DroboPro FS NAS: Is Eight Enough?
Last week, Data Robotics introduced the big brother of their five-bay Drobo FS network-attached storage device, the DroboPro FS. 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; 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.
Drobo series of NAS is eye candy in the world of NAS and offers obvious attraction to us Mac users. However, I've recently thoroughly considered all the issues for my first NAS purchase and installation and decided against Drobo. The reason was simple, obsolescence risk. Drobo NAS units are managed through a proprietary application and after 20+ years in the Mac world, I am weary of any of these proprietary softwares that may become obsolete with the next OS update. Instead I went with another brand (QNAP) which has a standard browser based administration interface, one that similarly offers TimeMachine and iTunes music server compatibility. I may be proven wrong in the long run but certainly have no regrets at this stage with my chosen unit up and running.
Not clear how this new product resolves the more fundamental problems drobos have - i.e. they're much harder to configure than advertised, much slower than similar storage devices, and don't allow data recovery if things go wrong due to their proprietary approach.
Can someone tell me what kind of tranfer rate Drobo FS can provide to a mac using AFP over Gb ethernet in real world use?
I'd like to be able to use my Gb LAN from my 2010 iMac but I find the speeds are abysmal no matter what I do, typically only 20-25MB/s, just over twice as fast as 100b/T ethernet provides me.
FW800 is my preferred solution (65-80+MB/s) unless I can get at least 50MB/s via ethernet.