Feeds

Where to now for the data robot?

Limited options one way but wide open another

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Comment Data Robotics has the great mass of business data centre computing closed off but the small business market is wide open and waiting for Drobo-isation.

We talked to Tom Buiocchi, Data Robotics CEO, and also to Paul Thackeray, the EMEA VP, to get a picture of the Drobo company just after it had announced its refreshed 8-bay business Drobo line and its new top-end 12-bay product with thin provisioning and automated tiering.

The Drobo (Data ROBOt) is a unique product in terms of its feature set, which includes the so-called Beyond RAID protection, which enables users to populate the Drobo's drive bays with their own choice of 3.5-inch drives, choosing their own manufacturer and capacity levels. The user interface is a simple one based on red, blue and green indicator lights. These indicate drive health as well as capacity uptake, thus signalling when a drive update is needed to add more capacity.

Lastly the Drobo has a neat curvy cornered black enclosure. These three features don't sound much, but we understand that the firmware behind Beyond RAID, the key Drobo attribute, took two years to produce. We also understand that Data Robotics' founder Geoff Barrall had a very particular idea of what the device would look like, its features, and how it should present them to users. He was, we believe, quite persistent and insistent that the Drobo device should match his conception.

Today there is still no competing product that matches and exceeds the Drobo's functionality and feature set,

After Barrall left and went on to Overland Storage the Data Robotics board appointed Tom Buiocchi, an executive in residence at a Mohr Davidow Ventures, with strong sales and marketing skills among others, as its CEO.

He has helped the company to become more business-oriented. It has a file-sharing (NAS) Drobo and an iSCSI SAN (block access) product, which have both been refreshed in the recent announcement. Now we have the 12-bay product and a new Drobo Dashboard interface, which runs on a connected host server and shows the status, health and capacity take-up of a set of Drobos.

The 12-bay is a 3U rackmount unit and there is talk of a dual controller unit coming, also of a 2.5-inch drive version which would have more drive spindles, and we understand that 4TB drives are supported with testing under way or about to start.

The SSDs for the 12-slot box will be third-party ones qualified by Data Robotics, not supplied by Data Robotics. Expect mainstream SAS/SATA 3.5-inch SSDs to be on the list or, maybe, 2.5-inch ones in 3.5-inch carriers.

Drobo revenues

How well has Data Robotics done? There are some 150,000 Drobo customers with fewer than 200,000 units sold.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Next page: Drobo directions

More from The Register

next story
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
Turnbull should spare us all airline-magazine-grade cloud hype
Box-hugger is not a dirty word, Minister. Box-huggers make the cloud WORK
SanDisk vows: We'll have a 16TB SSD WHOPPER by 2016
Flash WORM has a serious use for archived photos and videos
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
Do you spend ages wasting time because of a bulging rack?
No more cloud-latency tea breaks for you, users! Get a load of THIS
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.