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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Drobo or SYnology
Marvin Gentry, Photographer
Birmingham | AL | USA | Posted: 7:59 PM on 04.17.16
->> I am looking to create a NAS system. I am better to go with SYnology or Drobo brand?
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Craig Fritz, Photographer
Albuquerque | NM | USA | Posted: 10:12 PM on 04.17.16
->> I'm a fan of Synology NAS's. The three 5 bay and one expansion unit has been rock solid for 6 years. The options are endless as far as what you can do with them and do require a bit of networking know how, or research, to set up. I'd also recommend getting a switch to run everything through.
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Doug Pizac, Photographer
Sandy | UT | USA | Posted: 11:44 PM on 04.17.16
->> Marvin...

How do you plan on using your system? Attached directly to your computer or as a network server where you can also access your system remotely over the internet? Synology is geared toward network/internet; Drobo toward to one computer. And which O/S? PC or Mac? Plus, there is G-Technology.

Last year I went to the NAB show in Vegas and looked at Synology. And then looked at Drobo and G-Technology at WPPI last month. One of the camera stores I deal with locally went with Synology; the owner is a former tech guy. Synology works for them because their POS system is network driven. However, he told me that being a network device read/write is slower than a direct connect. His partner who is a photographer uses Drobo because of the faster access speed.

As to Drobo vs. G-Technology, both have similar bay-size systems. However, G's newest technology is oriented toward the Mac's Thunderbolt porting. They do have a USB-3 line for PCs, but it is their older "legacy" line which their rep said they have no plans to update.

Another difference between D and G is that with Drobo you buy an empty bay unit and fill it with the drives of your choice. With G-Technology you buy a pre-configured system. Subtract the cost of the drives and G's bay units are very pricey -- about 2-4x the cost of Drobo's.

Based on a year's research, I chose Drobo's 5D and filled it with five 6-TB Western Digital drives for 30-TB which is cut down to 21-TB after subtracting a drive for RAID 5 plus overhead. Through Drobo/WPPI discounting it cost me $1,853 from B&H; a similar G-Technology unit was over three grand. Drobo also makes a 5N that is configured for network use. In my case, my Drobo is set for sharing with other computers on my home network; I just need to have the computer it is hooked to turned on.

Another thing to consider is how your O/S handles large storage amounts. My Drobo had to divide my 30-TB into two 15-TB volumes because of a 20-TB drive size limit. However, they just came out with a firmware upgrade last week for the Drobo 5D to increases the combined drive total to 64-TB. I did the update this morning and am in the process of restoring my backed up data. When you do the update the drives have to be reformatted. But you shouldn't have to go through that since units being sold now start out with a 64-TB limit.

Also, while 8-TB drives are now being made/sold their price is twice that of a 6-TB drive for just 30% more capacity. When I did the math I could buy two 5D Drobo units each with five 6-TB drives (60-TB total) for the same money of one unit fitted with 8-TB drives totaling 40-TB.

So, does this make sense or are you more confused now?
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Eric Thieszen, Photographer
Mooresville | IN | USA | Posted: 11:49 PM on 04.17.16
->> I just set up a Seagate 6 bay pro NAS and so far so good. It was easy to set up and use. Only had it running for a week so i don't know about longevity, but I have been running Seagate drives for years. I went with the Seagate because of the easy setup. Synology was what i had originally planned to go with but opted for the easy set up instead.
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Doug Pizac, Photographer
Sandy | UT | USA | Posted: 11:35 AM on 04.18.16
->> Keep in mind that the various hard drive manufacturers have models which range from low-end consumer units to high-end enterprise drives that have a much lower failure rate.

While I did not investigate Seagate's system, I just looked at their NAS multi-bay units. They are sold with drives already installed the same a G-Technology does. There are no specs on which Seagate drives are part of the package -- consumer or enterprise. Be sure to find out what quality drives you're getting and then double check to make sure they are the ones you ordered when the unit arrives.

Think of NAS like the old film days. A camera (bay) was nothing more than a box that held film (drive). The better film you use the better quality you get. With NAS the longer life and reliability you get is determined by the quality of the drives you use.

ERIC -- did your system come pre-configured with enterprise quality drives or did you have to buy the drives separately?
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Marvin Gentry, Photographer
Birmingham | AL | USA | Posted: 12:53 PM on 04.18.16
->> Doug I am leaning towards the Drobo system. I like the Gtech but the price is out there. I plan on using over a network. I also have heard the Synology systems are a little tricky to set up. I have people saying the 5D and the 5N so that is my next decision. I am going to put 4TB drives in there.
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Kevin M. Cox, Photographer
Galveston & Houston | TX | US | Posted: 4:41 PM on 04.18.16
->> Between those two I would go with Synology. There are other options to consider as well such as Netgear's ReadyNAS. A big consideration will be are you Mac or PC since AFP support for Mac's is sometimes lacking.

We have a ton of Drobos that I inherited at the paper and I am not a fan for several reasons.

One "problem" with Drobo is that they use a proprietary "BeyondRAID" system that can generally only be accessed inside a Drobo. Contrast this with other NASes that use run of the mill RAID levels which can be swapped into other machines for easier recovery if it is ever needed. Now it does offer some benefits like volume expansion so you've got to weigh the pros and cons.

No matter which system you end up with make sure you buy hard drives on that device's hardware compatibility list (HCL). I'd also suggest making sure you buy drives designed for arrays as large as you have that are designed for RAID use with TLER, etc. The manufacturers are good about labeling these, for instance Western Digitals Red and Red Pro line.

Also be careful with the RAID level you end up selecting. The old default recommendation of RAID 5 is no longer such a good choice with the large hard drives you are likely to buy. RAID 5 can only support a single drive failure and most photographers will be using cheaper drives with a URE of 10^14. The larger the drives (array) the greater chance you'll hit an error while rebuilding from a drive failure. If this happens you've now lost everything.

As such it is probably worth going for RAID 6 (dual drive redundancy) that will protect you from up to two failures at a time.

And of course always remember: RAID IS NOT A BACKUP.

Remember 3, 2, 1 backups: Three copies, two different formats, one off-site.
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Doug Pizac, Photographer
Sandy | UT | USA | Posted: 5:36 PM on 04.18.16
->> Marvin -- The price difference between a WD Red 4-TB and 6-TB drive is only $25 for the extra 2-TB on each drive. This works out to 10-TB of more space for $125 over five drives which is very cheap for what you get.
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Steven Limentani, Photographer
Charlotte | NC | United States | Posted: 12:37 AM on 04.19.16
->> I run a Drobo 5D as a DAS unit and Synology as my NAS unit. In addition to what others have said above, the expandability of the synology pieces is a huge advantage as I can expand to 18 bays. Although I haven't used it synology's proprietary interface is a potential advantage. Lastly, how you back up is clearly important and I go with carbon copy cloner rather than time machine because of the ability to then easily access any file.
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Eric Thieszen, Photographer
Mooresville | IN | USA | Posted: 11:51 AM on 04.19.16
->> Doug, the Seagate came with their NAS series drives already installed.
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Marvin Gentry, Photographer
Birmingham | AL | USA | Posted: 12:28 PM on 04.19.16
->> I settled on the Synology DS416j system. With the synology system I can pull images off the hard drives even if the unit fails. I bought the 4 - 4TB NAS hard drives from New Egg. SO I will have close to 16TB of space now.
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Stephen Brashear, Photographer, Assistant
Seattle | WA | USA | Posted: 1:05 PM on 04.19.16
->> Marvin- I think you will be happy with the Synology. I've used both Drobo and Synology and prefer Synology. As Kevin mentions, the Synology hybrid offers the same functionality as Drobo's BeyondRaid, but is not proprietary. At the time I made the switch, I found the Synology's to be faster than my Drobo and seem to have more expansion options (thought that may have changed a bit). Also, I found that setting up the Synology it no more difficult than setting up the Drobo. Synology's DSM has a nice interface. As with most things the more advanced features can be trickier to use, but the few that I have used I've been able to figure out given some time.
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Peter Read Miller, Photographer
Manhattan Beach | CA | USA | Posted: 3:04 PM on 04.19.16
->> A note regarding Drobo. I have 3-5D's connected by Thunderbolt to my Mac Pro and until recently I have been very happy with them. Last week the fan in one of them began to make increasing loud noises.
I shut down the unit and called Drobo. The unit had been purchased in January of 2014, so it was not longer covered under warranty and I had not purchased Drobo Care, so I expected to have to pay for the fan replacement.
Imagine my surprise when the Drobo rep informed me that they don't repair Drobos they only replace them and given my lack of warranty they were not replacing mine.
So I am expected to spend $600 to replace a unit that is slightly more than 2 years old because of the failure of a $20 part? Something's not right about that.
Now before everybody posts that replacing the fan in a Drobo is a fairly simple DIY project-I know and that's what I will probably do, but that's not the really the point, is it?
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David Seelig, Photographer
Hailey | ID | USA | Posted: 12:11 AM on 04.20.16
->> I am using a Pegasus R6 first generation got it used pretty cheap and Pegasus has been great on tech support even out of warranty here is a more educated guy then me http://scottkelby.com/im-done-with-drobo/
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Stephen Brashear, Photographer, Assistant
Seattle | WA | USA | Posted: 10:57 PM on 04.20.16
->> Peter- I had a fan go out on my DROBO. I thought I would replace it, but ran into some issues, so I went by the local computer store and they were able to install for less $100.
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Doug Pizac, Photographer
Sandy | UT | USA | Posted: 8:47 PM on 04.21.16
->> Marvin, et al...

Just got an email time-limited offer from Drobo -- $100 off a Drobo 5D as a tax refund enticement. The promo code is TAX5D.

A month ago the Drobo was limited to 15TB of continuous storage. If you put in 30-TB worth of drives it broke it down to two 15-TB volumes; 45-TB of space became three 15-TB volumes. A week or so ago they created a firmware update that allows the 5D to handle up to 64-TB of space as one volume. This will allow it to handle up to five 12-TB drives which don't exist at the moment, but eventually will.

If you would like, email me at doug at pizac dot com and I'll forward you the promo. But TAX5D should work.
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Marvin Gentry, Photographer
Birmingham | AL | USA | Posted: 9:54 AM on 04.22.16
->> Thanks Doug but I went with the Synology , mainly being that the system is not proprietary. thanks for the info though.
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Baron Sekiya, Photographer, Photo Editor
Hilo | HI | USA | Posted: 5:52 AM on 04.24.16
->> I own a Drobo, good to hear you went with Synology. I think Synology is better with the types of controls over the unit with their dashboard of features. Get server quality drives like Western Digital Red drives. The WD Green drives keep failing on me and I won't buy them anymore.
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Scott Bannick, Photographer
Fort Collins | CO | United States | Posted: 10:20 AM on 05.04.16
->> I was just in the market for an easy to use NAS to keep my mountain of data safe. Because of this thread, I went with the Synology 1515+ equipped with five 4TB Western Digital Red drives, and I couldn't be happier! I was almost ready to pull the trigger on a Drobo 5D with Thunderbolt connection, but the proprietary nature of Drobo's file structure and the reported failure/warranty issues swayed me in another direction. Thanks for all of the info provided here!
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Steve Puppe, Photographer
Olathe | KS | USA | Posted: 11:07 AM on 05.04.16
->> I went with the Synology as well. I purchased the 1815+ and have started the 14tb migration from the Drobo. It's not plug and play but the tutorials and search feature at synology have been helpful.
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Doug Pizac, Photographer
Sandy | UT | USA | Posted: 5:28 PM on 06.25.16
->> Here's a new kid on the block to consider. Western Digital has just released its new EX4100 4-bay NAS system whose technology adds optimization when its Red drives are used. Price is $350 (plus the drives).

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=1121927&gclid=CLCOqp...=
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Thread Title: Drobo or SYnology
Thread Started By: Marvin Gentry
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