Drobo volumes on the 5D have been limited to a maximum of 16 terabytes. Once the capacity exceeded 16 terabytes, a new volume had to be created. Until now.

Updating the Drobo 5D

Update Drobo Dashboard

The update for your Drobo 5D is available on their website. Drobo 5D update will take you to the update page.

Update the Drobo Dashboard software to version 2.8.1. It’s a free download on the page featured on the link. The installer walks you through updating the dashboard software. Once the update has finished Installing the Drobo Dashboard update will require a restart of the computer.


Firmware update

Download the firmware update by clicking on the Drobo 5D 3.5.0 Firmware link. The file, (release.Drobo5D.3-5-0.tdf) will be downloaded to your Downloads folder on both Mac and Windows. Windows downloads a .zip file. Double click it to get to the firmware update. Once the download is complete, go to the Drobo Dashboard, choose the 5D to upgrade. Click on the Tools button.Go to the Software updates section. Click manual update. The Update Drobo window will appear telling you to stop all data transfers to the Drobo being updated. The activity light on the Drobo will not be flashing. If the Drobo is remapping data to a larger capacity, the drive lights on the right will be flashing between green and amber. Wait until they are all solid green before updating the firmware.

5Dupdate-software screen

Click OK in the Drobo Update window. A dialog opens asking for the location of the firmware update file ending in .tdf. Navigate to it then click OK. Finally a message will ask to restart the Drobo to finish the firmware update. Click Yes. Drobo shuts down then restarts.

W A R N I N G ! Back up the 5D before changing volume size

Seriously! Changing Volume size will only work on a brand new Drobo 5D or one that has been reset. Resetting the 5D erases all of the data on it. Unless you’ve backed up your data, stop reading this post.

Setting the volume size

As soon as Drobo Dashboard sees a new or reset Drobo, it opens a window asking if you want to format the Drobo. The options are format and remind me later. Choosing the Remind option, will keep the dashboard from even recognizing the new or reset Drobo. Get back to the Format / Remind dialog, restart Drobo Dashboard. Click Format. The Drobo offers the style of formatting based on the computer’s operating system. Once formatted, a dialog opens asking for the volume size. 64Tb is set by default. Click OK. Once the volume is created it will offer the option on Macs, to create a Time Machine backup volume. That’s it.

My experience with Drobos

I’ve been a Drobo user for a long time in computer years. I put my first Drobo, a second generation 4-bay, on line on October 10, 2008. Since then I’ve built on this storage and backup platform with great success and absolutely no data loss whatsoever. That said I do practice safe backup procedures. My working Drobo 5D backs up to a second one every evening and then to an eight bay Drobo B800i, here in my studio. It also backs up to a Drobo B810n at my home over the internet. That’s four copies of everything, everyday. When I had to reset one of my 5D’s to set up the 16Tb volume, I still had three copies.

My take

A 64 terabyte volume seems ridiculous at first glance because it’s massive. That’s much larger than the Drobo 5D can physically hold. The Drobo 5D has 5 drive bays. Currently 6 terabyte hard drives are readily available with 8Tb drives coming to market slowly. Six terabytes times five bays comes up to thirty terabytes. That’s less than half of the 64Tb volume size. With 8Tb drives it would be 40 terabytes. This is not ridiculous at all. Drobo’s 64Tb volume upgrade demonstrates a long range storage solution road map for photographers. How nice to have a storage device that won’t obsolete in two or three years. That size volume is not ridiculous at all. It’s refreshing.