Today (13-November-2011) — New Jersey

Drobo Storage Device Restored!

I’d previously posted that it was taking a long time for my Drobo B800i storage device to update after adding two additional 3 TB drives. The update never completed (after 12+ days), and appeared to need to restart after the multiple power failure after the early snow storm (and ultimately 42 hours of outage). I finally gave up, and decided to reset the device and restore my image database from backups. For the most part this went well, just took time. However, one of my primary backup devices, a Western Digital 2 TB MyBook devices failed. During the restore process, the process stalled. At first, I thought it was an overheating problem, so let the device cool before restarting. This was repeated several times. I even used the Western Digital “Data Lifeguard” program to check the device – and the device passed with no errors. Ultimately, I got a message that I needed to format the device before I could use it. OUCH!!!

OK — no problem, I have other backups. I went to the other backup that I keep in the house, the original RAW files stored on Western Digital Passport drives. These were my original external storage devices (160 GB, 240 GB, 500 GB, 750 GB, 1 TB) that I used since I started getting into digital photography. Unfortunately, one of the drives containing the data lost on the MyBook device was not recognized. STARTING TO PANIC!! — this included images from ANPAT 9 including image from a once in a lifetime trip to Alaska.

I guess that I am paranoid about data storage. I keep three, and sometimes four backups of key data, and some of the data is stored off-site (away from home). The third backup, I keep at work. I went and picked it up this weekend (3 hour round trip) and I was able to restore the data to my primary Drobo device. I am still running a full comparison (using Program Match — 32 bit CRC mode) since some of the earlier data restored from the failed drive may have been corrupted.

The thing that I did lose was any current metadata, or processing data for the images since I was going back to the original RAW files saved from the camera.

Bottom Line — One backup is not enough!! Primary media can fail, backup media can fail (hard drives fail). Primary media can be lost (fire, theft, other disasters etc). Technology moves forward, and old backup devices become obsolete. I am currently dealing with nearly 500 K (7 TB) images, and need to future proof my storage and back-up work-flow. Need to keep all of this in focus when devising a backup storage protocol.

I plan to get back to an image mode soon, so I can share images again!!

Author: David Mathre

I am a scientist by training (Eckerd College, BSc; Caltech, Ph.D.). I worked for 27 years as a Chemist in the Pharmaceutical Industry developing processes to manufacture medicines for human and animal health. I now spend my time as a photographer and world traveler. My interests in photography include the natural world, wildlife, landscapes, skyscapes, and seascapes. I have traveled to over 50 countries over the last 10 years, often on Semester at Sea voyages. While at home in New Jersey, I spend time on a home renovation project and expanding my wildflower garden/meadow.

5 thoughts on “Today (13-November-2011) — New Jersey”

  1. You have exactly 10X more images than I and it takes quite a while to back them up and to get the Drobo going. I think I’ll buy another drive for offsite, after hearing your experience. I’m glad that you were able to hold on to all of your images.


    1. My workflow puts the images in two locations as I upload from the camera. On a weekly basis, I move new images to an off-site location. What is missing from the workflow is updating the backup locations with updates after I process the images, either with new metadata, or processed images ready for the web, photoblog, printing, etc. This is the information that I did lose with the WD MyBook external drive that failed.

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