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Drobo S BeyondRAID 5 Bay Diskless Storage Array Enclosure - DRDR4A21

  • 3.5" SATA I / SATA II
  • USB 3.0 / IEEE 1394b / eSATA
  • 10TB Maximum
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Learn more about the Drobo DRDR4A21

General

Brand
Drobo
Model
DRDR4A21

Configuration

Form Factor
5-Bay

Hard Drive Performance

Included HDD Capacity
Diskless System

Package Contents

Package Contents
Drobo S (2nd Gen)
External power supply (100v-240v) with U.S. 110v power cord
eSATA cable
FireWire 800 cable
USB 3.0 cable
User Guide and Quick Start Card (printed)
Drobo Resource CD with Drobo Dashboard application, help files, and electronic documentation

Manufacturer Warranty

Parts
2 years limited
Labor
2 years limited

Quick Info

Warranty

  • Limited Warranty period (parts): 2 years
  • Limited Warranty period (labor): 2 years


Customer Reviews of the Drobo DRDR4A21

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  • Matthew T.
  • 11/8/2012 9:02:36 AM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month

3 out of 5 eggsDon't Drobo

Pros: It works. It does what it says and the ability to build a raid array with any drives is fairly impressive.

Cons: It's slow. Writing to it is fairly slow, reading from it is excruciating. Also it has a very poor interface program (drobo dashboard). It works, but at this price it should do more than just function, it should function quickly and intuitively.

Other Thoughts: support is TERRIBLE, and it is quite quirky. I wouldn't suggest this to anyone as, even with it's strengths, it is never the best possible option. If you need a NAS solution, then it pays to take the more efficient route, which might include a more complex setup, but you will benefit greatly from doing so.

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

  • Richard C.
  • 9/5/2012 12:33:52 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: more than 1 year

5 out of 5 eggsBuying Another S/FS

Pros: Rather than keep buying small (eg 1- or 2-TB externals), I bought a Drobo S and filled it with some EARS 2TB internal drives. It's been a workhorse since. I've lost one drive since I bought it, and that's probably due to the A/C shutting off in my apartment mid-summer. Otherwise, it's been bulletproof. Fast (eSata), easy (no problems) and behaves just like any external, except it's essentially a bottomless pit of data and is always accessible. And everything I stash on there is -- I know -- completely protected except if I have a fire or a break-in. No worries, going back for more (probably another S or an FS, not really sure, but not really worried). Great product -- not cheap but no complaints and no problems means I'm a repeat customer until someone gives me a reason not to be.

Cons: Pricey, doesn't flash its lights (oh wait -- it does. Nevermind).

Other Thoughts: I've been tempted to get something by Synology, but I don't really know why I would bother defecting when Drobo -- hardware, service/support, reliability -- has been stellar. No reason to go anywhere else.

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

  • Karl J.
  • 6/3/2012 4:48:10 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month

5 out of 5 eggsDrobo S Review

Pros: Drobo has done a great job of simplifying the RAID and setup experience.
Power Management is great, with 5x1TB's it only consumed 43W in active mode which helps on the utility bill.
In standby it consumed 20w and less than 1w in deep sleep.
R/W performance using FW800 on Mac (around 80MB/sec Read, 70MB/sec Write).

Cons: Needs rebooting when changing interfaces (between E-Sata, USB 3.0 and FireWire 800).
Typically you select one and go with it, so not a big deal in most cases.

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

  • Brandon K.
  • 2/4/2012 10:01:24 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: more than 1 year
  • Verified Owner

1 out of 5 eggsUnreliable after 2 years

Pros: - easy expandability

Cons: - too expensive
- eSATA interface never worked right
- very poor product documentation
- support tickets on Drobo's web site go unanswered

Other Thoughts: eSATA never worked right on this thing, even using a Drobo-recommended card. Now after two years the device is spontaneously powering down. No explanation, no error log.

I opened a support ticket on Drobo's web site and got only a scripted response with trivial diagnostic instructions regurgitated from their "knowledge base". 12 days later and I've gotten no help from them at all.

So after 2 years and $800 I have an unreliable device responsible for my most critical data. Not sure what to do other than move on to another, more reliable NAS product.

Wish I had read the NewEgg reviews of this and other Drobo products; never would have bought it.

DO NOT BUY A DROBO!!!!

7 out of 13 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Charles A.
  • 7/28/2011 1:29:28 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month

3 out of 5 eggsNote about Randomly Disappearing

Pros: I know they've been around for a little while now...but what a great idea for easy use of RAID.

Ease of use
Ease of expansion

Cons: Drobo Dashboard's needs to be able to setup the device using EVERY interface ...not just USB

Could be priced better considering the issues with their own software having trouble with their own device....

It's not exactly slow... but it could be faster

Other Thoughts: Windows 7 (and Vista for that Matter) power settings (even on "high performance") allows for the powering down of devices to save power. I had the same problem with it "randomly disappearing" from Explorer until I went into the device manager and un-checked the "allow this device to be turned off to save power" for the interface that I was using. I use this device on my desktop via FireWire 800, and my laptop via USB.... In both cases this fixed my Issues. Just throwing it out there...

If/when they can un-f%$& the dashboard so that it works like it should... it will be a 5 star product.

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

  • Don M.
  • 7/15/2011 7:17:59 AM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month

2 out of 5 eggsDrobo S eSATA does not work

Pros: Easy to use. Technical support is ok

Cons: Too expensive. Limited eSATA support

Other Thoughts: Purchased a few days ago.

eSATA interface does NOT work with 4 different configurations I've tested (3 on a PC and 1 on a laptop).

After trying to work this out w/ Drobo technical support. I was shipped a 2nd unit. Same issue.

Appears that the Drobo S (via eSata) is only known to work with a handful of different SATA cards.

Summary - If you are interested in eSATA access/performance and unless you know for a fact that the Drobo S already works w/ some setup you might have, I would stay away from this product.

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

  • Andrew I.
  • 4/30/2011 11:04:58 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year

1 out of 5 eggsThree Strikes, Data Robotics is Out.

Pros: The UPS guy wrote "Merry Christmas" on the box when he delivered it.

Cons: - Third unit to eat my data / have weirdo issues.
- Randomly wont mount on MAC or PC's
- Tech support and repair services an absolute joke.
- Drives regularly overheat, ventilation is horrible.
- Fan in my unit is pretty loud, not a big deal to me.
- Physically not made very well. Extremely cheap components both on the inside and out.
- Rubber gasket on the front lid regularly falls out. Isn't glued or anything.
- Runs out of memory when running extended volume repairs (according to diagnostic logs sent to support).
- Drobo Dashboard software often won't "see" my device dispite several software reinstalls, OS reinstalls (as instructed by tech support), etc.
- Just plain dont buy products from this company if you're looking for a quality product.

Other Thoughts: I purchased the original Drobo right after the second hardware revision. Things were fine for about 4 months, then the transfer speeds slowed to less than one meg/sec, completely out of the blue. Unit was less than half full. After about a month back and fourth with tech support, they shipped me a new one via an RMA. Put it up on Bay' right away. Lost $250 on it. Come to about a year ago i hear about the Drobo FS. Sounds like a great device, TIme Machine suport, SMB fileshares, all new, etc. 3 months in it ate my data, like all of it. Wouldn't mount on a PC or MAC. Spent several weeks again with support, finally got them to service the unit and recover my data. They managed to get most of my data back but was a complete mess. There was also a sticky note on it saying "Do not touch!" when i got it back. Very high end operation. I now own then Drobo S as i insisted they replace my FS with the S. It's now showing signs of data destruction, same as the last 2. I have had it with Drobo.

7 out of 12 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Nathan E.
  • 4/14/2011 1:13:19 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month

2 out of 5 eggsBeware

Pros: It's small, simple, and looks good.

Cons: Price is a bit high given that it is flakey. Using it via USB 3 or even USB 2 - randomly disappears from Windows Server after being connected for 24 hours. Had the same experience as another user - tech support told me to run CHKDSK or download 3rd party data recovery tools. After only owning it for a week?

Pathetic. 1) Don't trust USB 3 chipsets, firmware, and drivers. 2) Drobo support is questionable at best. Their phone system died while I was talking to them. When I called back, the support switchboard person said, "My computer just crashed so I'm back to paper. Can I have your name and number, and I'll walk this over to the tech?"

Yeah.... good thing I kept my old, trusty Seagate external drives.

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

  • Joseph D.
  • 4/2/2011 9:43:39 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsEasy, Great and Safe storage solution

Pros: This is a great solution for migrating you data with limited drive space. Just add drives when they become available. As for reliability… I run a server 24/7 with this unit as the main data store. No problems with windows server 2003. Windows Home Server needs to limit the volume size to 2TB. You have to configure the DROBO using the USB or Firewire Ports first. DROBOs Dashboard software does not work using the ESATA port. The ESATA works great on the HP Media Smart Server EX470. Sustained data transfer of 70MB + on 1000B-T. This unit can be configured to recover form a dual disk failure in the array. Single is the default.

Cons: The only issue I have run into is with the DROBO Dashboard and ESATA. ESATA works great after being setup. Really not a big deal. Just setup the DROBO with the USB first.

Other Thoughts: DROBO is a very stable platform for either MAC or PC.
I have an older DROBO in service for 3 years with no issues. It’s primary purpose is Graphic Design.
With the success or the prior unit I purchased this unit. It’s primary purpose is HD video streaming. Works great.
Honestly the other users probably have unknowingly induced their problems with the DROBO.

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

  • Derik J.
  • 3/11/2011 9:00:58 AM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month
  • Verified Owner

1 out of 5 eggsDo not trust this with your vital data.

Pros: Looks nice and is very quiet.

Cons: Plain and simply, you cannot trust it with your data...
I am a graphic designer/photographer by trade, with 15 years of experience building PCs, setting up systems, etc.
I purchased my Drobo S because I needed a safe place to store my photography, stock images and illustrations—someplace that I could trust with the files and information that were vital to my business.
I installed 5 brand new WD Caviar Black 2TB drives, connected the Drobo to my system via USB 3.0 (which was available through the motherboard).
Everything was running fine until yesterday. Suddenly even though the Drobo dashboard says there is information on the drives (1.2TB worth) and that the Drobo is healthy, there is no longer a recognized volume on the drive. So my information is inaccessible.

Other Thoughts: I called Drobo tech support. They could give me no reason as to why this happened, and their only solution was for me to buy and run a third party application which would scan the volume and try to recover my files. I started this yesterday... it is going to take almost 7 days for it to scan the volume and then I am crossing my fingers hoping that I will be able to recover the important information that this purchase was supposed to protect.

12 out of 13 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

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