I understand. The fact remains that Apple does not now, nor have they ever supported anything other than the devices specifically enumerated in their Time Machine technical support documents.
The error you describe is typical of nonconforming implementations. It will never be reliable. Search this site for hundreds if not thousands of reports similar to yours, dating back to Time Machine's original implementation in Leopard.
It allows me to centralize all of my mac device (5) backups to one safe/redundant location and it works flawlessly 99% of the time.
I have used each of the various Time Machine configurations specifically enumerated in Apple's Time Machine technical support documents. They have worked flawlessly 100% of the time, as it has for all my Macs in all their locations, using every conceivable supported configuration, since Time Machine's inception over a decade ago. No failures to back up or restore, not a single one, ever. That is not 99% or even 99.999% reliable. It's 100%.
I also understand that everyone's backup requirements are different. If you consider 99% reliability an acceptable metric that is your decision to make, but any backup strategy less than 100% reliable would be unsuitable for my requirements. Contact "Drobo" as you wish. They will blame everyone but themselves.
How to use Time Machine to back up or restore your Mac - Apple Support refers to a "network backup". In that context they are referring to these specific devices:
- An AirPort Time Capsule's built-in drive (any model)
- An external USB drive connected to an AirPort Time Capsule (any model) or AirPort Extreme (802.11ac model only)
- Network volumes connected using Apple File Protocol (AFP)
Which one of them corresponds your "Drobo"? The answer is none of the above, because it does not use AFP, a proprietary Apple protocol they license to no one. Instead, non-Apple NAS devices use a buggy open source poor imitation of it that tends to break with every macOS upgrade and many updates.
It gets worse:
The most common format for a Time Machine backup disk is Mac OS Extended (Journaled) format.
Time Machine also supports Mac OS Extended (Case-sensitive, Journaled), Mac OS Extended (Case-sensitive, Journaled, Encrypted), and Xsan formats. If your disk uses the Master Boot Record (MBR) partition type, some partitions might not be available for use with Time Machine.
Which file format does yours use? Most non-Apple networked disks are not formatted Mac OS Extended (Journaled). That's a fundamental Time Machine requirement. Nothing else will be reliable.
The link provided doesn't appear to directly address the error message I posted.
Sure it does. It tells you everything you need to know. It does not mention a "Drobo" because it is not an option.