Drobo 'data robot' revamped with Firewire
'Infinite-capacity' data safe gets faster
Data Robotics has launched the second generation of its Drobo "data storage robot", upping the unit's data-handling speed and adding a pair of Firewire 800 ports to the original's USB connector.
It's all in the name of performance, DR said, and the fact that a fair few Drobo users are Mac owners. The 2G Drobo incorporates not only the extra portage, but also a new, faster processor and improved firmware to control how your files are arrayed across however many hard drives the unit contains.
Data Robotics' 2G Drobo: souped up
A Drobo has room for four SATA hard drives. Insert at least two, of whatever capacity, and the device provides full security against the failure of any one drive, and allow you to remove and replace a duff drive while still accessing your data. Extra drives come on stream almost as soon as they're added to the array.
That's thanks to DR's proprietary software. However, in the past that's been countered by a big speed slowdown that begins to kick in as the array - presented to the host Mac or PC as a single file-space, becomes full.
Tom Loverro, Data Robotics' Director of Product Marketing, told us that the company has refined its algorithms which, combined with a faster ARM processor, and those Firewire 800 connectors gives a doubling of performance, delivered by faster data transfers, particularly when the system gets full.
Loverro said owners of the first-gen Drobo will be offered a firmware upgrade bringing some of the benefits of the new model to their machines. It will be made available in a couple of month's time, he said.
Now with Firewire 800
The new model, available in the US immediately and in Europe later this month, is priced at $499 - the same price as the previous version. The UK price will fall, from £350 to £299. That's the unit price, without drives. DR's DroboShare network connectivity add-on is $199/£160 extra. Drobo 2G is compatible with FireWire 400, provided you have a suitable adaptor cable.
DR calls the Drobo a robot because it entirely automates the array set-up and copes with drive insertion and removal off its own bat. A simple on-device UI provides green, amber and red status read-outs for each drive and a row of ten blue LEDs to indicate overall capacity utilisation.
DroboShare network storage 'robot'
still *rubbish* if it has no Ethernet
oh, sorry, that's right, I'm wrong, they DO have Ethernet support, but only if you pay an addition £150 for the add-on pack (what a rip off ! ...) "Pay £150 for something you get as standard on every other product on the market !" great marketing !
Drobo = good, NAS not so good for Time Machine
If you are backing up using Time Machine, Drobo + Time Capsule = happy. Until Apple decides to let Time Machine do its thing with an off-the-shelf NAS this is the way to go for multi-Macbook homes.
Well, once you buy the Drobo and the Share, and then the drives, it'll have worked out to be the same kind of price as an Infrant/Netgear ReadyNAS NV+ anyway, so you may as well go for a grown-ups NAS box. I was in the market for a new NAS, and came across the reviews at TrustedReviews. They kinda speak for themselves, but suffice to say, the Drobo looses out big time when you compare it to the ReadyNAS, so I plumped for the ReadyNAS and have certainly not been disappointed. And it comes with a 5 year warranty that covers the drives too.