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Monday, July 16, 2007

Drobo is on my wish list

I've been contemplating buying some extra drive space and have been weighing internal versus external drives for a little while now. Cost, speed, capacity, and dependability are all considerations. I've not taken a good inventory, but I know that we are guilty of having many copies of files over our small home network. I'd like to say that this was planned for redundancy, but I'd be lying. Part of the reason I've been thinking about hard disk space is that some of our older machines are starting to cough a bit, and I thought it would be a good time to create a file share, move some files off of the older / smaller primary drives, and consolidate our media collection. RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Drives) is a great option but it can be costly. Drobo however is a new product by Data Robotics Inc. that offers small business and home users the same type of redundancy in a USB device. Drives continue to get larger but space is not the only consideration, a single large drive puts you in a potentially vulnerable situation should that drive fail. Data Robotics calls Drobo "the first fully-automated storage robot" and "Fully automated storage you don't have to manage". You have to watch this demo video to truly appreciate the value of Drobo! I'm a little bummed that it's not available in Canada yet, but I think I'll be stocking up on 3.5" SATA drives for now, in anticipation. If this little guy performs as well as it does in the video, it is (in my humble opinion) the ideal way to manage your precious data at home or in a small office setting. Drobo doesn't care that drives aren't the same size, it gladly accepts new ones and manges data on the fly. This allows you to buy drives over time, as requirements grow or money is available. It's still a little expensive, $499 US before drives are added, but that's a steal compared to RAID arrays. If Jim Shaw is reading, I'd love to get my hands on one for a proper review ;-)