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Drobo 5N 5-bay NAS Storage Array, Gigabit Ethernet

  • 5-Bay
  • Usage Backup & stream media through personal cloud
  • Diskless System
  • 1 x 10/100/1000M
  • Pin It
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Learn more about the Drobo Drobo 5N (DRDS4A21)

Quick Info


  • Limited Warranty period (parts): 1 year
  • Limited Warranty period (labor): 1 year

Customer Reviews of the Drobo Drobo 5N (DRDS4A21)

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  • Timothy B.
  • 2/19/2014 12:28:58 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsWorks Great

Pros: It was super easy to setup! A quick install of the management software, installed the drives and plugged it in and was pretty much off and running.

Cons: The only thing that I have to say bad about it is that the Plex app does not do transcodeing when install on the DROBO, but if I would have read a bit more I would have know that before hand. So my fault and no eggs lost.

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Thomas S.
  • 1/4/2014 1:27:43 PM
  • Tech Level: Average
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsMind at ease drobo

Pros: Simple to setup with easy to follow instructions.
Just insert 5 WD-2TB drives and let it do the work you want.
No hassle with a RAID configuration.
I did a lot of research on drobo, from both and other drobo internet review sources before making my purchase.
Not an eye sore to look at.
Easy to find and access drobo on my network.
Not an eye sore to look at and has satisfied my needs.

Cons: High Price.

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • John H.
  • 11/26/2013 7:32:05 AM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month
  • Verified Owner

2 out of 5 eggsAmending my previous review

Pros: It looks pretty and appears at first to operate at a high rate of speed.

Cons: Well, I was wrong on with my first review. This device is slow. I'm connected to a wired gigabit ethernet network and doing anything with the device has become unbearably slow. Plex movies stutter constantly if not outright freeze. I don't know if this lag in performance is a symptom of the volume of data on the drive, if it is just inherently a bad design, or both. The mSATA slot is apparently only compatible with a very limited number of mSATA devices. Newegg recommended the ADATA mSATA drive with my Drobo purchase. It shouldn't have. Now I'm stuck with an mSATA drive that is either bad, or just incompatible with the Drobo. Why tout a standard interface and have it only work with certain devices? I'm returning the Drobo and sticking with my older, faster RAID NAS.

Other Thoughts: If you manage to get the mSATA cache drive working, this device *may* be worth owning. I don't know though, and I'm not about to commit more money to trying to find out.

4 out of 14 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • John H.
  • 11/13/2013 8:42:16 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: less than 1 day
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsFast & Easy

Pros: Very very simple to set up and get running. Adding users - simple. Adding shares - simple. Setting share permissions - simple. Adding new apps to the Drobo - simple. I love the Plex media server. It's tremendously better and easier to use than the integrated Twonky Media Server of my LaCie 5Big Network 2. I love the smaller footprint of the Drobo and that I can dim the LEDs on the unit. The LaCie was always extremely bright when in use.

Cons: It's definitely geared towards home users. There is no domain integration, nor import of domain users like there is on my LaCie. That's not necessarily a con, per se, but it is a lacking feature. I think it's a tad over priced for what it is. It also lacks a port for local backup, whether USB or e-SATA. I think they expect users to backup to a cloud service, like Dropbox or Google Drive.

Other Thoughts: While I think the bare unit is a little overpriced, for a home use RAID NAS, it's really good. Even without the mSATA disk for Drobo Accelerator, it's pretty darned fast. On large file copies, I see upwards of 70MB/s. I'm curious to see how it performs once I get a working mSATA drive in there. Installing Plex was very simple, and I really love the interface and how it displays on my PS3. And thankfully, all the drives I ordered with this unit were in working condition, except for the mSATA drive.

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Robert B.
  • 10/10/2013 9:46:29 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsBuy

Pros: Hot swappable drives
Mix and match vendors, speed, and size
Total ease of use
EMC didn't make it

Cons: Price! (but you get what you pay for)
Can not cook bacon
When you have different size drives in this, it will hold some of the larger drive's capacity for "expansion use". Google it

Other Thoughts: You can mix and match drives in this. No other raid based system will allow that. Period.
The dashboard that many people complain about is very easy to use and designed for the average home/small business person. Also you dont need a degree or cert to use this. Heck, you dont even need to understand the different raid types.

If you built your own NAS unit you will spend more on the tower, power supply, motherboard, same make/model HDDs, software than you would on this. Go with the ease of use, that why you pay this much.

YOU MUST HAVE A GIGABIT network! it is not optional unless you like really, really, really slow file storage.

Would buy a second if I needed the extra space. But with 3 x 2TBs and 2x4TBs (drobo have 9 total after raid) don't really need it.

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Chris R.
  • 8/14/2013 7:12:12 AM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: more than 1 year

1 out of 5 eggsGarbage

Pros: multiple disk sizes in raid, and different hard drive.

Cons: HORRIBLE SUPPORT - Steve S is one that is coming to mind at Drobo Support
Over a month now running a repair on my drobo after a year of owning..
Slow connection to the device

Other Thoughts: I would go with a synology or any other nas type of device.
or even build one, new egg sells cheap parts and you can get a better machine for the buck by building a nas from scratch

1 out of 8 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Frank J.
  • 6/29/2013 9:26:13 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month
  • Verified Owner

4 out of 5 eggsA Second Chance....

Pros: Very nice unit, easy to set up. Took (3) 3 terabyte drives & one 1TB. Gives me 9.1 TB of storage. Had to upgrade Ethernet cables to take full advantage of speed.

Cons: Interface should be a browser application. Not easy to create public storage.... One major drawback is that your video driver may cause the Drobo application to crash upon start up. I have an ATI card & am running Win7. The system was using the MS supplied driver. I looked at the pgm dump and saw video info.. installed ATI and all is OK

Other Thoughts: I would get another unit if/when they go on sale. I got an RMA for this as it was crashing all time. After the video driver being switched, the Drobo app ran fine.

1 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Stephen G.
  • 6/22/2013 6:51:34 AM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsAn Excellent Choice

Pros: The Drobo 5N is a huge improvement over my previous NAS storage unit even though the old unit had a Giga-bit network connection it was no match for the Drobo's speed.

There are several different types of drives in my Drobo and once prepared work together without issue. Some drives take a little longer to prepare than others but I was aware before hand ... not really a Drobo issue. And once prepared these drives work as well as the rest.

The Drobo's processor handles files and sorts large folders much, much faster than my old unit. Considering the sheer number of files in these "large" folders the Drobo is quite impressive.

I have not yet installed an accelerator PCB yet. I am looking at the Plextor M5M but I'm in no hurry to make the purchase as the Drobo has already exceeded my expectations.

And it runs Apps, very cool indeed. I have installed a couple of Apps, one being the Plex Media Server. This App created a database for my music and movie library and made it available to the network. This not what I purchased the Drobo for but it is definitely a plus.

Cons: The price is a little steep but well worth the money. I was a little worried that the Drobo 5N would not meet my expectations but, I worried for nothing. The Drobo 5N is an Excellent choice.

Other Thoughts: The Drobo 5N is MAC friendly and the dashboard works quite well on my MAC. It's a little slow in finding the Drobo but that's me being impatient. It would be nice if the Dashboard remembered where the Drobo was last, and look there first the next time it searches for Drobos. Just a thought.

I am so impressed with my Drobo 5N that I am considering a Drobo 5D which has Thunderbolt (MAC ONLY) and USB 3.0 interface. I have a different brand at this time but now that I have experience the Drobo I realize I should have ... 2 Drobos.

I recommend the Drobo.

4 out of 6 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Ian L.
  • 6/7/2013 1:06:50 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 day to 1 week
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsRaided Terabytes FTW

Pros: I picked up five 4TB Seagate drives a week or so back when they were on sale and just plugged them into this beast last night. I now have ~15TB of raided space.

I also took a jump and ordered one of the newer Intel 524 Lincoln Crest mSATA drives (90GB) for the accelerator and while it wasn't one of the recommended ones on Drobo's page, it worked with out issues.

Cons: None but I will report back with any negative information

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Jeffrey L.
  • 6/5/2013 7:12:51 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year

4 out of 5 eggsWarning, Will Robinson!

Pros: Does all the things they claim it does -- as long as it works right.

Cons: The biggest problem is that, when it's working normally, it tends to lull people into a false sense of security. YOU STILL NEED TO MAKE BACKUPS.

Yes, your data will be fine if a drive fails, and probably even if two fail, but YOU WILL LOSE DATA IF THE DROBO FAILS.

I heard from one user who had a drive controller failure in the Drobo, and ended up with unusable data on all disks. She put all the (perfectly good) disks into another Drobo, but there was no usable data on them. Without a good backup, she was completely out of luck.

Yes, the most common failure is the hard drive, but it's not like the Drobo cannot fail; that's why they only give you a 2-year warranty. Word to the wise.

Other Thoughts: Please do not ask me the best way to backup 5 Tb; I have no idea. Another Drobo? 40 BD-XL (quad-layer blu ray) disks? 1,000 DVDs?

6 out of 9 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

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