Data Robotics DroboPro
A network attached storage device that's simple, safe and scalable
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Ratings BreakdownEditor's Rating:
- Value for money:
Capacity: Up to 16TB
Connectivity: iSCSI, FireWire800, USB2.0
Number of drives: 8 maximum
RAID support: BeyondRAID technology
The original Drobo was launched back in June 2007 and now US-based Data Robotics has launched the DroboPro, which is designed to offer scalability for those with large storage needs.
On unpacking the storage array we immediately found it was well built and sturdy and, as a result, somewhat heavy. The device is rack-mountable though it can also sit on a desk without looking like a fish out of water. If you intend to rack mount the device, you'll need to buy additional mounting hardware. The device features two variable
speed cooling fans that automatically adjust their speed depending on the cooling needed and in testing, these fans never became audible. However, your mileage will vary depending on the number and types of drives you use.
On the inside the device proved equally well built and thanks to its size, it is able to accommodate eight 3.5-inch hard drives. This would allow you to reach a maximum capacity, today, of 16TB by using eight 2TB drives. Here the DroboPro is yet more flexible beyond its physical drive capabilities because you can actually use hard drives that are of different capacities. This is a unique feature because most storage arrays
that provide data redundancy and RAID functionality require the use of equalsized
drives. The DroboPro also features a handy capacity meter on its front end, so you can quickly and easily find out how much space you have left without having to use software.
In terms of interfaces the DroboPro is quite flexible again because it features iSCSI (using gigabit Ethernet), Firewire 800 and USB2.0 connectivity. So depending on your needs, you can connect the DroboPro to a workstation directly or go the network route.
Installing drives is a piece of cake; you simply need to remove the DroboPro's front cover and slide the drive into its bay. Setting up the device is equally simple thanks to useful documentation and an installation disc; we were able to install some drives and have it on our network in 15 minutes.
We installed four drives to run in the DroboPro initially and later added an additional two. We were impressed here because unlike other storage arrays the Drobo almost instantly made the new space available (without any down-time). The device is clever in terms of drive organisation because whereas traditional RAID setups require you install drives in the same order they were in (before you removed them), the DroboPro will maintain your array regardless of order.
On the performance front the device proved capable, we were able to stream a 1080p video, as well as a 720p video to our machine without any dropped frames. Starting a file transfer from our machine to the Drobo didn't slow it down either, which ultimately makes it a great tool for those with demanding storage needs.
easy-to-setup, excellent data redundancy.