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Pros: Self managing NAS box. Software plug ins give the embedded Linux OS additional capabilities if you need them, but what you don't need isn't in your way.
All the functionality of a full blown server without the complicated setup and maintenance.
I tried the home server route with WHS2k11 but it was just too much setup to get through. Bare in mind that I have been building and troubleshooting systems and networks for over 20 years. WHS2k11 is a whole new level of complication.
Cons: None! Why don't you have one yet?
Overall Review: I have five 2TB drives in single disk redundancy showing 7.25TB of space after distributed parity and formatting overhead.
The unit is essentially a self managing JBOD NAS box with single or dual disk redundancy. That self managing function supports hot swapping of failed HDDs and automatic rebuilds.
Pros: This is a great NAS for someone with almost no IT knowledge to people with somewhat high IT knowledge. Reading many of the reviews on here it doesn't seem like people have gone deep enough into the device. It runs on a custom Linux platform so there is a lot of potential. User permissions can be assigned to each file/folder through SSH. The apps on Drobo's site are the most basic apps. I have rTorrent, Apache, MySQL, PHP, vsftp, minidlna, and several other applications running on it.
The drives are a snap to install and get running. I ordered 5x2TB Samsung drives from Newegg when they had a Shell Shocker on them and they have been working great. I have all of my Windows ISO files from TechNet stored on there and can copy a 2GB file in just a few minutes.
Last week Drobo partnered with PogoPlug so now you can turn the Drobo into a cloud storage device. I basically now have a 10TB Dropbox account hosted in my house that I can access from anywhere (including iPhone and Android).
Cons: Access speeds are not the greatest, but I have found this is because the Drobo will spin down the drives when not is use (an adjustable feature). I personally am willing to wait the 5 seconds to load an initial folder so my drives will last longer. If you prefer you can disable this feature and access is almost immediate.
To really get the most out of the Drobo a user need to be familiar with Linux and how to SSH. User permissions are a pain from the GUI app that comes with it, but everything can be manged from command line over SSH.
This isn't an enterprise NAS so don't expect to get enterprise performance. For me, the capacity (5 drives), the ease of swapping drives, and the noise/footprint make it worth it compared to an enterprise NAS.
My only real complaint is how touchy it is. If the drives are spinning, don't bump the table it is sitting on. It will rebuild the entire RAID. You won't lose any data, but it takes FOREVER (mine took 17 hours).
Overall Review: Check other sites if you want to get the most out of your Drobo. A simple Google search for DroboPorts or Drobo Forums (drobospace) will get you started with some great apps that are made by a healthy community. Since the Drobo runs on Linux, you can cross-compile many (not all) apps and have it run reliably. The processor isn't very powerful and the RAM is pretty limited (I think something like 512MB) so just be aware of that when trying to run apps.
I'm not sure why people were having a problem mounting their Drobo in Windows. I just mapped mine by IP and haven't had any problems. It shares via Samba so it is pretty straight forward.
Overall I am very happy with the performance of this little device. I took off 1 egg for the price and for being so touchy about movement when it is doing something. I have 2 other friends with Drobos and they love them as well.
I suggest reading some of the forums from the advanced users before making a decision based on the reviews on this pag
Pros: Storage-wise, does what is advertised, and tech support is available 24-7.
Speed is not as fast as other, simpler units, but I was looking for a nice, "hands-off" RAID solution ... which this is.
Cons: You can't access your data if anything goes wrong with reboot.
I installed the "Firefly media server" drobo app -- a pretty well-established 3rd party app -- a few weeks ago. Everything worked fine for several weeks -- until I changed the iTunes "Share Name".
When I restarted the server to apply the settings, it would not reboot. I called Drobo tech support and the operator said the only way to fix this was to "reset the Drobo" (i.e. reformat it) and put all my data back onto it.
Luckily, I still have most of my data backed up on my old drive. But you can imagine my horror at discovering how easy it is to "brick" a unit that is purportedly a top-tier "Data Security" product -- by installing an app they link to from their site!
HAPPY-ish ENDING: After popping out the drives and rebooting a few times, I did manage to get Drobo working again and I immediately disabled Firefly ... but this doesn't make me feel ANY better about Drobo's "Apps" feature. STAY AWAY FROM DROBO A
Overall Review: For a fairly premium-$$$$ "Data Security" product like this (I paid $1000 in all), it seems like the "Apps" they link to from their site should either be more carefully vetted, or should run in some kind of sandbox ... or at least they should offer an "emergency" way to get in and remove them from the installation. None of the people on tech support could help me take ANY SORT OF RECOVERY steps for the data that was sitting on my TWO PERFECTLY FUNCTIONING DRIVES, so in my book that was a big fail.
FWIW, Drobo's site *does* warn you -- albeit in very mild language -- that 3rd party apps aren't supported and you need to know what you're doing, etc. ... but I am one of those users who *does* know what they're doing, and this issue (changing the display name of my iTunes "share") was clearly a bug in the Firefly / Drobo combination that took down my entire data store.
Pros: Seems to work, will know better when hard drives come down in price and all bays are filled.
Cons: None, yet.
Overall Review: One egg off for Newegg because they slapped their shipping label over the product barcode and product serial number labels thus making the rebate terms impossible to fulfill. Drobo has been helpful and insists it shouldn't matter since I've let them know ahead of time. But only time will tell if Newegg has cost me the $100 with their negligence.
Pros: expandable, dead simple
Cons: could be faster over the network
Overall Review: For those of you wondering what the difference is between the two models available on newegg, from Drobo's facebook page:
Drobo: ... they are actually the same exact product. DRDS2A24 is just the SKU for our retail packaging which comes with a pretty box. If purchasing online, you should order DRDS2A21 (it's cheaper!)
Pros: - Very Simple to use (Plug an Play).
- Grow Storage when you are ready. You can mix and match hard drive size. I recommend using the drobo calculator on drobo's web site to plan out you hard drive sizes.
- Simple redundancy, the unit can handle a failure of one or two disks depending on your options you set.
- I left the MTU setting at default and the transfer speeds are crazy fast. I did set it to 9000 and I lost performance but I blame my router for that so I set it back.
Cons: - My unit was a little loud for my taste but I am picky I just tucked it away in a closet and plugged it into the network.
- FYI, The lights on the front are bright and clear and the dim setting doesn't change it by much.
Overall Review: I use my Drobo FS with a WD TV Live unit and I love it. I store all my media on the Drobo and play it on my TV. Digital blu-ray files have never looked so good.
Pros: Flexible, adaptive storage. Easy setup, configuration, and maintenance. Relatively fast (see below for details). Beautiful dashboard UI. Supports arbitrary sizes and combinations of storage and offers two levels of protection. A five-bay offers a nice sweet spot of capacity, expandability, and cost.
Some reviews have criticized its performance, but mine is consistently outperforming several other NAS solutions I've tried (BlackArmor, Buffalo LinkStation, and shared and attached USB drives on file servers). I'm getting sustained writes of just under 30 MB/s (that's MiB/s, not Mbps) copying video files over GbE CAT6 and I'm using homogeneous standard desktop HDDs (i.e., not "performance" drives, and not "green" drives, and all five disks are the same exact model); your mileage will vary depending on the type of disks you're using and what else you have on your LAN. For best results, consider buying a cheapo GbE switch and two brand-new CAT6 cables.
Cons: Very expensive at retail, even on NewEgg. May be overkill for your needs.
Overall Review: Ultimately, whether a Drobo is worth it to you is going to depend on your needs. If you only want X TB of NAS, and don't care whether it's protected, then a Drobo is going to be a waste of money for you. If you want things mirrored, a Drobo is a waste. If you have a bunch of disks lying around ready to put into RAID5, then shop around--you can probably get an enclosure for cheaper. Then again, the management and configuration options may still make a Drobo worth it to you.
Pros: Same as before:
Small size, 5 bays, 3tb drive support, completely automated raid 5 or 6 NAS for $500.
Also Drobo tech support said when the new firmware comes out it should support 4TB drives.
Cons: Slow...read first review & other thoughts below.
Overall Review: I contacted Drobo support...they were helpful!
We were able to get whs 2011 to see the Drobo on the network.
Now with the speed issue...1st since whs couldn't see the Drobo I was running my backups through a Windows 7 machine which made the data go through the nic card on that machine and I was getting about 22mbs. Drobo support said drobo should sustain 24-30mbs.
Now that the server communicates to Drobo only through the switch I get sustained transfers of 80mbs.
Now that the initial backup is on the Drobo the weekly backup of about and additional 24gigs takes about 2 hours for it to check all the old files and transfer the new ones.
Setup is: SERVER-Xeon E5-2670 2.6GHz 8-Core/16gb ram/areca ARC-1880 controller 4gb ram/10 WD1002FAEX drives in a raid6/dual gigbit nic cards
DROBO FS with 5 WD2002FAEX drives
All run through cat6 and a gigbit switch.