Monday, February 1, 2010

Data Robotics Drobo 4-Bay USB 2.0/FireWire 800 SATA Storage Array DR04DD10 Reviews

Data Robotics Drobo 4-Bay USB 2.0/FireWire 800 SATA Storage Array DR04DD10 Reviews
Other products by Data Robotics Ratting 3.5 Out of 5.0 Special Offer Total New 16 Total Use 3

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The safe, expandable Drobo storage solution protects your data against a hard drive crash, yet can expand dynamically at any time in just seconds. With nothing to configure or manage, Drobo is now the ideal solution for primary storage as well as backup.

Technical Details

- FireWire 800 (FireWire 400 compatible)
- Enhanced USB 2.0 performance
- Redundant data protection
- Hot expandable up to 16TB
- Mix n match drive capacities
See more technical details
Customer Buzz
"Didn't work for me, but...." 2010-01-25
By B. Fugett (OH United States)
Purchased to use for mass storage and backup of a Windows 7 system. System worked great until the first reboot, then I started noticing the gremlins.

It took about 20 minutes of system hang for the drive to be recognized on each restart; Task Mangler reported NT Kernel and System process consuming an entire core and DISK errors flying through event log. Host system is an unmodified Dell Studio PC. I went through the basics; checked all firmware/driver levels on the system and the Drobo, disabled antivirus/firewall protection, several reboots, stripped system down to fundamentals. No go. I took the Drobo support page's advice, and tried Firewire (via 400-800 adapter cable). Tried a different USB adapter I had on hand that has a different chipset than the onboard one. Same behavior.

Tried the Drobo on two other XP machines; on those guys I did not experience the system hang, but I DID fail to get a drive letter. Asked the Drobo utility to assign a letter and even rename the volume; systems simply could not see the device. I COULD have tried to reformat and refresh, but, heck no... part of the purpose of this device is to portably pack around your fault tolerant Terabytes. Nope... It's GOTTA work better than this.

At this point I entered a support request with Drobo; no response after two days so I ask for a replacement from Amazon (Amazon gets 12 stars for painless shopping experience BTW...). New Drobo, plug in, insert drives, system up, data there... sweet!!! Reboot... Hang. No more Drobo. Too bad, so sad, bye bye.

I haven't thoroughly researched the success rate on this device, but it SEEMS most of the enthusiasm comes from Apple users.

My assessment:

Pros: Easy, painless RAID for the home user. Very flexible in that it will accept varying drive sizes, but keep in mind, the more widely the variance in drive size the more space (as a percentage of total) you will lose to keep the volume redundant. Just a plain sexy concept for data storage.

Cons: At least in my experience, the device is grossly unstable. There may be a trick to it, but with USB/Firewire attached storage there should be no trick. Tried it on Win 7 and two XP boxes, with mixed results at best. As stated earlier I suspect most of the enthusiasm is coming from Mac users (so we need a version in WHITE, right??)

Also a con for me, not specific to this particular device, is RAID in general. You create an interdependent clump of vendor proprietary bits spanning multiple drives. Result? If the device glitches, you must move the drives to another identical (or at least compatible) device to recover. Keep in mind that RAID protects you from ONE SPECIFIC failure, and that is drive failure. It does not protect you from environmental disasters, RAID controller failures, loss because of the OOOPS factor, viruses, etc. To protect your data there is no substitute for backup. Hence, I shall take this same money and invest in an internal 2TB drive and a USB/Firewire external 2TB drive and do replication. Your results may vary. ;?)

Customer Buzz
"A point of Clarification for Drive Additions" 2010-01-12
By Sean Patzer (Fairbanks, AK United States)
Digitalman review is very comprehensive and is very good. I will not cover ground he has already laid. However, a bit of forewarning is advisible.

I cannot stress this enough, USE THE CAPACITY PLANNER at so you know what capacity you are getting with the drives you are adding.

When you are adding your first drive of a larger size (e.g. I have 4 1 TB drives, I go to add 1 1.5 TB drive) you do not gain the additional .5 GB of space until you add a second drive of the same capacity (1.5 TB). This is expected and documented behavior. It appears to me that the Drobo uses a striping with Parity to store your data (yes, even with a single disk, but then it is functionally equivalent to mirroring). Until it gets enough drive space to protect the additional storage it is reserved. When changing drive sizes, buy your drives in pairs to get maximal expansion out of them.

If the drives, for upsizing drive sizes, are not bought in pairs, the Drobo reserves the additional space for expansion room. Remember to replace one drive at a time, when replacing drives.

Customer Buzz
"works well until it decides to delete everything" 2010-01-04
By James Walters
I've had this 'self-healing' technology for some time now and have had some rare and very minor glitches. Then the worst happens- due to its proprietary monitoring system, at 1AM it deleted all files leaving only a couple folder trees with no data in them.

I have a UPS that could run this and my server for a week- so its not a power outage as some have experienced. I have not deleted these files on my own. I have not seen any drives go bad, meaning the green light per drive never changed to orange nor red. I have not recently installed any updates to the software nor firmware which many have experienced being the cause of their complete data loss. It's not from overheating of the drives since i have permanently mounted fans to cool the drives (my previous Drobo overheated my drives and they sequentially all died)

Avoid this product- I paid ~$500 for this device PLUS 4x hard drives, I should have installed a 1TB drive into my computer and for $50/year used Carbonite to securely back things up. Shame on me for trusting all my corporate files, 3D CAD files, family vacation photos, music and videos to this product.

Customer Buzz
"Great for backups" 2010-01-02
By Esaito
I've been using the Drobo for about a month now on my Mac. The primary purpose is backup my photos and videos. I like the fact that it has a very simple built-in folder syncing, so I can schedule it to daily synchronize my iPhoto and iMovie folders to Drobo, and it does it quickly probably using some kind of rsync. Because my photos, videos are not updated as frequently, I don't need a real-time backup solution like Time Machine. And I prefer to be able to navigate the directory structure on Drobo to check if everything is there.

I've mixed some older 750Gb, 1Tb drives with a 1.5Tb a 2Tb drive all from different vendors, and they work together perfectly, as Drobo states.

- silent (I believe it sleeps after 10 minutes of inactivity) - you can check it in Mac OS X with the "pmset -g" command on terminal
- you may reuse your older drives from different brands
- costs are much lower today than they were a few months ago

- doesn't have ethernet connectivity (only Firewire and USB), you must buy a Droboshare or Pogoplug
- it's slower than my external WD drive, but this is not a problem as its main purpose is backup

Customer Buzz
"Drobo" 2009-12-29
By Micki K (Valdosta, GA United States)
I purchased the original Drobo when it first came out. Loved it! It did everything as stated. The speed was horrible, but other than that it was great for a little over a year. After that it lost my data- booted up the computer one day and poof . I had purchased another one right before this one died- the fire wire version. It was noticeable faster, but not by much. The speeds were not near other external enclosures, but redundancy is nice. This is still performing well. My only big complaint with this version is that it shuts itself down. I have it connected via the fire wire 400 port. Oh yeah, I have yet to get it to work on my fire wire 800 connection. Anyway, the only way to get the Drobo software to find it again is to reconnect it. That is very annoying and I question the reliability of the unit.

I would not recommend as a back up for important data (I've been burned with the first version. Drobo tech support was nice but unable to help.

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