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You need to move the images, not necessarily the catalog(s). It's pretty easy to do if all of your images are in a root folder other than the Pictures folder, or even if they are in a folder inside of the Pictures folder. It sounds like they aren't, so you need to copy all the folders of images to the drobo, one folder at a time. After everything is copied to the drobo, rename the original folders using the finder. Simply adding 'x' to the end of the folder names will work. Do all of this with Lightroom closed.
After all the folders are copied, and renamed in the pictures folder, open Lightroom. You will see question marks on all of the folders in the Library panel because you renamed them. Now you can re sync the catalog to the new folder location on the drobo. Click on the folder question mark, and then navigate to the new folder location. After you have done this will all of the folders, you can delete them from your Pictures folder.
I wrote a short blog about this with screen grabs here. Can I move my Lightroom photos to a new hard drive. | Orchard View Color
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You can move the photos to an external HD by the following procedure:
- Use your operating system, COPY (not move) the entire hierarchy, of photos to the external drive, leaving the folder hierarchy unchanged.
- In Lightroom, reconnect via right-clicking on the top level folder and selecting Update Folder Location and pointing to the new location
- When you are 100% sure everything is working properly, delete the photos from the internal HD
More details and pictures are shown in "Part 2 — Updating Folder Location" of this document: Adobe Lightroom - Find moved or missing files and folders