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Switching off external enclosures


Tim H
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Hi,

 

I read with interest Jim Collison's article on using a Drobo to provide a Drive Extender substitute for Vail. My question for him was how do you switch the Drobo on and off automatically with the server? Jim suggested I post here to see what ingenious solutions others have because I can't get it to work! What I've tried is using one of those socket blocks that cuts power to the slave sockets once the device plugged in to the master socket is switched off but the problem is that it doesn't start the enclosure up fast enough on boot so the WHS sometimes thinks it's not there and it also seems to cut power before the enclosure has finished writing, which caused a lot of data errors.

I never found a solution, my workaround was not to use the external enclosure, to switch off folder duplication and to hold a backup copy of my files on my HTPC. When Vail was released I intended to build a full tower server and put the EX475 and the HTPC drives in it. Now, that's not going to work, so it's back to plan, um, B, I think it was (I have a lot of plans), but with a Drobo or two instead, which brings me back to the power problem.

Has anyone else solved this? Besides just leaving it running, of course!

 

Thanks,

 

Tim

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Guest no-control

Yeah I don't understand the question. Why would you turn off a server? If its for maintenance, just use the power switch on the external box. This is what I did with EX470 and a Sans Digital eSATA box. Just power the box off after server is off and before server is turned on.

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Hello, I am with Drobo, here is a quick response to the question around handling shutdown / standby:

 

A USB-connected Drobo automatically goes into standby mode to conserve power and extend product life (for your disks) in a few cases:

1) when it has not been accessed for 15 minutes

2) when the computer it is connected to is turned off

3) when the USB cable is disconnected

 

Naturally, disconnecting the cable can result in some data loss for operations that happen to be in flight at the time, but the more natural shutdown of the WHS ensures no data is lost. With the disks spun down, Drobo consumes low single digits in watts (less than a small nightlight bulb), so most people would choose to keep the unit in standby for the short period of time their WHS is down for maintenance, etc.

 

You can power off Drobo after shutdown, or in DroboDashboard there is a function to shutdown a Drobo, which is the safest way if you are turning off the disk independent of turning off the computer it is attached to. If you have power applied to Drobo when the server starts back up, when USB comes up on the connected system it will bring up Drobo.

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That's a great way to manage it. Thanks for the info!

Now item #1. Is that changeable at all? I'm assuming that's independent of Windows' power saver feature?

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Yes, on all units it is independent of windows power saving settings. The 15min duration is fixed in the 4-bay model, 5-bay and up can be adjusted, starting at 15min as the shortest duration, and up from there.

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  • 4 months later...

Why would you want to turn the unit on and off? Or are you wanting to put the drives to sleep?

 

Wow, sorry to have posted and run, I moved house shortly after posting and things got a little crazy (I couldn't even see my PC for a month)! I'm looking to put together a WHS 2011 machine now because I've just finished wiring-up the house with Cat 6 ethernet network and I can finally put my media streaming plans into effect.

 

Thanks everyone for your comments!

 

You're right, what I want to do is to be able to have a Drobo or eSATA box that will go to sleep when the server goes to standby. I shouldn't have said 'switched off' before.

 

The Drobo sounds like it handles the situation sensibly, thanks for the info. That's another tick in the Drobo column!

 

I've also found that APC do some energy saving things with UPSs, I've now got one for my dekstop PC. The Back UPS Pro can switch devices on and off as the main device switches on and off (and presumably when it goes into standby, though I haven't tested that). That's nothing that those socket blocks don't do but it will also let you choose the delay, so I could say, have the enclosure start-up after 0 seconds delay when the server starts but wait for 2 minutes before switching off when the server shuts down.

 

Regards,

 

Tim

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  • 1 year later...

Hi,

 

Resurrecting my own thread, now that the dust has settled (so much dust renovating a house!) I've gone and got a Drobo 5D. It's a very nice piece of hardware and being able to add and swap drives without disturbing WHS 2011s jittery backup engine is a real plus.

To recap: I've built my ten drive WHS 2011 box and that's been running well for over a year, I've ripped all my blu-rays, DVDs, CDs and scanned all my photos. I've put boxes in each room (with varying degrees of success) to access the server (why don't more devices support wake-on-LAN?!), everything that can be is wired to the gigabit LAN including a POE wi-fi hotspot.

The problem comes back to my original question. I'll explain what I'm trying to do, and what I've already tried:

 

I've setup my server to sleep using LightsOut, when it's not needed. When the server is asleep, I want the Drobo to use as little power as possible so:

 

Plan A: 10 minutes after the server goes to sleep, the UPS cuts the power to the Drobo.

Problem A: When the server wakes-up, the UPS restores power to the Drobo but the Drobo doesn't wake-up.

 

Plan B: When the server goes to sleep, the UPS leaves the Drobo powered.

Problem B: When the server wakes-up, it doesn't see the Drobo. If I reboot the server it finds the Drobo again.

 

Plan C: Leave the server on all the time and leave the Drobo on all the time.

Problem C: This works, and even solves the Wake-On-LAN problem since there's nothing to wake but I don't want to leave the server running all the time!

 

Plan D: Have the server shutdown rather than sleep but leave the Drobo powered. In theory the motherboard supports Wake-On-LAN from power off but I doubt it's

that easy. Also in theory, since the server is cold booting it should see the Drobo.

Problem D: I bet the motherboard won't really wake from power off. It'll take longer to get the server available for use when it's needed and I still have to leave the

Drobo powered.

 

I'm using the latest Drobo dashboard and the latest Drobo 5D firmware. The Drobo is connected to the server by USB using an Asus U3S6 board.

 

Does anyone have any ideas? I'm hoping there's something obvious I'm missing! Maybe I'm asking too much but it seems like a simple thing to me. Mario's post above seems to suggest that at least Plan B should work.

 

Regards,

 

Tim

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