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Home > Gestalt IT, Storage, Technology, Virtualization > I totally love my Drobo but….

I totally love my Drobo but….


I totally love my Drobo but….I have to honestly say, its missing some key features…

So over the past two days, I have covered the Drobo technology pretty extensively, all the way from the introduction of the 2 new Drobo’s to what the technology offers today, configuration, setup, overhead, data protection, etc.

There is a collaborative effort ongoing behind the scenes with the GestaltIT Tech Field Day Delegates working on some BeyondRAID technology blog posts.

Here are the previous blog posts on Drobo Technology….

Drobo S and DroboElite – Introduced 11/23/2009

Some very interesting articles on Drobo S and DroboElite

The Drobo Math

DROBO / DROBO S

Drobo_5bay_Right Front

Though I think the Drobo technology (BeyondRAID) is a pretty solid offering in the industry today, there are some very features that at least the Drobo and Drobo S are missing today.

Note: This is not a comparison of the Drobo to any other industry products, but certainly some items mentioned below would help further drive the value of the Drobo from a consumer’s viewpoint.

  • Enable NAS support (Ethernet). A very important feature that is missing today related to the NAS offerings, a ton of new features could be easily introduced in the Drobo if it was NAS enabled.
  • Drobo manageable through the Ethernet
  • Drobo and the data on the Drobo should be password protected
  • Support for iSCSI
  • Multiple host access, with multiple user access for NAS.
  • File shares based on usernames and passwords.
  • Haven’t yet tried this, but connect a Drobo or a Drobo S behind an Iomega Ix4-200d or a Synology NAS device to natively use the features supported within those devices and use the Drobo’s BeyondRAID technology in the backend.
  • Built in FTP Server
  • Built in Photo Sharing
  • Built in iTunes Library
  • Built in internal mail server (not a must have, but good to have feature)
  • Built in web server for web hosting
  • NAS Shares
  • Active Directory authentication for users on the Drobo
  • Some sort of high-speed expansion to connect between multiple Drobo’s using a 1GB interface or higher, in short some sort of expandable Drobo daisy chain.
  • USB Printer connection
  • Spin down drives if no activity
  • Spin down fans if no activity
  • Spin down and spin up the Drobo based on time of the day
  • Some sort of interface to view activity inside the Drobo related to memory, CPU and other components.
  • Safe eject drives before drive replacements or drive upgrades
  • Some sort of integration with various media appliances from a household including playstation, TiVo, live streaming that would enable data sharing between these devices.

I understand the value Drobo and Drobo S brings on the table with the BeyondRAID technology, but to compete in the consumer (home) market, a device can’t just be a single standalone device and not talk to any other devices in the environment.

We are collecting data at an enormous pace today, but as I say, “We are” indeed means a group of individuals, family, friends. There is just no way to collaborate on the collected data without physically moving the Drobo from place to place and computer to computer for data share.

I totally get the picture of what the Drobo and Drobo S brings on the table, but if I have to spend $800 or around that number to buy a storage unit, I absolutely think it should talk to and share my data between multiple computers, users, appliances, gadgets I have in the household.

There is only one option I can think that would enable NAS data share, which is to use the Drobo behind a DroboShare or a traditional NAS.. Though not sure if it loses any of it’s features by doing so. This option will cost you additional money.

DroboPro / DroboElite

Lets talk a bit about the DroboPro and DroboElite. These products are made for SMB space. They offer great features including having 2 x 1 Gigabit Ethernet, iSCSI support, VMware support, 16 host, 255 smart volumes, etc. The price on the DroboPro / DroboElite is way beyond what a consumer (home) will spend for data storage.


DroboElite Front

Though here is a short list of items I think the DroboPro and DroboElite should have.

  • Removable back-panel to replace power supplies without turning the unit offline.
  • Online replacement of any FRU’s.
  • Redundant power supplies.
  • DroboPro / DroboElite manageable through the Ethernet
  • DroboPro / DroboElite and the data on the unit should be password protected
  • Multiple user access to NAS Shares
  • Active Directory integration for user authentication
  • Built in FTP Server
  • Built in internal mail server
  • Built in web server for web hosting
  • Spin down drives with no activity
  • Spin down fans with no activity
  • At least support 15 drives.
  • Expandable to may be 30 drives through some sort of high-speed bus/loop/port connect.
  • SCSI 3 PGR’s
  • Some sort of management interface to better manage the components, processes, activities, CPU, memory, stats (Read/Write I/O), port stats, etc through this interface
  • Safe eject drives before drive replacements or drive upgrades.

Again the argument stays that the DroboPro and DroboElite offers great technology, plug and play features, VMware compatibility, lower cost and BeyondRAID technology, but are those the only features that I am truly looking from a SAN.

One thing I have learned, it’s hard to survive in the home (consumer) market and SMB space with the same product name. At times its better to have two distinct products one defined for consumer market while the other for the SMB space. The product can still be the same product under-the-hood but with different processing powers and different product names.

Just some thoughts!! IMHO

  • jsherhart

    Hey Devang,

    Jim Sherhart from Data Robotics here. Great write up and you are absolutely correct that – with the exception of iSCSI, Active Directory, and granular ACLs – the DroboShare and DroboApps were designed to add much of the functionality you describe above to our 4 drive Drobo.

    Regarding the DroboPro and DroboElite, we will continue to focus on offering the best iSCSI storage products for creative professionals, SMBs and departments. This strategy allows our customers to have a simple, safe, cost effective solution for consolidating storage across multiple hosts while retaining the native file sharing capabilities of those respective hosts. It really is the best of both worlds as there are always compromises with cross-platform file sharing on NAS.

    Our strategy at Data Robotics is to stay very focused on doing a few things and doing them better than anyone else in the industry. While I can't speak about future products, it is safe to assume that we will continue to focus on delivering products with increased performance and features that expand the overall reach of our core BeyondRAID technology.

    Thanks again for your input which is always valued and respected.

    Jim

  • http://storagenerve.com storagenerve

    Hi Jim,

    Thanks for the comment and the vision into the Drobo products. Looking forward to some new technologies from Data Robotics in the near future, including using some new technologies already in the market.

    Thanks
    Devang

  • http://storagenerve.com storagenerve

    Hi Jim,

    Thanks for the comment and the vision into the Drobo products. Looking forward to some new technologies from Data Robotics in the near future, including using some new technologies already in the market.

    Thanks
    Devang