Drobo, anyone?

Posted by Nick Meyers 
Drobo, anyone?
July 09, 2010 03:55AM
my girlfriend is a cinematographer, and of course she takes a lot of pictures.
she's starting to think about a better way to look after them than the growing number of Rugged drives she has,
and i suggested a simple Drobo.

i think some of you here are using these (i know Ben King wrote a review of the Drobo PRO)
so i thought i'd just check and see what you think of them.
any feedback would be appreciated.

thanks in advance,
Re: Drobo, anyone?
July 09, 2010 04:29AM
I haven't actually used one, but when I was looking around for an archival solution, the price of a drobo couldn't match a lower end RAID-5 4 or 5 bay array, but that was when it was new in the market. The price may have dipped now, so it's worth a look. I think the data throughput may have gone up too. What is real neat about it is how easily you can add drives to the array.

Re: Drobo, anyone?
July 09, 2010 04:43AM
yes, and i like that the drives don't have to match.
so we can "upgrade" it as we go.

Re: Drobo, anyone?
July 09, 2010 05:16AM
I've got one, just as you say, for an archive. It's small right now, just two two-terabyte drives in a mirror configuration, but it's got two empty slots so I can grow it quite a bit.

It's hooked up to my Airport Extreme base station, which also hosts my Time Machine drive via a USB hub. It's basically a flawless setup for me. I can get to the data on it fast enough, given that I don't do bulk transfers to or from the drobo very frequently. And if I need the data faster, the Firewire 800 port is there. (I got about 25 MB/s when I did my initial big data copy, which was over Firewire, so the drobo is anything but fast.)

While it wasn't incredibly cheap ? I think I paid about $350 for the device itself, plus the 2 TB drives were a hundred bucks apiece, all from Amazon ? it was a reasonable cost for what it is. And the virtue of it is that it doesn't require a host. If I wanted to create the same setup with an inexpensive RAID, I'd need to throw in the cost of a Mac mini to host it, since I don't want my laptop tethered to the disk stack all the time.

As for reliability ? meh. The drobo is, as far as I'm concerned, a pretty good basket. But it's still just one basket. I wouldn't put any eggs in it that I couldn't afford to break.

Re: Drobo, anyone?
July 09, 2010 10:50AM
Jeff --

Did the Drobo interface with your Airport Extreme OK? I presently have a Western Dig. My Book connected for archive purposes, and I'm thinking that the WD is a time bomb.

Re: Drobo, anyone?
July 13, 2010 11:37PM
The standard Drobo (2) is great as long as you don't have to move data quickly and don't want to edit video off it. I have one, and it is great as a long term archive, but forget about doing anything quickly with it. On the positive side, it has forced me to buy another RAID which means I now have high speed editing storage, and low speed archive which isn't all bad. Also, their after sales technical support is awesome.

I have not yet used their Drobo Pro or larger systems which apparently are quite a bit quicker.
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