"Drobo rocks"on by bbartle
Pros easy to use, easy to expand, it's just easy!
Cons none. it's just easy!
Summary I use Drobo as my primary backup target for Acronis TrueImage Home. Additionally, I use it to archive files off my laptop which is my primary computer. I'm very happy with the product. I've outgrown three USB drives in the past several years and the process of going out to buy a new one when I filled up the old one was getting old. Now I've got an easy to use, easy to expand, better protected Drobo to use going forward. I've had no issues whatsoever with the unit and highly recommend it. I like the comfort of knowing my data is protected against a drive failure and I'll never again run out of space.
Pros None, really
Cons Confusion, slow, 1 year warranty on an empty box?
Summary Considering the value of today's user's data anything that gets people to think about backup, archiving and data safety has some good in it. But this product tries to re-invent the wheel by claiming to improve on RAID, as a result causing confusion in minds of many users.
I have tested and used this product, opened it.
The facts: 24MB/s is slow. Slower than external USB 2.0 mobile hard drives. About 10-12 MB/s slower than the $119.99 500GB USB 2.0 HD you can buy anywhere. The demo video is heavily edited. It is not that fast to configure the unit and to copy data especially if drives are full. It is not that "instant" to have fault tolerance, as the video has you thinking. The amount of data being copied and moved in the demo is very small - not what I would have on my drive for example with my MP3 library and movie library.
Eventually you'll have to populate the unit with drives anyway, making it's entry price point deceiving. And at $500 for the empty box it’s not cheap. 1 Year warranty on Drobo and the fact that box and drives are covered by different parties is a draw back also. You don’t go to one place for service on this unit.
And I don't care how small those bunch of magnets are that hold the Drobo front cover in place, magnets of any sort have no place being that close to my naked hard drive mechanisms being pulled in and out.
The product in my view commits one major crime worse than above. It confuses people and all they already know about RAID. RAID is good. RAID is here and used by many people it is reliable, established - a standard. RAID makes people think of storage needs and risks to data before selection of solution, before final choice of product. RAID with proper hardware RAID controllers for RAID 0/1/5 levels is affordable and very reliable. You can find fantastic hardware controlled RAID solutions with hot swap drives starting at $399 with drives/capacity already present at this price point. No software application or CPU power required for hardware controlled RAID to handle the virtualization like with Drobo.
Don’t ask me what happens should there be a Drobo software issue that handles the virtualization and trickery that makes my computer believe I have 2TB of space with a single 250GB drive installed in the Drobo. Don’t ask me what happens if a partition information on the virtualized partition gets corrupted (as can happen with power outage, HD failure, improper unmount, computer crash, etc). Don’t ask me if a HD Repair Utility tool will know how to fix this virtualized partition to recover my data in case of failure. I can’t answer those questions, but I sure as heck don’t want to find out. With RAID being around as long as it has been, I know my chances of recovery, rebuilt, fix are much better even in the worse case scenario than with a partition that thinks it’s 2TB when I only have a single 250GB drive installed.
Drobo tires to make people think of capacity, performance, redundancy as an after though to what is called "easy" and "simple". But for this lack of making users plan properly ahead for their storage needs and for confusing many users by claiming that RAID is bad, old, outdated, as well as for the poor performance, need for virtualization, for the short 1 year warranty (especially since there are no hard drives present) – I have to give this product big thumbs down.
"Lost my data"on by happy1528
Pros Nothing, it flat out doesn't work for any extended period of time
Cons Crashes and loses all data on the drives
Summary I bought five of these things and within five months, three went bad. Spent over 35 hours with their tech support trying to fix them. Only recovered data on one of the three that went bad. I didn't lose the data permanently because I had other backups of it. However, the product was completely useless with over a 50% failure rate. (Small sample of 5 units for me, but I'm pretty sure this is a common situation) Chalked it up to a big expensive mistake and moved on to another solution. Bottom line, DON'T TRUST YOUR DATA TO DROBO, YOU WILL BE SORRY!
Pros 1) Easy to setup
Cons 1) Very slow
2) Very noisy
3) Data easily lost
4) No upgrade path to next generation even after all troubleshooting leads to dead end.
Summary While I was initially impressed with the ease with which it took to setup the Drobo, this was the shortest "Honeymoon" of any purchase I have made in sometime. The amount of money lost is considerable, though the hard drives can be reused in another RAID/SAN solution, but not as much as my time and some data that are gone for good.PS - I would have held of on buying the Drobo if I had read the Reviews completely.
After contacting the Data Robotics technical support line (the makers of the Drobo) on three different occasions for three different issues, the final solution was always to reformat my RAID. The time and effort to copy data back and forth across multiple hard drives (obviously my 4TB Drobo RAID is bigger then my individual drives) gets old really fast, especially at the speed at which the Drobo copies even through the "DroboShare" (which in itself works very well). Let me not forget to mention that the support hold time can be longer than most, and when someone eventually comes on the line, though pleasant and will run through a very thorough checklist of troubleshooting methods, if they can not find the solution will tell someone will call you back; but unless reminded no one will. I waited over a month, I called back twice to remind them of my issue only to have to go through some of the same troubleshooting before the person would conclude that yes my problem needed to be escalated to level three support. Another week later, I have to say a very nice person in level three support, tells me how they understand how frustrated I must be and will try to help, but in the end cannot.
I had had my Drobo for six months and had only gotten about a months worth of use from it; now I need to find a way to discard it without contributing to the destruction of the environment as the Drobo is made, almost completely of plastic; maybe a plant holder for a cactus plant.
I have to recommend that if you are looking for a home SAN/RAID solution, stay as far away from the DROBO as possible. It is by no means ready for someone who wants to actually store data safely.
Updated on Apr 20, 2009
Updated on Apr 20, 2009PS - I would have held off on buying the Drobo if I had read the Reviews completely.
Pros really easy to use
Cons not as fast as hardware RAID
Summary I've been using my Drobo for about 2 months, and the drive works great! I've got it filled with 4 500GB drives; it was up and running in minutes. It's true it's slightly slower than regular USB drives, but the data protection is worth it. I've seen the cons compared to RAID, and I disagree you can find a RAID solution that offers this capacity for less money, especially one that lets you increase your storage incremently without rebuilding the array (which means backing up your data elsewhere in the meantime). I've seen a couple of posts here about failures, but no specifics on what led to/caused the failure. That worries me a little, but right now I'm attributing that to user error rather than hardware problems, since I haven't experienced any problems, though I'd like to see Drobo address these issues (maybe they need some additional warnings). The angst over the magnets seems silly to me. The worries over a power failure screwing up the virtual partition table exist with any multi-drive solution.
I'm ordering a second drive, which I'll be plugging 1TB an 750GB drives into - we'll see how that goes.