themselves) seemed to think that the performance was much improved, that it might not be a bad way to go. I picked one up about two weeks ago.
So, how is it? Well, for general large file copying, it seems fine (I can get about 80MB/s transfers on my netwrok). However, my primary use case involves lots of rsyncing and dealing w/ small files, and here, the Drobo 5N is, as far as I can tell, pretty pathetic. You can read some more details, but even with the mSATA accelerator (I am using a 128GB Plextor M5M which is specc’d for 76K write IOPS), rsyncing maxes out at all of about 700 IOPS.
I *just* finished rsyncing my Drobo Gen 2 yesterday, and I have a 4TB drive that will hopefully be done in the next day or so.
Still, this setup I think is good enough as I prep for moving about. We’ll revisit this in a few years, I guess.