Installing Plex on a Drobo 5N

Credit: bluetickdig
Having played with a Chromecast device recently and already having my home media on a Drobo NAS device I thought I'd try to combine the two. One option is to use Plex as a media server; it has an added bonus that if all goes well I can use it with my XBMC setup.

Before I can try any of these ideas I need a Plex server running somewhere ... time to install!

Download the Drobo Plex app

You can download the required app by:

  • visiting the Plex Downloads page
  • selecting the NAS option

  • choose the Drobo tab

  • download the Drobo app package

Due to the design of the site I can't link directly to the Drobo download section. I won't promote the use of a direct link to the package as they may update this package in the future.

Install the Plex app on your Drobo device

  • copy the zipfile into the mounted DroboApp share

  • restart the device using Drobo Dashboard
  • after a few minutes your device will have completed restarting and installing the new application; Plex should now appear in the 'Drobo Apps' section of the Drobo Dashboard

Configure Plex

It's unlikely that Plex will do what you want straight out of the box; it's a good idea to check the configuration and ensure it's to your satisfaction.
  • Find Plex in Drobo Apps in the Drobo Dashboard application

  • Click on configure; a page will open in your web browser
  • 'Agree' to the End User License Agreement
  • Log-in to you myPlex account; if you don't have one, you can register from this screen
  • Complete the Basic Setup
I found that 'Next' didn't work properly from the Basic Setup screen; you can navigate to the Library configuration step by clicking on 'Library' in the progress indicator near the top of the page.

Organising your media

If you don't already have media on your Drobo it's worth reading the section on creating a Plex media share in the How-To guide on the Drobo site.

If you already have media on there, it's recommended that you use a separate folder for each media type.

Create Your Media Library

After the Basic Setup you'll be in a screen where you can start adding sections to your library.

Add any sections relevant to you, and you should have something that looks similar to this:

Click 'Next' when you have finished adding sections.

If you wish you can add channels to your media server. For my initial setup I did NOT add any, and continued with 'Next'.


After the channel page you should see the Congratulations page. If you wish you may install the bookmarklet and make a note of the special email address.

Click done and you'll see the Plex Dashboard page.

Find something else to do for a while

If you have a lot of media, it will take some time for Plex to discover and index the files. Instead of watching the screen, why not treat yourself to a well-earned hot drink?

A word of caution

It's worth reading through the How-To guide on the Drobo site. One thing that seems noteworthy is the section on 'Video Formats and Transcoding':
While the 5N supports streaming multiple high definition videos simultaneously, it is not possible to transcode HD video in real time. For best user experience, Drobo recommends using a Plex enabled device over DLNA as it will allow for native playback of video content stored on the Drobo.

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