Drobo Will No Longer Guarantee Compatibility With macOS

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Drobos used to be a popular option for photographers to back up their photos, but the company recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and is now warning existing users, “We cannot guarantee compatibility with future OS updates“.

In an email sent out today, Drobo warned its users that their products are not compatible with macOS Ventura. Moreover, rather tellingly, they promised no fix for the incompatibility and instead went on to underline that they no longer guarantee that a Drobo will work with any future version of macOS. It seems clear that Drobo is now a skeleton company, and no further development is taking place.

For various reasons, Drobo was already on my “no buy list” in our guide to hard drives and RAID devices for photographers, so this doesn’t come as much of a surprise to me. However, it does make a mockery of the earlier statement issued by Drobo’s parent company StorCentric that “StorCentric remains committed to ensuring world-class customer service and satisfaction. The Chapter 11 restructuring will have zero impact on this pledge”. Very clearly, there will be plummeting levels of customer satisfaction if Drobo owners find they can no longer use their devices after an operating system upgrade.

It gives me no joy to report all of this. I have been a Drobo user since the Gen1 devices over a decade ago, and I still have one Drobo 5D3 as part of my current backup system. The device was next up on my things-to-upgrade list, but I will have to accelerate that plan and replace it immediately if I want to keep my macOS operating system up to date. If you didn’t already get the memo from any of my previous backup-related articles, you should no longer buy a Drobo. Not only that, but I would advise replacing any existing Drobos you have with something from our current guide. There are plenty of great Drobo alternatives out there now.

Full Email From Drobo

“Thank you for entrusting Drobo with your critical data. We have found that the upcoming macOS Ventura update is currently incompatible with Drobo. We cannot guarantee compatibility with future OS updates. Therefore, if you are planning on upgrading your macOS we highly recommend backing up data that resides on your Drobo to mitigate any unknown impacts of incompatibility. Furthermore, the Drobo should be shut down prior to performing the OS update.

Before any major computer update, have a backup plan in place. Experts agree having 3 copies of your data is optimal, 2 copies onsite on different media types and one off-site copy”

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Dan Carr

Professional photographer based in Yukon, Canada, and founder of Shutter Muse. His editorial work has been featured in publications all over the world, and his commercial clients include brands such as Nike, Apple, Adobe and Red Bull.

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5 thoughts on “Drobo Will No Longer Guarantee Compatibility With macOS”

  1. Dan, thanks for the heads up on this re: Drobo. I use Drobo as my primary image storage and am now feeling compelled to make a change sooner rather than later. Probably going to go with OWC 8 bay after reading your comments on all the DAS / NAS options out there. Curious to know what you would recommend as best practices in terms of migrating all of the data from the Drobo to the new RAID device?

    Reply
    • There is no really easy way since you cannot simply move the drives from your Drobo into a new NAS without losing all the data. Personally, I think the easiest thing to do is buy a new DAS/NAS and put new drives in it. Then copy everything from Drobo to the new device with Carbon Copy Cloner. Then sell the drives from the old Drobo on your local buy&sell or Craigslist. Maybe keep one or two as spares in case you get a failure at some point in your new NAS/DAS.

      I agree the OWC is the way to go. My one final Drobo will be replaced with another 8-bay OWC in a couple of weeks.

      Reply
  2. Is there a way of transferring your Drobo hard drives to an alternative product and retain your time machine backups? If so, how and what alternatives? I have a 4 bay gen 1 Drobo. Ironically still functioning with Ventura. But, I have to manually re-enable several services and extensions using CleanMyMac.

    Reply
    • There is no way to simply move the drives from a Drobo. The easiest thing will be to buy a new solution and put fresh drives in it, then copy everything off the Drobo onto the new device. Then sell all the old drives from your Drobo.

      Reply
  3. I had a Drobo for a very short time a few years ago and found it very very unreliable. I was able to return it and switch it out for a proper NAS and I have been very happy with it ever since. Thank goodness I did that, since I am a macOS user!

    Reply

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