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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
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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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  • Trevor T.
  • 5/14/2015 3:30:16 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: more than 1 year
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsUpdate - Rebuild Experience

Pros: Easy to use. Can use varying drive types and sizes. Many different apps available. Compact. Quiet. Large capacity. Fast enough for HD media serving. Friendly rebuild process.

Cons: Not really for full time business use, with multiple users read/write simultaneously. Proprietary RAID system. Not as fast as it probably could be, considering the Gigabit LAN and SSD feature. Software is very basic. Can be confusing to update firmware. Use the CAT6 cable it ships with! (wasted a lot of time with my own bad cable)

Other Thoughts: Update from previous review:
I've had my Drobo 5N for 18 months now, with 5 x 4TB Seagate 5900RPM desktop drives (ST4000DM000). After about 2 weeks, the bottom drive started displaying a "Warning" in the software, but things seemed to work fine. Onboard diagnostics identified a few bad blocks on the drive and the RAID software mapped around them. I continued to use the Drobo, filling it up with over 9TB of data. The average speed for large file xfers is about 80MB/s, up & down.
NewEgg recently had the ST4000DM000 drives on sale, so I finally bought a replacement for the "Warning" drive. I backed up EVERYTHING to single volume drives, powered down, cleaned the unit out, replaced the drive and powered up. It took about 15 HOURS to rebuild (which was completely expected), and all the data was available during that time. When I started the unit, the Drobo service on my PC notified me about the rebuild process. When it finished, a similar prompt appeared.
You could build a faster and more sophisticated NAS yourself if you want, and that makes sense for a business, but for simple large scale personal backup, the Drobo 5N is a great solution.

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  • David N.
  • 4/28/2015 3:13:08 PM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: more than 1 year
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsBest NAS

Pros: I use my Drobo 5N for storing ripped and streaming Blu rays, Dvd's and all of my personal documents and photos. It is perfectly capable of streaming high bit rate files to any of my HTPC and even multiple PCS simultaneously. This is all done without using the msata SSD option which I will be upgrading this coming week.

Cons: Costs money?

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  • Richard D.
  • 3/15/2015 11:28:19 AM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

1 out of 5 eggsNot for advanced users

Pros: LED lights indicating which drive is good/bad

Cons: Performance is literally the worst. It is worse than a single drive when in RAID6. It just is not very powerful. It's also way over priced for what you get. I built a WAYYY better array for less than this. If you're an advanced user, get a good RAID card and a case with a lot of drive bays.

Other Thoughts: Do yourself a favor and just build your own RAID system with a PC. There are soooo many options and you'll get way more than you pay for. If something goes bad you can replace it, you can troubleshoot a lot easier. I have 8x2TB drives in a RAID5 and the read/write speed is like 360 MB/s. The card was only $150 too and I can run Windows or Linux if I want.

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

  • James H.
  • 12/17/2014 7:36:24 AM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

4 out of 5 eggsDrobo 5N

Pros: I have used the Drobo 5N for about a month now and have added drives and removed drives to see how well it works and I am VERY happy with it. I ran into a problem one day and not sure if it was a NEW drive I ordered or the Drobo. I ran a report on the Drobo and uploaded it to them and had a response within a day.

Cons: Kinda of pricey

Other Thoughts: I like the Drobo Raid but in case the Drobo fails I will not be able to take my drives to another computer to read them, but I knew that before I bought it, but it would be nice to be able to read them on another computer.

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

  • Mr. T.
  • 12/8/2014 6:47:02 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 day to 1 week
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsVersatile, User Friendly, Dare I

Pros: I definitely like how easy this is to deploy and configure to your needs. This would definitely be a highlight for any novices out there. Allowing different disks is a plus but keep in mind it could slow down your total performance (I am not sure if this influenced negative reviews, but this is the case with mixing disk speeds / types). Additional Drobo hosted apps such as Plex are cool, I still have yet to fully utilize these but the addition is always a nice bonus.

The accelerator bay is a great addition for those who might have a lot of sharing going on with the unit. There are some model limitations but still an amazing feature without consuming a drive.

Compared to my old home server this is quiet, low profile, and looks amazing. You can tell some thoughtful engineering went into the entire design from beginning to end.

Cons: The price is more than some bare bones systems out there, but you truly get what you pay for. It is worth shelling out the extra cash for something this well engineered.

Other Thoughts: I have worked with a lot of additional storage units for personal media storage and backup. So far this has taken the cake and will make management of the health of my array much easier. I work with storage array networks as part of my job in IT and while this is not a SAN, I would consider looking at their products for entry level business devices in the future based on my impressions of Drobo.

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

  • David M.
  • 11/23/2014 4:38:43 AM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: more than 1 year
  • Verified Owner

4 out of 5 eggsGood for backup, not for media serving...

Pros: This unit has exceeded my expectations as a network location where I can archive my media. It has been very reliable and the one instance where I needed tech support, they were quick to isolate the problem and help resolve it. It has served my personal and professional needs better than expected.

Cons: One thing that me disappointed is that it is not fast enough to reliably serve/stream media.

Other Thoughts: My primary use of the Drobo 5N has been to archive video of athletic games to create sports recruiting films - and for that purpose it has exceeded my expectations. I only wish it would serve the video directly to my devices so I didn't have to move the video onto a local drive to review with clients.

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

  • Austin C.
  • 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.

4 out of 4 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.

5 out of 6 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 15 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 7 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

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