This article originally appeared in TidBITS on 2010-10-07 at 1:24 p.m.
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DroboPro FS NAS: Is Eight Enough?

by Michael E. Cohen

Last week, Data Robotics [1] introduced the big brother of their five-bay Drobo FS network-attached storage device, the DroboPro FS [2]. Like its older sibling, released earlier this year, the eight-bay DroboPro FS provides an out-of-the-box NAS (network-attached storage) aimed at the small-to-medium-sized business market. The base unit costs $1,999 without drives and is available immediately from a variety of resellers [3]; Data Robotics will start selling the unit online within 8 weeks.

New with the DroboPro FS are dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, so that the device can provide either failover redundancy or can be configured to use one port for data access on the local network and the other port to sync backups to another DroboPro FS. This latter capability, which enables you to replicate your storage off-site, comes via the Drobo Sync application, due as a free update to the included Drobo Dashboard software at the end of October 2010.

The DroboPro FS also features higher potential storage capacity, upping the number of drive bays from the five available in the Drobo FS to eight. Depending on how you populate the bays and configure the device, you can have as much as 16 TB of available storage.

The device makes use of a RAID-like architecture, dubbed "BeyondRAID" by Data Robotics, that provides for either one- or two-disk data redundancy with the capability to mix and match drives of different sizes and from different manufacturers. Drives can be added or removed (for replacement with a more-capacious model or because of drive failure) on the fly without data loss.

As with the entire line of Drobo products, the DroboPro FS is designed to be platform-agnostic, so that Mac, Windows, Unix, and Linux users can all take advantage of the device's storage. Mac users will be pleased to find that the DroboPro FS is easily configured as a Time Machine storage location.

The DroboPro FS is the second NAS available from Data Robotics, joining several direct-attached storage devices and the high-end DroboElite storage area network device in the company's Drobo product line.

[1]: http://www.drobo.com/
[2]: http://www.drobo.com/products/drobopro-fs.php
[3]: http://www.drobo.com/profspartners/