Q: How much usable space will I get when I place my hard drives into DroboPro?
A: DroboPro is able to utilize different capacity hard drives in a very efficient way, however,
some disk space must be reserved for keeping your data safe. As a rule of thumb, your
available, protected capacity on DroboPro is equivalent to the sum of your hard drive capacity
minus the size of the largest drive. However, when Dual Disk Redundancy is enabled, DroboPro
requires roughly the space equivalent to two of the largest drives to safely protect your data.
A relatively small amount of capacity is used by the file system you've chosen and DroboPro.
Please see our online Capacity Calculator to experiment “virtually” with various drive capacities.
Q: What happens when I enable the Dual Disk Redundancy mode in Drobo
A: Dual Disk Redundancy is a feature that protects your data even if up to two hard disks fail.
When you check the "Dual Disk Redundancy" option in Drobo Dashboard, the lights on the unit
flash and you are still protected against a single hard disk failure until the background work is
completed and the lights stop flashing, at which you point you are protected against two disk
If you deactivate the Dual Disk Redundancy feature, DroboPro immediately goes into single disk
Q: In the unlikely event my DroboPro malfunctions, can I put the hard drives in
A: Yes, in the event your DroboPro breaks you can easily transfer your disk pack to another
DroboPro. Disk packs are fully swappable between units. However, Data Robotics recommends
having the same, or later firmware on the destination DroboPro as the original.
Q: What is the maximum volume size?
A: You can format your DroboPro volume size as 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 8TB or 16TB (regardless of
how much physical hard disk space you have available). This ability to format your volume
larger than available disk space is called "thin provisioning." It allows you to grow into a single,
large volume over time rather than needing multiple smaller volumes.
Q: Can I really use any hard drive I want?
A: DroboPro is compatible with 3.5" SATA I and SATA II hard disks, regardless of their capacity,
speed, or manufacturer.
Q: Can I remove drive packs for archiving purposes?
A: You can remove drives from DroboPro and safely store or archive them to be re-inserted into
DroboPro at a later time. You must remove the disks out as a set - this means if you have six
drives in DroboPro, you should remove and archive all six. The good thing is, if one (or two,
depending on the redundancy you set) of those disks were to fail while in storage, your data
would still be safe.
Q: How should I configure my DroboPro if I want to move it between being
directly attached to Windows (XP/Vista) and Mac OS X computers?
A: If you’d like to your direct-attached DroboPro between Windows and OS X operating
systems, you can format DroboPro as FAT32, however there are significant limitations in terms
of data throughput and maximum volume capacity when utilizing this option. Also, FAT32 is a
non-journaled file system which provides less data protection than more advanced file systems
such as NTFS or HFS+. Please research this file system and its limitations before choosing this
Q: How should I configure my DroboPro if I want to move it between being
directly attached to Windows XP and Windows Vista computers?
A: If you would like to move your DroboPro between being directly attached to Windows XP and
Windows Vista computers, please format your DroboPro on Windows XP using Drobo
Dashboard. Choose NTFS for the filesystem and create volumes 2TB or smaller. If you format
on Windows Vista using Drobo Dashboard, choose “XP Compatible NTFS” for the filesystem
and create volumes 2TB or smaller. Windows XP has an inherent 2TB volume limitation so any
volumes larger than 2TB will not be recognized.
Q: Can I connect DroboPro to a DroboShare for sharing over a network?
A: No. DroboPro is not compatible with DroboShare. If you would like to share a DroboPro over
a network, simply connect it to a server or workstation that has file sharing enabled.
Q: How can I get optimal FireWire performance on Windows XP or Vista?
A: To obtain optimum performance in Windows, use a third-party FireWire 800 driver, as neither
Windows XP nor Vista comes with one pre-installed. If you do not use a third-party driver,
Windows XP SP2 will automatically treat any Firewire 800 device as if it were either a Firewire
100 or 400 device depending on whether you've applied the appropriate Microsoft Hotfix.
Windows Vista will treat a FireWire 800 device as if it were connected via FireWire 400. To get
true FireWire 800 performance you'll need to use a third-party driver such as the one from
Unibrain (make sure it's the latest version).
You should also consider using the iSCSI interface which offers superior performance and does
not require a third party card or driver.
Q: Can I use DroboPro in a rack- mount environment?
A: Yes. Utilizing the optional DroboPro Rack Mount kit, you can easily install the unit in any
standard 19-inch rack. The vertical height of DroboPro is 3U. The DroboPro Rack Mount kit
includes the mount and screws needed to rack-mount your DroboPro alongside your other
Q: Can I encrypt the data I store on DroboPro?
A: Yes. One easy way to do this is to create an encrypted disk image using Disk Utility on Mac
OS X or using the Windows Explorer file attribute option (not available on Windows XP Home
Edition). A variety of third party software for creating encrypted files and folders will also work. A
great free, cross-platform (Windows XP & Vista, OS X, Linux) option is TrueCrypt.
Encryption tools that try to encrypt every block on DroboPro will not work unless you create a
dedicated partition for storing encrypted data and have sufficient physical storage capacity
equal to or grater than the partition size. Also note that at 95% capacity, DroboPro will get
increasingly slower. If you do not create a dedicated partition, these type of tools will try to
encrypt every block on Drobo, but never finish since DroboPro creates a virtual disk partition
larger than available disk space.
DroboPro is currently not compatible with hardware-based Full Disk Encryption (FDE).
Q: Can I boot my Mac from DroboPro?
A: Apple's OS X supports booting from external drives connected via Firewire or USB.
Q: What happens if I initially format my DroboPro as a 2TB volume, and then add
more than 2TB of capacity?
A: If you format DroboPro for a certain volume size (i.e. a 2TB volume during the initial format)
and then add more protected capacity than can be contained in that volume, Drobo Dashboard
will prompt you to create a second volume for the added space. You can specify a size up to
16TB for that new volume (even if you don't ever plan on having that much disk space).
Q: Could a disaster recovery company such as DriveSavers recover my data in
the event of a catastrophe?
A: For a company like DriveSavers, recovering data from a DroboPro is not much different than
recovering data from a traditional RAID 5 or 6 array. Just like RAID 5 or 6, DroboPro uses
standard file systems to store data.
DroboPro uses its own method to layout data, as all RAID devices do. For example, you cannot
take disks from one vendor's RAID 5 or 6 array and move them to a different RAID vendor's
Q: Can I take a single drive out of DroboPro and use it with an external drive
A: Unfortunately this is not possible with DroboPro or any block-level storage technology that
writes data safely across multiple disks. In order for a storage array to efficiently utilize hard
drive capacities and ensure data safety, data must be written using algorithms that place data
on your disk differently than when you are using just a single drive or just a bunch of drives
Q: What is Drobo Dashboard and do I need it?
A: Drobo Dashboard is software that comes with DroboPro. Though no additional software is
required to utilize the Firewire 800, and USB 2.0 interfaces on DroboPro, Drobo Dashboard is
required to enable iSCSI access, as well as to manage the Smart Volumes feature.
Drobo Dashboard also provides access to advanced functionality such as email alerts,
automatic back-up using the DroboCopy feature, and is generally a useful utility that will help
you understand details about your DroboPro including precisely how much free capacity you
remains, and what DroboPro is doing.
Q: Will DroboPro work with Apple Time Machine, EMC Retrospect, SuperDuper!
or other backup software? What about utilities like Disk Utility or Disk Warrior?
A: Absolutely. DroboPro will work with all your favorite backup software, utilities and tools. This
is because to you operating system, DroboPro appears as any other external disk.
Q: Can I attach DroboPro to my Apple Airport base station to share it using the
A: No. However, you can connect DroboPro to a wi-fi base station such as Apple’s Airport using
the USB 2.0 interface. Currently the Airport base station product line does now allow any other
interface for file sharing.
Q: Does DroboPro use RAID 1, 5, or 6?
A: The BeyondRAID™ technology used by DroboPro leverages the same basic methodologies
as RAID 1, 5, and 6, namely striping and mirroring to achieve data protection. However, unlike
RAID, it does not require complex administration, matched drive sizes, specific drive ordering,
lengthy upgrade times or any of the other problems typically associated with RAID. For a more
detailed explanation please see BeyondRAID.
Q: Can I use disks already containing data in my DroboPro?
A: All data on individual disks inserted into DroboPro will be erased. Only put drives into
DroboPro that are either blank or are safe to erase (i.e. you have backed them up already). For
instance, if you have three drives in your DroboPro and then you add a fourth drive, any
preexisting data on the fourth drive will be erased when inserted.
You can safely remove all of your disks from a DroboPro and store them. Just be you've put
your DroboPro into standby and removed all disks. Unlike traditional RAID 1, 5 or 6, the order of
the disks does not matter when you place them back in.
Q: Which is faster — iSCSI, FireWire 800 or USB 2.0?
A: Assuming a system is properly configured, iSCSI should provide the best read/write
Q: Can I connect my DroboPro using a FireWire 400 cable?
A: Yes, you can. Simply use a "FireWire 800 to FireWire 400" cable such as the one listed on
Q: What types of hard drives does DroboPro support?
A: DroboPro supports 3.5" (commonly called "desktop" size) SATA I and SATA II drives (i.e. not
IDE or PATA).
Q: Can I connect to DroboPro via a USB or FireWire hub?
A: We do not recommend using a USB or FireWire hub for any storage device with DroboPro.
Storage typically requires the most throughput of any connected device. For instance, when
possible plug your keyboard and mouse etc. into the hub and your DroboPro directly into your
Please be aware that running many peripherals on the same computer can often slow down
performance for all devices.
Q: Who can benefit from the capacity and performance of DroboPro?
A: DroboPro was designed to be used in both Windows and Mac OS X server workstation
environments. It is ideal for tasks ranging from storing user’s home folders, storing virtual server
images, backing up Exchange or SQL Severs. DroboPro is suitable for most tasks requiring
business-class performance, stability, and capacity including large capacity back up, file
serving, video editing, media server, photography archives, and more.
Q: I have a 4- bay Drobo today. How do I upgrade to DroboPro?
A: You can move the drive pack from any Drobo into your DroboPro. Simply ensure DroboPro
is safely shutdown, then remove the drives from the original Drobo and insert them into
DroboPro – then connect it to your computer. Your drive will mount exactly as it did before, but
now you will have the added benefit of at least four more drive bays with which to grow your
available storage capacity.
Please note that if you own a first generation USB-only Drobo, you may not be able to directly
move your disk pack into DroboPro. Please see www.drobo.com/migration for more information.
Q: What is iSCSI, and why should I care?
A: iSCSI is a set of protocols for interfacing to storage systems using Ethernet as a high
performance connection. On the host computer a piece of software called an “initiator” is used
to interact with the storage system. The storage device is called a “target”. iSCSI gives you the
flexibility of utilizing standard Ethernet cables and infrastructure, while providing gigabit speeds.
Q: Which Operating Systems support DroboPro?
A: With DroboPro you can use USB or FireWire interfaces with most modern operating
systems, including Windows and Mac OS X. See the table below for a full list of the supported
Operating System iSCSI FireWire 800 USB 2.0
Windows SBS 2003 (Standard and Premium
Edition) ✓ ✓ ✓
Windows SBS 2008 (Standard and Premium)
✓ ✓ ✓
Windows Server 2003 (Enterprise, Standard,
Data center, and Web)
✓ ✓ ✓
Operating System iSCSI FireWire 800 USB 2.0
Windows Server 2008 (Data center,
Enterprise, Standard, and Web) ✓ ✓ ✓
Windows Vista (Business and Ultimate) in
64bit and 32bit Requires SP1
Windows Vista (Home Basic and Home
Premium) in 64bit and 32bit Requires SP1
Windows XP Professional (32bit Home and
Media Center Edition) Requires SP2
Mac OS X 10.4.5 Supported ✓ ✓
Mac OS X 10.5.x
✓ ✓ ✓
Q: What connection should be used for video editing?
A: The highest performance connection on DroboPro is iSCSI. Just plug one end of a Ethernet
cable into your computer and the other end into DroboPro. Use the included Drobo Dashboard
software to automatically configure the connection.
Q: Can I connect DroboPro directly to an Ethernet switch?
A: You can plug DroboPro into a switch provided that the network is not using a DHCP server.
For networks with a DHCP server, simply assign a static IP address to the DroboPro. This can
be done from Drobo Dashboard: Advanced Controls > Tools > DroboPro Settings > Direct
Q: Can I plug DroboPro to HBA or iSCSI TOE card?
A: At this time DroboPro is only qualified to operate with an Ethernet card in your server.
Q: Does DroboPro support Jumbo Frames?
Q: Is DroboPro compatible with Active Directory?
A: DroboPro mounts on your server like any other drive. Active Directory is supported by the
Windows OS and will work with DroboPro.
Q: Can I use the Microsoft Exchange or SQL Server software with DroboPro?
A: Yes. The iSCSI interface is ideal for connection to a server.
Q: Can I run Drobo Dashboard as a service?
A: This functionality is not supported at this time.
Q: How Can I run VMWare off of DroboPro?
A: You can run VMWare off of DroboPro if you configure your Mac or Windows server using the
static iSCSI discovery method using an HBA (Host Bus Adaptor), or you can connect via
Dynamic iSCSI discovery mode using a server with NFS installed.
Q: How many concurrent users does DroboPro support?
A: Up to 100 users per DroboPro, depending on usage and environment.
Q: What are “Smart Volumes™”?
A: With DroboPro you can create new volumes in seconds, and manage up to 16 x 16TB
volumes over time with ease. The innovative and timesaving Smart Volume management
technology integrated into DroboPro allows volumes to pull storage from the common pool of
disks rather than a specific physical disk allocation. The labor of resizing and migrating volumes
is replaced with the simplicity of intelligent engineering.