We are very excited about our newly released v3.5.7 firmware for the 5N. It brings a number of significant new capabilities and improvements, in particular supporting a 64 TB filing system.
Hard drive capacities continue their near unbelievable capacity growth. When we first started the company and initially developed Beyond RAID, most drives were in the 40-80GB range. 10 years later we see 8TB drives on the market, with 10TB drives just around the corner. Here at Drobo we work hard to ensure we continue to support larger drives and maintain our promise to allow our users to easily upgrade the capacity of their Drobo.
Drobos work by combining the capacity of all the disks to present a common storage pool (one disk is used for redundancy). A 5N with 5 x 8TB drives provides ~30 TB of storage capacity once the redundancy is taken into consideration (see our Capacity Calculator to see how much storage your Drobo can provide)
Occasionally we run into technical challenges. The most recent one was how to support a volume size larger than 16 TB on the Drobo 5N. There were some critical architectural constraints we had to solve. Not ones to be beaten, we found a clever solution. For more technical details, go to Drobo 5N: 64TB Volume Support
The latest 5N firmware has some other important improvements
* We have upgraded to the latest versions of the Samba software. The latest version of Samba supports a new version of the underlying SMB filing sharing protocol, which is significantly more efficient and has increased data rates to the point where the Ethernet connection can’t move data any faster.
* We support 4K “native” disks. A few years ago, the industry increased the size of the hard disk sector from 512 bytes to 4096 bytes (4K). This was called “Advanced Format”. However, they did this in a backward compatible manner such that the disk was still accessed 512 bytes at a time. Recently we’ve been seeing disks in the market which only support 4K access (“4K-native”, or “4KN”), and we now fully support them. Indeed, you can mix and match different sector-size disks in your Drobo.
* We have been investing in our DroboApps infrastructure and ecosystem, and have a number of new applications such as Koken to provide a photo gallery, and WordPress to host a blog.
* There have been a huge number of improvements to improve the robustness, performance and responsiveness of the Drobo, including improved self-repair in the case of data corruptions, and greatly speeding up the rebuild process when disks are replaced. Drobo has a number of mechanisms to monitor and validate the health of your data and we have extended these too.
By: Jason O’Broin
Jason is the Director of Software Engineering at Drobo and is responsible for all software development. Jason was one of the original engineers at Drobo and has over 25 years of experience in storage, networking and operating systems development gained at Wind River and Madge Networks. He is originally from the UK and gained his Master in Computing Science from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne.