How to recover data from Drobo
Data recovery from Drobo NAS, DAS and SAN involves specific methodology due to the fact that such devices employ the proprietary BeyondRAID technology. Though such a system relies on data protection techniques similar to the traditional RAID, it significantly differs from any of the standard RAID levels. The configuration of traditional RAID is set up manually while Drobo chooses the needed algorithm itself, on the basis of the requirements of data availability at the particular moment, which will allow the array to withstand the physical failure of up to two drives. Still, like any RAID set, BeyondRAID is not able to protect its data in the event of any logical issue, like mistaken deletion of files, software crash or incorrect rebuild.
To restore data lost from Drobo under such circumstances, one can use UFS Explorer and the following instructions. The procedure is illustrated here on the example of UFS Explorer RAID Recovery, which supports BeyondRAID on up to 5 drives. It can also be accomplished with the help of the Network RAID Edition of UFS Explorer. For configurations built on more drives (up to 8), UFS Explorer Professional Recovery can be employed. If the required BeyondRAID configuration has been lost, for example, due to Drobo’s factory reset, it may be possible to find it using Drobo BeyondRAID Assistant. Some models of Drobo may also feature a supplementary mSATA SSD module intended for Accelerator Cache – such setups can be processed via UFS Explorer Professional Recovery, albeit entail additional manipulations in the software.
How to use UFS Explorer to recover data from Drobo BeyondRAID
In order to recover data from your Drobo BeyondRAID volume using the RAID edition of UFS Explorer, please perform the following procedure:
Extract the drives from your Drobo.
Turn the device off and take the member drives out of it one by one. Mark the order of drives defined by the bays from which they were removed. Keeping the order may be important if you need to return the drives back to the storage.
Hint: If you don’t know how to remove the NAS drives correctly, please, use the video tutorial.
Attach the Drobo drives to the PC.
Connect all the drives extracted from the appliance to the computer. It is advisable to employ the fastest possible interface, for example, SATA ports on the motherboard. For convenience, follow the initial order of drives.
Hint: To learn how you can plug the drive directly into the motherboard of the computer, connect it using a USB to SATA adapter, external enclosure or expansion card, please refer to the corresponding instruction.
Install UFS Explorer RAID Recovery on the computer and run the application.
Launch the program with administrator rights and, if needed, change its settings. The attached Drobo drives will be displayed in the left pane of the main window. The volumes they contain will be recognized as "Drobo BeyondRAID" and presented under the physical drives.
Hint: If you have any difficulties with the installation of the utility, please refer to the installation manual for UFS Explorer RAID Recovery.
Use RAID Builder to assemble BeyondRAID from the member drives.
Open RAID Builder by choosing the "Build RAID" item in the "RAID" menu and add each drive to the array in any order. For this, you may click on them twice or use the "Add to RAID" option in the drive context menu. In the configuration sheet, choose Drobo BeyondRAID as the RAID level. In case of multiple LUNs, define the LUN number starting from "0" for the first LUN. After that, you can press "Build this RAID" to mount the storage in the list of devices.
Find the assembled BeyondRAID with the partition holding your data.
Explore the list of storages and find the reconstructed BeyondRAID – it will be marked with a special icon for easier identification. Select an accessible partition and look over its content.
Scan the partition to restore deleted or lost files.
Run a storage scan to get back the missing data. If necessary, adjust the scanning settings, or keep the default ones, and press "Start scan".
Hint: More information about configuring the scan can be found in the instruction on scanning a drive with UFS Explorer.
Choose the needed recovered items and copy them to any safe location.
Wait until the program finishes the scanning process. After that, explore the restored file system. To save the wanted items, click "Define selection", mark them off and press "Save selection". In the opened window, provide any valid local or network folder which is not found on any of the Drobo drives.
Hint: The information provided in Evaluation and saving the results of data recovery may facilitate your work with the obtained folders and files.
To get a more accurate understanding of the recovery procedure, please, watch the following video:
Search for the missing BeyondRAID configurations
The necessary Drobo volume (the one that holds the actual data) may not be assembled successfully using the described approach in the event of its loss. Such a situation may occur, for instance, when Drobo has been restored to the factory settings and the system has created a new "empty" BeyondRAID set on top of the existing one. Yet, if the previous configuration it hasn’t been entirely overwritten, it may be possible to retrieve it using Drobo BeyondRAID Assistant as explained hereunder:
Launch Drobo BeyondRAID Assistant using the corresponding option from the "RAID" item of the main menu.
Choose the drives that will be scanned by the program from the list in the left pane of the opened dialog. Use the arrow-like buttons to add/remove the selected storage. All the drives on which the Drobo "markup" was detected will be picked out for examination automatically.
Press the "Start scan" button to begin analyzing the selected drives set. The software will look for copies or older fragments of metadata tables that will allow it to restore the lost virtual file systems. After the necessary configuration is located, you may stop the search using the "Skip full scan" button.
Once the procedure is completed, Drobo BeyondRAID Assistant will show the found BeyondRAID configurations along with their properties, such as an ID, the amount of allocated data, the type of redundancy, the number of member drives and their enumeration. The newer configurations will be listed closer to the bottom.
Choose the required configuration and press the "Select" button.
The program will display the Drobo volume found on it. Click "Open" to add it to the tree of connected storages in the main window of the program. After that, you may perform further data recovery operations on the reconstructed Drobo volume.
In case of an incorrect choice of a Drobo volume, you can get back to Drobo BeyondRAID Assistant and select another one after the scan. The repeated scan will find all configurations faster.
Handling Drobo with an enclosed mSATA SSD cache module
Besides BeyondRAID, certain models of Drobo, like Drobo 5D and Drobo 5N, may employ the company’s patented Accelerator Cache technology. The device is then equipped with an optional mSATA module housed in a dedicated bay at the bottom. Frequently requested files are placed to the speedier mSATA card, which makes it possible to access them even faster and thereby increase the overall storage performance.
Unlike the drives in the primary bays of Drobo, the mSATA SSD doesn’t constitute a part of the BeyondRAID configuration. Yet, serving as a cache, it may contain important data, for example, small user’s files or even critical file system information. With the lack thereof, BeyondRAID may remain inaccessible, even after its proper assembly in the software. Under these circumstances, it becomes necessary to apply the cached data to the reconstructed Drobo BeyondRAID volume.
Fortunately, such a problem can be easily addressed with the help of UFS Explorer Professional Recovery. Starting from version 9.14, the software supports Drobo Accelerator Cache and allows performing the transformation procedure to enable correct reading of the resulting storage. The detailed instructions can be found in a separate guide on Data recovery from Drobo with enabled mSATA cache.
Drobo BeyondRAID recovery in outdated versions of UFS Explorer
The next procedure was valid for outdated versions of UFS Explorer (up to 8.6) and is provided here for your reference. It is demonstrated on the example of UFS Explorer Professional Recovery, yet, it could also be carried out with the RAID or Network RAID Edition, starting from version 8.0. The steps to be taken were as follows:
Remove the drives from the box of your Drobo.
Turn the Drobo appliance off and extract all the drives out of it. Mark them according to their order, which is determined by the bays they belong to – this will allow you to reassemble the device after the data recovery procedure.
Hint: In order to remove the NAS drives correctly, please, refer to the video tutorial.
Connect the extracted drives to the computer.
Connect all the Drobo drives to the PC. It is recommended to use the fastest available type of interface, for instance, SATA ports on the motherboard, and follow the initial order of drives.
Note: If you don't know how you can plug the drive directly into the motherboard of the computer, connect it using a USB to SATA adapter, external enclosure or expansion card, please rely on the corresponding tutorial.
Install UFS Explorer Professional Recovery onto the PC and start the program.
Run the software with administrative privileges and, if necessary, adjust its settings. All the connected drives will be listed in the left pane of the main screen. The volumes they contain will be presented below each of the physical drives.
Hint: If you have any difficulties with the installation of the utility, please refer to the installation manual for UFS Explorer Professional Recovery.
Open RAID Builder and assemble BeyondRAID from its component partitions.
Each of the physical drives taken out of Drobo will have a Drobo BeyondRAID partition on it. Open RAID Builder by pressing the "New RAID" button in the main menu and add each of these partitions to RAID – for this, you may use double-click or the "Add to RAID" context menu option. In the configuration sheet, choose Drobo BeyondRAID as the RAID level and set up the correct stripe size. After that, you can press "Build this RAID" to mount the storage in the list of devices.
Select the reconstructed BeyondRAID and find the partition containing your data.
Look through the tree of storages and find the assembled BeyondRAID – it will be marked with a special icon for easier identification. Check whether there are any accessible partitions on it. If you cannot see any, select the storage and search for valid file systems by their metadata using the corresponding tool from the toolbar. Specify the file system type to be detected, or choose several possible options, if you are not sure.
Scan the found partition to get back deleted or lost files.
Once the needed partition is found, you can stop the search and select it to review its content. To recover deleted or lost files, you will have to run a storage scan. Modify the parameters of the process, if required, and click "Start scan".
Select the necessary items recovered by the program and save them to any safe storage.
Wait for the software to complete the scanning procedure. After that, study the restored file system to find the needed folders and files. Click "Define selection", check off all the items you want to be copied and press "Save selection". In the opened window, enter any valid destination folder which is not situated on one of the source Drobo drives.
For a clearer picture of the process, please, watch the following video:
Last update: March 24, 2023