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I recently purchased a DroboPro to replace my 2TB RAID 5 array. The new device has 8 SATA bays, and I've filled 5 of them with 1TB drives, giving me about 4TB of available space.

The old RAID server ran Fedora 4, but the DroboPro doesn't seem to have support for linux hosts. I've had to rely on a 64-bit XP machine just to get partitions > 2TB.

The problem is, I've lost a lot of the features I'm used to having on my file server : most notably, file linking and *nix-style permissions.

Any suggestions how best to fill the gap?

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Not sure if this is really feasible, but could you create multiple 2TB volumes on the Drobo and then use a combination of symlinks/mount points to create your desired folder structure? Obviously this is not ideal, but it might be workable until Drobo supports ext4 or >2TB volume sizes.

Also, in the situation where you manually setup the Drobo (from the site), could you use the app to monitor your disks as before?

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The DroboPro does support large volume sizes, limited by the OS that it's attached to (it acts like an external drive, not a NAS device). While I could do some kind of manual iSCSI setup in Linux, I'd lose the dashboard application, which is pretty important IMO. The sourceforge link looks useful, but I'm not comfortable stepping away from Drobo's sanctioned software suite for something of this scale. On an unrelated note, did you realize who I was before you answered? – sangretu Jul 27 '09 at 12:32
I believe Drobo "unnofficially" supports the linux port of their dashboard. I know that the developer has actually worked/talked with Data Robotics to develop it. Isn't the DroboPro limited by the file system that you install it as? I have mine using HFS+ which supports >2TB volumes, but my friend has his formatted as ext2, which does not support >2TB volumes, so he is in the same situation as you are.(I think) FWIW, he has been using the drobo-utils for a few months now with no ill issues. Yes I saw your username, so I made sure to answer, however unhelpful it was... – minamhere Jul 27 '09 at 14:21

The drobopro supports iSCSI. Setup iSCSI, and then use whatever filesystem you like on the iSCSI device.

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I'm using iSCSI, but the control panel application, which as far as I know is the only way to communicate with the DroboPro, doesn't run on *nix. That control panel not only provides information about the system status and health, but includes configuration options for partition size and other settings. I don't think it's optional. – sangretu Jul 16 '09 at 19:42

Are you trying to connect the Drobo Pro directly to your server, or have it act as a NAS?

If the former, this post may be of use:

It's about using a Drobo on Linux, but it sounds like he got around the same issue (lack of official support) that you're facing.

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The DroboPro cannot act as a NAS, it has no built-in network capabilities. It must be connected to a server which can then share it normally. Thanks for the article, I'll review it. – sangretu Jul 17 '09 at 13:08
So, it looks like that might work, but I'd lose the Drobo Dashboard information and features, about the health of the device and such. – sangretu Jul 17 '09 at 13:13

Windows vista and 7 support filesystem-level links similar to Unix ones, called "junction points"; they've actually been around since Windows 2000, but only in Vista Microsoft started actually using them.

Regarding permissions... I personally think the ACLs in NTFS are much, much better than the "owner-group-others" Unix access model.

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Since you have a windows license, why not install VMWare Player, Virtualbox or any other virtualization platform and install XP in that. Then use the dashboard application in there to control the Drobo and present it as an iSCSI target to your Linux host. IF the only thing you need is the dashboard once in a while this would be perfect.

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The documentation indicates that only one system can access the iSCSI interface at a time, so I'm not sure that both the Linux host and the XP VP could both "see" the device, even though they run on the same physical machine. It might be worth trying though, thanks :) – sangretu Sep 6 '09 at 13:41
Another thing to try might be running the Drobo software in Linux under WINE. Don't forget about WINE just because virtualization is the first thing to pop into everyone's head! (mine included) – MDMarra Sep 6 '09 at 14:12

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