Which Hard Disk Drives Should You Use In A Drobo?

Ask a Pack Rat:

Another great question, this time on Twitter:

Just purchased an empty DroboFS, do you have a preferred HD to use with Drobo? TIA!

Stephen’s Stance

I just love my Drobo, though I’m thinking of upgrading it to a Drobo S since it’s getting pretty full! The ability to add and replace drives as you use it is very powerful, and I’ve taken full advantage of it! Here’s my own personal Drobo hard disk drive history:

  1. Purchased the Drobo and two 1.5 TB Samsung EcoGreen F2 (HD154UI) drives from NewEgg. One drive was DOA.
  2. Grabbed a 1 TB Western Digital Green (WD10EADS) drive from Fry’s to protect my data. No trouble with that one.
  3. Received a replacement Samsung HD154UI. Worked fine since, though it did fail to spin up at first this week after a power reset.
  4. Removed the 1 TB WD drive and added two 1.5 TB Western Digital Caviar Green (WD15EADS) drives. No trouble with those since.
  5. Picked up a 1.5 TB Seagate Barracuda LP (ST31500541AS) as a temporary standalone drive as well as a spare for the Drobo.

I’ve been very happy with the Western Digital and Seagate drives I used – every one has performed flawlessly. There are many negative reviews of just about every drive on the market, including both the WD and Seagate models I rely on. And I’m much less happy with the Samsung EcoGreens. They’re proven flaky in my use, and I’m very glad I am using Drobo’s BeyondRAID or I would never store anything important on them!

My suggestions:

  1. Vary the type and manufacturing date of drives (easier with Drobo BeyondRAID) to reduce the likelihood of a “bad batch” causing problems
  2. Go for 1.5 TB or 2 TB drives since they’re the best value for the money at this point
  3. Green (5400/5900 rpm) drives are fine and may reduce your power consumption
  4. Stick with the Seagate Barracuda LP and Western Digital Caviar Green (EADS or EARS) drives
  5. Make sure you buy from an authorized reseller and have a valid warranty (Seagate offers 5 years on retail drives, WD is 3)

I’ve been posting cheap drives to my Deals feed lately, and will likely continue. $79 for this 1.5 TB WD Green drive is a pretty good price today, for example.

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  • CraigM

    I’ve had no problems over the last 2 years duty with 4x Samsung HD103UJ Spinpoint F1 1Tb (7200 rpm, 32Mb cache) drives in a Drobo, they run relatively cool, spin down and spin back up quickly and I can’t really fault them.

    Recently added a second Drobo and this time rather than the newer 2Tb Samsung decided to try 4x Seagate ST32000542AS 2Tb (5900rpm, 32Gb cache), early days yet (2 weeks), but so far they are great and a little faster than the Samsungs. At the moment I’ve swapped 2x existing 1Tb for the larger drives in the first Drobo and the released 1Tb are going in the 2nd unit, so BeyondRAID is doing its job.

    Once the storage situation has stabilised I’ll consider swapping the remaining current 1Tb for 2Tb replacements.



  • David the Disk Dunce

    I have seen a couple of entries on the WD forum and elsewhere that ‘desktop’ grade disks like the Caviar Green range are not warranted for RAID 5 type configurations. I have also seen discussion on the TLER utility.
    I wanted to know if this applied to the Drobo range who use their own ‘BeyondRAID’ approach? I have a Drobo FS and have had CG drives rejected as failed but could not find any issue when I run diagnostics. SUggstions?