One day my Drobo stopped appearing on my iMac desktop. Tried the usual restart and troubleshooting methods but it would not mount on the desktop. I then tried the disk utility in OSX. It told me that the disk lacked a directory and needed to be formatted. I then checked the Drobo dashboard app and it did show the drive as healthy. Everything looked good until I noticed that the drive showed as unformatted!
Thats right! The Drobo somehow lost its directory and formatting. I contacted Drobo and they said they could send me a new device but I was out of warranty. They suggested I try Data Rescue 3 (http://www.prosofteng.com/products/data_rescue.php)to try and recover the files. I had about 2.5 TB worth of images in the device. It took 8 days running in the background to recover the files. The files were mostly recovered but the Lightroom catalogues were lost. That means all me edited files were gone. Just the raws remained. So I recovered most (not all) of my files but they were recovered by file types not by date created. This means I had a jumbled mess to try and organize. Still in the process of doing this and no end in sight.
I then tried another program Disk Warrior that restores directories. I figured if I could restore the directory the files would magically reappear. No such luck it seems. It did not work so I contacted their tech support. They were very helpful and accessed my computer to try and see what they could do. After trying several things the tech said that the directory was gone! No data where it should have been. He said that he had seen this happen a few times after the new OS upgrade. Two of my 4 drives in the Drobo are Western Digital. WD drives are loaded with a low level disc utility that was incompatible with the new OSX Mavericks update. WD’s SmartWare or Drive Utility software is what they are called. Here is a link to a thread: https://discussions.apple.com/message/23842960#23842960.
This caused the utility to erase the directory on the two WD drives the first time I shut down the iMac. Despite Drobo being redundant it does not write two directories. If the directory goes you have a big black brick with all your photos but no way to access them other then with recovery software. And even then you loose your Lightroom .cat files.
WD has admitted fault with their drive: http://community.wd.com/t5/News-Announcements/External-Drives-for-Mac-Experiencing-Data-Loss-with-Maverick-OS/m-p/613777.
Basically here is what WD stated and what happened to my “safe” Drobo:
On October 30th, 2013 Western Digital informed registered customers of affected products via E-mail regarding reports of Western Digital and other external HDD products experiencing data loss when updating to OS X Mavericks (10.9). Our investigation to date has found that for a small percentage of customers that have the WD Drive Manager, WD Raid Manager and/or WD SmartWare software applications installed on their Mac, there can be cases of a repartition and reformat of their Direct Attached Storage (DAS) devices without customer acknowledgement which can result in data loss.
Drobo is a great device. I got it because I knew my data would be safe without having an additional back up. I figured that if the Drobo unit failed I would get another one and put my drives in it. It does work that way! If a drive fails then I just replace the bad drive. Only time I thought I ran the risk of loosing data was if two drives failed at the same time. How unlikely was that? Almost impossible right? Well that’s exactly what happened. They did not fail mechanically but because WD software was incompatible with the OSX Mavericks upgrade. The software erased drives directory without even a prompt to do so. Who is to blame here? Well I should have had another back up drive. WD should have checked compatibility with Mavericks and Drobo should offer up a warning if it’s directory is being rewritten.