Yesterday, we would have said that Drobo is the best external storage solution out there, but today’s news cements that statement. The folks at Data Robotics have just announced the second generation Drobo, and this one is a doozy. The new Drobo is faster inside and out, and we are impressed. First and foremost, Drobo now features two FireWire 800 ports, while maintaining the USB 2.0 connection of the original Drobo. The two ports mean you can daisy chain these bad boys together. The core processor has also been upgraded, so Drobo feels snappier to boot. They’ve also done some firmware tweaking, so now heavy load won’t start bogging down Drobo’s software. What does all this mean? The new Drobo is more than twice as fast as the original at reading data, and almost twice as fast as writing data as well.
In terms of pricing, the good news is that there is no price increase. The second generation Drobo can be purchased on its own for $499 USD. If you want a couple of 1TB drives thrown in, then the bundle will run you $899. If you want to go all out and bundle in 4 1TB drives, then that will cost you $1,299. That’s the best deal on the market quite frankly, as Data Robotics just buys their drives direct from drive manufacturers and doesn’t mark up pricing when bundling them with Drobo units. With the new speeds, Drobo is starting to look like a location for primary storage rather than just secondary. We like where this is heading.
The second-gen Drobo is compatible with the DroboShare NAS add-on, and if you are upgrading from the older model, you can simply pull the drives right out of those and drop them into the new model, and you will be up and running immediately. If you prefer to keep the older version, and just want to chain it to the newer model, you can do that too.
Drobo is meeting some fierce competition from Promise this year. The SmartStor is an all-in-one RAID5 controller with hot-swappable drives just like the Drobo, but it also includes a built-in NAS to share files over the network, and a BitTorrent client to boot. It’s compatible with dlna, UPnP, and AMD Live! systems so sharing media is a breeze as well.
We talk with Alex Ling from Promise at Computex 2008 and he walks us through the SmartStor’s many features.
Drobo is billed as the “World’s first data storage robot.” We like to think of it as super, super simple data storage that also doubles as a fantastic backup destination. Backing up your data is both extremely boring, and excruciatingly essential. Apple has tried to spice things up in this area with their Time Machine technology in Leopard (which Drobo supports), and Windows Home Server offers easy backup for your Windows-based computers.
As you may recall, we got a full feature rundown of Drobo back at CES 2008, so check that out if you need a refresher, or in case you missed it. We were thoroughly impressed, and had to get our hands on one to bring you the scoop on what we think of the device after using it in the real world. While the review is soon to come, we knew you’d want to see the Drobo unboxed. Oh, and as a bonus, we also have the DroboShare as well. This add-on turns your Drobo into a NAS device, and can even pair two Drobos up together for the ultimate in small environment networked data storage.
One of this year’s hottest topics is storage. It seems like we’re about two steps away from getting flash drives as prizes in cereal boxes. With the release of OSX Leopard and its Time Machine app, backing up computers has become easier than ever. Enter Data Robotics’ Drobo storage robot.
As easy to use as a flash drive, the Drobo has four slots to accommodate 3.5” SATA I or II hard drives, and automatically makes redundant copies of data in order to protect from single drive failure. Drobo uses USB 2.0 to make backing up quickly, and is fully operable with OSX and Windows 2000 and up.
Retailing at $499, Drobo comes with everything you need to get started except the hard drives. It’s available now from online retailers.