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Why the Drobo Rocks

July 16, 2007

I recently detailed why I did not think much of RAID storage solutions. Well, I recently purchased and set up the Drobo, which has all of the data protection advantages of RAID 5 without any of the disadvantages:

  • The Drobo allows you to add hard drives as you need them, in whatever size you want to purchase.
  • This allows you to purchase whatever the most economical drives happen to be at the time, which is why I was able to spend only $270 on two 500GB drives instead of a $700 on two terabyte drives to get a terabyte of available storage.
  • When the Drobo’s four slots are filled and I want to expand further, I can replace a drive with a higher capacity drive at any time. I don’t have to worry about matching drive I already have or building a whole new array with higher capacity drives.
  • Adding drives requires only slipping in the bare drive, which the Drobo locks into place. There is no downtime involved.
  • Because you never have to start over from scratch, you don’t need to worry about redefining NTFS sharing and associated security, which you would when moving from an old RAID array to a new RAID array.

I paid $480 (shipped) for my Drobo and feel like I have already paid for the unit just in the cost savings in buying the drives described above.

The Drobo doesn’t have is an eSATA connection (it connects via USB 2.0), nor can it be used as networked attached storage. Neither of these bothers me:

  • First, the USB 2.0 is plenty fast (and I understand from Engadget’s that the reason there is no eSATA is that the Drobo would not be able to take advantage of faster speeds).
  • With a full blown SBS 2003 box I really don’t have a need for network attached storage. Others may not need (or want to run SBS 2003) but the enthusiastic response to Windows Home Server indicated that people really do want a PC on 24×7 rather than just a NAS box. A PC lets you run applications (like recording software) all the time, and lets gives you more flexibility even in accessing your media– you can run whatever media server software you want rather than being tied to some that your NAS box might support.

I wholeheartedly recommend this device (after two whole days of use!).

Note: Credit for the phraseology of the Drobo rocking should probably go to Thomas Hawk, who used this phrase in his review about a month ago.

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From → SBS

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