Regardless of how many Drobos you have within your infrastructure or how they are set up on the network, it’s easy to manage all of them through the Drobo Dashboard. The Drobo Dashboard is set up to work with both OS X and Windows operating environments, and is designed to handle all aspects of your storage system—from management of your Drobos, to provisioning storage, to mapping devices to their hosts, regardless of the interface.
Drobo Dashboard will go out on the network and automatically detect all Drobos available to be managed. For remote devices, like those in data centers across a VPN connection, they must be set up once by entering an IP address. After that they will show up alongside the other auto-detected Drobos.
Each time the Drobo Dashboard is started, the initial screen provides an overview of the status and condition of all Drobos within the infrastructure. Since everything is light- and color-based in Drobo—red, yellow, and green lights—you will see instantly if all devices are in a consistent state, and if not, what issues exist on a particular unit. You can also call up menus that tell you the capacity and usage level of each unit, what volumes are configured and allocated, and you can set your preferences.
By clicking on a particular Drobo, you can work specifically with that one device. When you first select a particular Drobo, it will present an overview screen similar to the main Drobo Dashboard, showing device status and condition, including percent utilization. However, at the device level, a series of submenus or subsystems will be accessible that let you look deeper into the specifics of the unit. For network units, like the Drobo B800i and B1200i, you’ll be able to check things like the power supplies, performance metrics, and preferences, along with other key parameters.
One particular setting that must be configured before you can utilize any Drobo in a network environment is its IP address information. This must be done through Drobo Dashboard. By selecting the Settings tab of any device, you can enter an IP address and configure each port on your Drobo for failover (for redundancy), multi-pathing (to use the combined throughput of the ports) or even jumbo frames (to get higher throughput). Once the addresses are configured, you can begin provisioning volumes and working with the unit.
Drobo Dashboard also helps you manage your notifications and alerts. With Drobo, there are three ways to manage and receive alert notifications—visually, through the Dashboard, and via email. The red/yellow/green light scheme gives anyone inspecting the unit a visual indication of whether there is a problem with a particular Drobo that must be addressed. Also, for any host that has Drobo Dashboard installed and has visibility into the network, alerts will pop up in the corner of the screen when a problem exists with one of the units. Finally, email alerts can be configured in the Preferences tab that will send a message to the IT administrator or network management software anytime an alert is triggered.
With Drobo, it’s just that simple to get things set up.