If any of you are following Scott Bourne you are probably aware of his love affair with the Drobos. He has so many of these that I think he is secretly aiming to be in the Guinness book of record for the person with the most Drobos. Scott is not afraid to share the love too! Follow him on Twitter and you will see that he is giving away about 3 of these units per week!
On my part, I have a love-hate relationship with this product. While I strongly believe that it is very good at what it does, I also see its biggest flaws.
The first of these being its price and the second the lack of SATA interface. I also did not like the fact that contrary to what Data Robotics is saying, your data could never be fully safe with a Drobo. In case on drive fail, you are always exposed to total lost until the self healing procedure is completed. Same as RAID-5 you gonna say? Not really, a few people have reported huge rebuild time (over 10 hours) compared to minutes for a RAID-5.
It seems like Data Robotics is listening and yesterday they announced the DroboPro: a 8 drive enclosure with better connectivity and data redundancy. You can go read the announcement and visit the product page.
I would love to say how cool this new product is, if it wasn’t of its enterprise level price tag (1300$) and the lack of SATA port. I doubt the price will stop people from buying it since it is targeted at small (and not so small) businesses, and they have introduced a new Ethernet port using the iscsi protocol for really fast transfers.
My favorite feature of this beast is the new RAID-6 (but better) system. Now, if a drive fails, you don’t even have to rush to the store to get a new one since the system can tolerate a two drives failure without flinching. This drastically reduces the exposure to risk when the drive is doing its self healing which has always been my biggest concern with the original Drobo.
So, will I get one? I don’t think so. It takes too much space on my desk and too much money out of my bank account. But if you really need the storage and safety, I think it’s a great product!
I am currently developing a low cost automated backup strategy for my system (I have 2 RAID-0 arrays!) that I will share once it is perfected.