More hardware that I have to have: Drobo

Gizmodo wrote about Drobo. But, I saw it about a week ago and was asked to keep it quiet. Obviously someone else couldn’t keep it under wraps. So, what the heck.

What is it? Well, you know to keep your data on two seperate hard drives, or more, right?

How do you do that? RAID? Yep.

But this thing is RAID made simple. You just slide in a new SATA hard drive (Seagate is gonna love this) and it automatically senses it, and uses it.

Stick in only one drive (it has four slots) and it isn’t happy. It knows your stuff isn’t stored on two drives. So, it’s at risk. It’ll tell you. Warns you with a yellow light that your data isn’t safe.

Slide in a second drive. It takes a few seconds to reconfigure (it does this while live — you can even be copying, or storing, data to the first drive while you slide in a second drive). It will turn both lights green after it makes sure everything has a second drive.

Slide in a third drive. Same thing. It goes yellow while it reconfigures everything to share across three drives.

Take out the first drive. All your data is still there. But the lights go yellow while the drives reconfigure the data and make sure you’re safe.

Take out the second drive, leaving only the third (assuming all are the same size). Now things still work, but the lights don’t go back to green. Yellow all the way.

Along the bottom it tells you how much space is available.

This thing rocks. I can see buying quite a few of these for PodTech.

Won’t be on the market for another month or two. Can’t wait to be able to buy them. Here’s the official Web site.

Comments

  1. It sounds like something that might go well with Windows Home Server. I wonder if it could be an OEM solution for WHS.

  2. It sounds like something that might go well with Windows Home Server. I wonder if it could be an OEM solution for WHS.

  3. Technically, it’s not RAID.

    From there site “..the patent-pending [read proprietary] technology within Drobo is not RAID and was developed specifically to perform data management and configuration tasks automatically so that you don’t have to. Drobo does utilize advanced storage concepts such as virtualization, but it is not a derivative of RAID.”

    I suspect this means you will only be able to access the data on the disks with a Drobo box. So if your Drobo dies, your stuck.

  4. Technically, it’s not RAID.

    From there site “..the patent-pending [read proprietary] technology within Drobo is not RAID and was developed specifically to perform data management and configuration tasks automatically so that you don’t have to. Drobo does utilize advanced storage concepts such as virtualization, but it is not a derivative of RAID.”

    I suspect this means you will only be able to access the data on the disks with a Drobo box. So if your Drobo dies, your stuck.

  5. mack: that´s what i wanted to write ;)
    where´s the big difference to a readynas NV+?
    (that´s on my shopping list for a couple of months already)

    rgrds
    Matt

  6. mack: that´s what i wanted to write ;)
    where´s the big difference to a readynas NV+?
    (that´s on my shopping list for a couple of months already)

    rgrds
    Matt

  7. Yohannes: it might be available for order, but they aren’t shipping in quantities until late May, according to their management. I haven’t gotten mine yet, for instance.

  8. if you want something that comes from an established company and doesn’t look quite as goofy, check out Promise Technology. they don’t call it a “robot” but they do put a gigabit ethernet jack on the back:

    http://www.promise.com/product/product_detail_eng.asp?product_id=177#

    there’s tons of stuff out there at all price levels, up to 12 drives in a box. this is a very, very competitive space so check other manufacturers.

    all these doodads hotswap and they all use RAID but isolate you from the nonsense. this company doesn’t use RAID? huh?

    apple’s Xserves price out better than you’d think, too.

    for an operation like podtech, fibre channel is the way to go. if you’re going to actually make HD stuff and not just talk about it, you’re not going to want to be waiting for a USB robot.

  9. if you want something that comes from an established company and doesn’t look quite as goofy, check out Promise Technology. they don’t call it a “robot” but they do put a gigabit ethernet jack on the back:

    http://www.promise.com/product/product_detail_eng.asp?product_id=177#

    there’s tons of stuff out there at all price levels, up to 12 drives in a box. this is a very, very competitive space so check other manufacturers.

    all these doodads hotswap and they all use RAID but isolate you from the nonsense. this company doesn’t use RAID? huh?

    apple’s Xserves price out better than you’d think, too.

    for an operation like podtech, fibre channel is the way to go. if you’re going to actually make HD stuff and not just talk about it, you’re not going to want to be waiting for a USB robot.

  10. Yohannes: it might be available for order, but they aren’t shipping in quantities until late May, according to their management. I haven’t gotten mine yet, for instance.

  11. Steve makes the same point I was going to: what if the Drobo fails?

    As I understand it, This problem exists with RAID controllers as well, but I imagine the proprietary format would make it even worse.

    However, it does look like a cool toy! I just don’t feel like trusting it with all my data. Perhaps I’m too old-fashioned, as I don’t really trust RAID either. :)

  12. Steve makes the same point I was going to: what if the Drobo fails?

    As I understand it, This problem exists with RAID controllers as well, but I imagine the proprietary format would make it even worse.

    However, it does look like a cool toy! I just don’t feel like trusting it with all my data. Perhaps I’m too old-fashioned, as I don’t really trust RAID either. :)

  13. When I saw the initial announcement of WHS, I wrote on my blog that I was really excited about the potential, and really nervous about trusting something other than RAID, which has been proven over many years, to safeguard the family pictures.

    Same goes for these guys. I like the flexibility of a non-RAID solution, though I think Infrant’s X-RAID is a pretty good compromise. I also think they’re in for a tough match with Microsoft, especially once people start writing extensions for WHS that build on the platform approach.

    They need a little more “pow”, I think, if they’re going to make it. Something you can’t get from those other solutions.

  14. When I saw the initial announcement of WHS, I wrote on my blog that I was really excited about the potential, and really nervous about trusting something other than RAID, which has been proven over many years, to safeguard the family pictures.

    Same goes for these guys. I like the flexibility of a non-RAID solution, though I think Infrant’s X-RAID is a pretty good compromise. I also think they’re in for a tough match with Microsoft, especially once people start writing extensions for WHS that build on the platform approach.

    They need a little more “pow”, I think, if they’re going to make it. Something you can’t get from those other solutions.

  15. At US$699 it is too expensive for Joe consumer and even greater than twice the price of a 700GB Seagate drive. i.e. To get 750GB of protected storage (2 drives) you need to spend US$1600, or 930GB (3 500GB drives) for the same price.

    See http://www.drobo.com/drobolator/

    Fibre is expense but serious stuff. To avoid Fibre cost, be able to re-use your existing 100/1000Gbps network, but still have an array (albeit not so clever but still with raid) there’s also iSCSI to consider.

  16. At US$699 it is too expensive for Joe consumer and even greater than twice the price of a 700GB Seagate drive. i.e. To get 750GB of protected storage (2 drives) you need to spend US$1600, or 930GB (3 500GB drives) for the same price.

    See http://www.drobo.com/drobolator/

    Fibre is expense but serious stuff. To avoid Fibre cost, be able to re-use your existing 100/1000Gbps network, but still have an array (albeit not so clever but still with raid) there’s also iSCSI to consider.

  17. Should we all make sure we ONLY use the product with Genuine Seagate TM hard drives, or does that go without saying?

    Just buying this thing means you have to buy at least 2-4 new Seagate hard drives. Sounds like a plan.

  18. Should we all make sure we ONLY use the product with Genuine Seagate TM hard drives, or does that go without saying?

    Just buying this thing means you have to buy at least 2-4 new Seagate hard drives. Sounds like a plan.

  19. can’t wait to get my hands on this robot.
    Unfortunately i live in europe and this thing doesn’t seem to be shipped over sea.

  20. can’t wait to get my hands on this robot.
    Unfortunately i live in europe and this thing doesn’t seem to be shipped over sea.

  21. Groan, techie-by-blog types attracted by bright and shiny new gadgets, like moths to a flame. And yeah I heard about it too, press chatter network. ;) Yeah, more “pow” is exactly what I thought. Bit out of price range for home market and far less functional for the prosumer and IT Pro market, and with proprietary tech, too risky, goodbye data.

    On topic, why is Seagate pulling away from eSata? USB 2 and Firewire, feh.

  22. Groan, techie-by-blog types attracted by bright and shiny new gadgets, like moths to a flame. And yeah I heard about it too, press chatter network. ;) Yeah, more “pow” is exactly what I thought. Bit out of price range for home market and far less functional for the prosumer and IT Pro market, and with proprietary tech, too risky, goodbye data.

    On topic, why is Seagate pulling away from eSata? USB 2 and Firewire, feh.

  23. I don’t know much about RAID, so you guys can help me out. Drobo can do the following. Can RAID systems?

    * Have inserted into the array any from 1-4 drives of any size and any manufacturer at any time?
    * Remove any drive at any time and still read/write your files while your data is being moved around to be backed up again?
    * When the array is full, with 4 drives, remove a drive and replace it with a larger drive to get more space, all the while continuing to read and/or write data to the array?
    * Just format and go? (i.e. no configuration necessary.)
    * If a drive fails, just replace it (or not) and your data is still valid and accessible?
    * Yellow and Red leds (and blue capacity lights) gives you up to the second information on the status of your array and your used (and free) capacity?

  24. I don’t know much about RAID, so you guys can help me out. Drobo can do the following. Can RAID systems?

    * Have inserted into the array any from 1-4 drives of any size and any manufacturer at any time?
    * Remove any drive at any time and still read/write your files while your data is being moved around to be backed up again?
    * When the array is full, with 4 drives, remove a drive and replace it with a larger drive to get more space, all the while continuing to read and/or write data to the array?
    * Just format and go? (i.e. no configuration necessary.)
    * If a drive fails, just replace it (or not) and your data is still valid and accessible?
    * Yellow and Red leds (and blue capacity lights) gives you up to the second information on the status of your array and your used (and free) capacity?

  25. What’s the big deal? I can buy a Infrant Readynas for $620 today, load it up with 2 or 4 drives, run XRaid and be done with it (no maintenance.)

    I did do that about 6 months ago, only hiccup since was a power outage, and it came back up like a champ (I bought a $40 UPS after that.)

  26. What’s the big deal? I can buy a Infrant Readynas for $620 today, load it up with 2 or 4 drives, run XRaid and be done with it (no maintenance.)

    I did do that about 6 months ago, only hiccup since was a power outage, and it came back up like a champ (I bought a $40 UPS after that.)

  27. Sounds like proprietary garbage. Why do consumers get stuck with proprietary crap just because they don’t know the functionality, safety, and security of all this has been available for decades using standards? And why would you push this ahead of a standard RAID solution which is better supported?

  28. Sounds like proprietary garbage. Why do consumers get stuck with proprietary crap just because they don’t know the functionality, safety, and security of all this has been available for decades using standards? And why would you push this ahead of a standard RAID solution which is better supported?

  29. @16 “And why would you push this ahead of a standard RAID solution which is better supported?”

    Are you forgetting who PodTech’s sponsor is? According to Scoble this doodad could enable more seagate sales.

  30. @16 “And why would you push this ahead of a standard RAID solution which is better supported?”

    Are you forgetting who PodTech’s sponsor is? According to Scoble this doodad could enable more seagate sales.

  31. Steve says:


    I suspect this means you will only be able to access the data on the disks with a Drobo box. So if your Drobo dies, your stuck.

    Well, yes, and no, and in any case, if you lose your hardware with J-Random RAID supplier, you are kinda stuck as well, eh.

    In any event, if you lose the box, just return it to the factory for a replacement if it is still under warranty. When it comes back, put the same set of drives back in the box, and you are under way.

    What could be easier?

    Anon says:


    And why would you push this ahead of a standard RAID solution which is better supported?

    Because RAID stinks. With your standard J-Random RAID hardware, can you pop a small drive, replace it with a larger drive, all while copying data to the device, and instantly have more space?

    Can you populate your J-Random RAID hardware with drives as you want to? Start with two 250GB drives, because they were cheap at Frys, then add a couple of 300GB drives because they were cheap, then 6 months later, pop the 250s and replace them with 750GB drives because they are cheap, all the while never having to move your data back and forth and enjoying pretty much all of the space?

  32. Steve says:


    I suspect this means you will only be able to access the data on the disks with a Drobo box. So if your Drobo dies, your stuck.

    Well, yes, and no, and in any case, if you lose your hardware with J-Random RAID supplier, you are kinda stuck as well, eh.

    In any event, if you lose the box, just return it to the factory for a replacement if it is still under warranty. When it comes back, put the same set of drives back in the box, and you are under way.

    What could be easier?

    Anon says:


    And why would you push this ahead of a standard RAID solution which is better supported?

    Because RAID stinks. With your standard J-Random RAID hardware, can you pop a small drive, replace it with a larger drive, all while copying data to the device, and instantly have more space?

    Can you populate your J-Random RAID hardware with drives as you want to? Start with two 250GB drives, because they were cheap at Frys, then add a couple of 300GB drives because they were cheap, then 6 months later, pop the 250s and replace them with 750GB drives because they are cheap, all the while never having to move your data back and forth and enjoying pretty much all of the space?

  33. Chris asks:


    Should we all make sure we ONLY use the product with Genuine Seagate TM hard drives, or does that go without saying?

    You can if you like. The two that are on my desk have a mix of Seagate, Western Digital, White Label and Fujitsu drives, but then, that’s the only way to make sure the firmware works with different drives.

  34. Chris asks:


    Should we all make sure we ONLY use the product with Genuine Seagate TM hard drives, or does that go without saying?

    You can if you like. The two that are on my desk have a mix of Seagate, Western Digital, White Label and Fujitsu drives, but then, that’s the only way to make sure the firmware works with different drives.

  35. Is this something like how google manages their storage, where they don’t use raid but just keep multiple copies of the data somewhere else?

  36. Is this something like how google manages their storage, where they don’t use raid but just keep multiple copies of the data somewhere else?

  37. “You can if you like. The two that are on my desk have a mix of Seagate, Western Digital, White Label and Fujitsu drives, but then, that’s the only way to make sure the firmware works with different drives.”

    “I’m not only a hairclub client, I’m also the president!”

    Very nice. Scoble could easily cut to the chase and post 1 in 10 seagate commercial highlight strips though and it would be less tacky.

    We know he has to make money some how, but he could be less subversive about it.

  38. “You can if you like. The two that are on my desk have a mix of Seagate, Western Digital, White Label and Fujitsu drives, but then, that’s the only way to make sure the firmware works with different drives.”

    “I’m not only a hairclub client, I’m also the president!”

    Very nice. Scoble could easily cut to the chase and post 1 in 10 seagate commercial highlight strips though and it would be less tacky.

    We know he has to make money some how, but he could be less subversive about it.

  39. Is this device based on Sun’s ZFS technology? From technical description of the device, it sure *sounds like* ZFS to me.

    However, on their web-site, they imply they have developed the core technology themselves and have patented it:

    “the patent-pending technology within Drobo is not RAID and was developed specifically to perform data management and configuration tasks automatically so that you don’t have to.”

    I think they should clarify whether or not this device is based around Sun’s ZFS. As it is, they give the *impression* of being dishonest in their marketing. They might not be: they might well have developed the file system used in Drobo themselves – but I really do think they need to clarify this.

    In fact, if it *is* based around ZFS, I think it would add to the credibility of the device. ZFS is a serious file system. Few customers for this kind of device would have any doubts trusting their data to ZFS.

  40. Is this device based on Sun’s ZFS technology? From technical description of the device, it sure *sounds like* ZFS to me.

    However, on their web-site, they imply they have developed the core technology themselves and have patented it:

    “the patent-pending technology within Drobo is not RAID and was developed specifically to perform data management and configuration tasks automatically so that you don’t have to.”

    I think they should clarify whether or not this device is based around Sun’s ZFS. As it is, they give the *impression* of being dishonest in their marketing. They might not be: they might well have developed the file system used in Drobo themselves – but I really do think they need to clarify this.

    In fact, if it *is* based around ZFS, I think it would add to the credibility of the device. ZFS is a serious file system. Few customers for this kind of device would have any doubts trusting their data to ZFS.

  41. Simon asks:


    Is this device based on Sun’s ZFS technology? From technical description of the device, it sure *sounds like* ZFS to me.

    Nope. It is a USB storage device that uses a pooled storage model and provides transparent redundancy.

    You don’t have to run some command-line stuff to add new drives to the pool. Just add them, and the unit does all the rest. You don’t have to reboot and wait and wait and wait to use the unit.

  42. Simon asks:


    Is this device based on Sun’s ZFS technology? From technical description of the device, it sure *sounds like* ZFS to me.

    Nope. It is a USB storage device that uses a pooled storage model and provides transparent redundancy.

    You don’t have to run some command-line stuff to add new drives to the pool. Just add them, and the unit does all the rest. You don’t have to reboot and wait and wait and wait to use the unit.

  43. http://www.uspto.gov/patft/index.html
    Advanced search on published applications(not approved)
    AN/”Data Robotics”
    AN/”Trusted Data Corporation”
    For the company or assignee name.

    You can search published applications at the USPTO
    Data Robotics/Trusted Data Corporation has no pending applications for any patents.

    You can try http://www.google.com/patents too
    http://www.google.com/patents?q=%22trusted+data+corporation%22&btnG=Search+Patents

    Their TM app is there, but no patents applications pending.
    I have experience with Sun gear, and I don’t see the huge advantage of ZFS in a practical environment. I’m getting rid of our Sun stuff like it was going out of style. Oh wait.

  44. http://www.uspto.gov/patft/index.html
    Advanced search on published applications(not approved)
    AN/”Data Robotics”
    AN/”Trusted Data Corporation”
    For the company or assignee name.

    You can search published applications at the USPTO
    Data Robotics/Trusted Data Corporation has no pending applications for any patents.

    You can try http://www.google.com/patents too
    http://www.google.com/patents?q=%22trusted+data+corporation%22&btnG=Search+Patents

    Their TM app is there, but no patents applications pending.
    I have experience with Sun gear, and I don’t see the huge advantage of ZFS in a practical environment. I’m getting rid of our Sun stuff like it was going out of style. Oh wait.

  45. “Nope. It is a USB storage device that uses a pooled storage model and provides transparent redundancy.”

    Yeah, I like LVM too. ;)

  46. “Nope. It is a USB storage device that uses a pooled storage model and provides transparent redundancy.”

    Yeah, I like LVM too. ;)

  47. Hi skeptical. Many thanks for your reply. Just to clarify… Are you familiar with ZFS? And do you *know* that Drobo isn’t based on ZFS?

    The reason why I ask is that, with reference to your reply:

    o ZFS “uses a pooled storage model” and provides “transparent redundancy”.

    o With ZFS, you “don’t have to reboot and wait and wait and wait” – all operations in ZFS are completed on-line, and usually take a few seconds.

    o And I’m not clear why you mentioned USB and “command line stuff” – to me, those things seem orthogonal to the ZFS question.

    It’s quite an undertaking to develop a new file system. Even a company as large as Apple, that builds its own operation system, didn’t feel able to take this on with the next version of Mac OS X (Leopard). Instead Apple chose to port ZFS from Solaris to Mac OS X.

  48. Hi skeptical. Many thanks for your reply. Just to clarify… Are you familiar with ZFS? And do you *know* that Drobo isn’t based on ZFS?

    The reason why I ask is that, with reference to your reply:

    o ZFS “uses a pooled storage model” and provides “transparent redundancy”.

    o With ZFS, you “don’t have to reboot and wait and wait and wait” – all operations in ZFS are completed on-line, and usually take a few seconds.

    o And I’m not clear why you mentioned USB and “command line stuff” – to me, those things seem orthogonal to the ZFS question.

    It’s quite an undertaking to develop a new file system. Even a company as large as Apple, that builds its own operation system, didn’t feel able to take this on with the next version of Mac OS X (Leopard). Instead Apple chose to port ZFS from Solaris to Mac OS X.

  49. Check out Drobo. Beats a RAID array!

    Although I have not had a chance (yet) to run it through it’s paces it looks like Drobo “The World’s First Storage Robot” is going to make things a lot easier for me and everyone to manage your storage. Here are a few bullet poi…

  50. My last question, couldn’t one simply buy a 4 SATA connector enclosure, put the host FS on LVM instead, have some kind of PNP LVM manager and sell those for $99 a piece?

    You could pull that off with $5 worth of plastic and a 333mhz cpu or even arm for a production cost of $30 and sell it back for $50. The “D-Link” version of your product.(hide the GPL line from >strings, FSF does that first when they test it)

  51. My last question, couldn’t one simply buy a 4 SATA connector enclosure, put the host FS on LVM instead, have some kind of PNP LVM manager and sell those for $99 a piece?

    You could pull that off with $5 worth of plastic and a 333mhz cpu or even arm for a production cost of $30 and sell it back for $50. The “D-Link” version of your product.(hide the GPL line from >strings, FSF does that first when they test it)

  52. Sorry, that may have come off a little harsh. This is a mini-SAN with plug n play LVM type functionality. Why patent a FS? Why not use free Linux, publish the source and make the product cost $149 instead?

    You’re not going to sell many at that price.

    In all fairness, I can imagine that you just filed the patent application and that it may not be in the USPTO application database just yet.

  53. Sorry, that may have come off a little harsh. This is a mini-SAN with plug n play LVM type functionality. Why patent a FS? Why not use free Linux, publish the source and make the product cost $149 instead?

    You’re not going to sell many at that price.

    In all fairness, I can imagine that you just filed the patent application and that it may not be in the USPTO application database just yet.

  54. Simon asks …


    Just to clarify… Are you familiar with ZFS? And do you *know* that Drobo isn’t based on ZFS?

    I am familiar with ZFS to the extent of having seen presentations on ZFS and having read stuff on the the ZFS web site.

    I do know that Drobo isn’t based on ZFS. It is only a block storage device, which is why I mentioned USB.

    It sits below the filesystem, kinda like LVM. There is no file system on Drobo. The UI that is provided autoformats it for NTFS or HFS or you can manually format it for NTFS or other file systems.

    The references to rebooting and waiting and waiting etc were to the Infrant product. Unless they have changed their product and not updated their FAQ, that is what happnes.

  55. Simon asks …


    Just to clarify… Are you familiar with ZFS? And do you *know* that Drobo isn’t based on ZFS?

    I am familiar with ZFS to the extent of having seen presentations on ZFS and having read stuff on the the ZFS web site.

    I do know that Drobo isn’t based on ZFS. It is only a block storage device, which is why I mentioned USB.

    It sits below the filesystem, kinda like LVM. There is no file system on Drobo. The UI that is provided autoformats it for NTFS or HFS or you can manually format it for NTFS or other file systems.

    The references to rebooting and waiting and waiting etc were to the Infrant product. Unless they have changed their product and not updated their FAQ, that is what happnes.

  56. I would honestly get one for the office, but

    A. A backup HDD and a cron script is cheaper

    B. The product is closed source, even though it is a hardware product

    C. The website does not state it’s compatibility with ext2/3 fs.

    Most of the servers in the world that would actually use this are running Linux.

    Skeptical, I take it you work for them. Try to bring the price down and make it LVM compatible if you can. A SAN for home use? Too many people have a media center of some type now for that to be practical. My PS3 is outfitted with a 120 GB drive. More than enough to serve as a backup.

  57. I would honestly get one for the office, but

    A. A backup HDD and a cron script is cheaper

    B. The product is closed source, even though it is a hardware product

    C. The website does not state it’s compatibility with ext2/3 fs.

    Most of the servers in the world that would actually use this are running Linux.

    Skeptical, I take it you work for them. Try to bring the price down and make it LVM compatible if you can. A SAN for home use? Too many people have a media center of some type now for that to be practical. My PS3 is outfitted with a 120 GB drive. More than enough to serve as a backup.

  58. Chris says:


    My last question, couldn’t one simply buy a 4 SATA connector enclosure, put the host FS on LVM instead, have some kind of PNP LVM manager and sell those for $99 a piece?

    You could pull that off with $5 worth of plastic and a 333mhz cpu or even arm for a production cost of $30 and sell it back for $50. The “D-Link” version of your product.(hide the GPL line from >strings, FSF does that first when they test it)

    There are some guys on Sand Hill road who would like to talk to you about that business if you have more than a powerpoint presentation …

    LVM does not have the capabilities that are in the Drobo box.

  59. Chris says:


    My last question, couldn’t one simply buy a 4 SATA connector enclosure, put the host FS on LVM instead, have some kind of PNP LVM manager and sell those for $99 a piece?

    You could pull that off with $5 worth of plastic and a 333mhz cpu or even arm for a production cost of $30 and sell it back for $50. The “D-Link” version of your product.(hide the GPL line from >strings, FSF does that first when they test it)

    There are some guys on Sand Hill road who would like to talk to you about that business if you have more than a powerpoint presentation …

    LVM does not have the capabilities that are in the Drobo box.

  60. “This thing rocks. I can see buying quite a few of these for PodTech.”

    Here is a prime example skeptical. Drobo just lost Scoble, a well funded Silicon Valley A list customer.

    Go to podtech.net and check the http headers:
    You can download http://livehttpheaders.mozdev.org/ for Firefox

    You will see this in the GET response.

    -Server: Apache/2.0.55 (Ubuntu) PHP/5.1.2

    Scoble is using Ubuntu server for Podtech.net, probably because it’s cheaper than Windows or Red Hat Enterpise. Who can blame him. Scoble was using Fedora Core before Ubuntu, I remember they were with Valueweb.com at the same time we used to have coloc at valueweb.

    Valueweb has thousands of customers, a lot of them would love to have mini-sans like this one.

    But just like Scoble, and us, we run ours out of our offices;

    None of us can be Drobo customers, at any cost.
    Because the Drobo system is simply incompatible with our systems.

    If Drobo had LVM compatibility that would open the door to a whole market of people would could ACTUALLY USE drobo. Home users do not need SAN functionality. Small offices and datacenter customers do.

    Making it windows/mac compatible? Why?

    It makes no business sense what so ever.
    Sure I would talk to the people on Sand Hill Rd, if they’d want. We can develop such a system without a major problem in an acceptable time frame. Just have them email us for a quote.

  61. “This thing rocks. I can see buying quite a few of these for PodTech.”

    Here is a prime example skeptical. Drobo just lost Scoble, a well funded Silicon Valley A list customer.

    Go to podtech.net and check the http headers:
    You can download http://livehttpheaders.mozdev.org/ for Firefox

    You will see this in the GET response.

    -Server: Apache/2.0.55 (Ubuntu) PHP/5.1.2

    Scoble is using Ubuntu server for Podtech.net, probably because it’s cheaper than Windows or Red Hat Enterpise. Who can blame him. Scoble was using Fedora Core before Ubuntu, I remember they were with Valueweb.com at the same time we used to have coloc at valueweb.

    Valueweb has thousands of customers, a lot of them would love to have mini-sans like this one.

    But just like Scoble, and us, we run ours out of our offices;

    None of us can be Drobo customers, at any cost.
    Because the Drobo system is simply incompatible with our systems.

    If Drobo had LVM compatibility that would open the door to a whole market of people would could ACTUALLY USE drobo. Home users do not need SAN functionality. Small offices and datacenter customers do.

    Making it windows/mac compatible? Why?

    It makes no business sense what so ever.
    Sure I would talk to the people on Sand Hill Rd, if they’d want. We can develop such a system without a major problem in an acceptable time frame. Just have them email us for a quote.

  62. Does it work with Linux?

    (I had to ask)

    But seriously, I think non-denominational solutions like this are going to give Windows Home Server a run for the money. A network interface would be nice though.

  63. Does it work with Linux?

    (I had to ask)

    But seriously, I think non-denominational solutions like this are going to give Windows Home Server a run for the money. A network interface would be nice though.

  64. “This thing rocks. I can see buying quite a few of these for PodTech.”
    #
    Here is a prime example skeptical. Drobo just lost Scoble, a well funded Silicon Valley A list customer.
    #
    Go to podtech.net and check the http headers:
    You can download http://livehttpheaders.mozdev.org/ for Firefox
    #
    You will see this in the GET response.
    #
    -Server: Apache/2.0.55 (Ubuntu) PHP/5.1.2
    #
    Scoble is using Ubuntu server for Podtech.net, probably because it’s cheaper than Windows or Red Hat Enterpise. Who can blame him. Scoble was using Fedora Core before Ubuntu, I remember they were with Valueweb.com at the same time we used to have coloc at valueweb.
    #
    Valueweb has thousands of customers, a lot of them would love to have mini-sans like this one.
    #
    But just like Scoble, and us, we run ours out of our offices;
    #
    None of us can be Drobo customers, at any cost.
    Because the Drobo system is simply incompatible with our systems.

    If Drobo had LVM compatibility that would open the door to a whole market of people would could ACTUALLY USE drobo. Home users do not need SAN functionality. Small offices and datacenter customers do.
    #
    Making it windows/mac compatible? Why?
    #
    It makes no business sense what so ever.
    Sure I would talk to the people on Sand Hill Rd, if they’d want. We can develop such a system without a major problem in an acceptable time frame. Just have them email us for a quote.

  65. “This thing rocks. I can see buying quite a few of these for PodTech.”
    #
    Here is a prime example skeptical. Drobo just lost Scoble, a well funded Silicon Valley A list customer.
    #
    Go to podtech.net and check the http headers:
    You can download http://livehttpheaders.mozdev.org/ for Firefox
    #
    You will see this in the GET response.
    #
    -Server: Apache/2.0.55 (Ubuntu) PHP/5.1.2
    #
    Scoble is using Ubuntu server for Podtech.net, probably because it’s cheaper than Windows or Red Hat Enterpise. Who can blame him. Scoble was using Fedora Core before Ubuntu, I remember they were with Valueweb.com at the same time we used to have coloc at valueweb.
    #
    Valueweb has thousands of customers, a lot of them would love to have mini-sans like this one.
    #
    But just like Scoble, and us, we run ours out of our offices;
    #
    None of us can be Drobo customers, at any cost.
    Because the Drobo system is simply incompatible with our systems.

    If Drobo had LVM compatibility that would open the door to a whole market of people would could ACTUALLY USE drobo. Home users do not need SAN functionality. Small offices and datacenter customers do.
    #
    Making it windows/mac compatible? Why?
    #
    It makes no business sense what so ever.
    Sure I would talk to the people on Sand Hill Rd, if they’d want. We can develop such a system without a major problem in an acceptable time frame. Just have them email us for a quote.


  66. Does it work with Linux?

    Well, it’s just a block device … however, it seems that Data Robotics does not warrant that it works as yet …


  67. Does it work with Linux?

    Well, it’s just a block device … however, it seems that Data Robotics does not warrant that it works as yet …

  68. “This thing rocks. I can see buying quite a few of these for PodTech.”

    He couldn’t buy any for podtech.net if he wanted to.

    Go to podtech.net and check the http headers:
    You can download http://livehttpheaders.mozdev.org/ for Firefox

    You will see this in the GET response.

    -Server: Apache/2.0.55 (Ubuntu) PHP/5.1.2

    Scoble is using Ubuntu server for Podtech.net, probably because it’s cheaper than Windows or Red Hat Enterpise. Who can blame him. Scoble was using Fedora Core before Ubuntu, I remember they were with Valueweb.com at the same time we used to have coloc at valueweb.

  69. “This thing rocks. I can see buying quite a few of these for PodTech.”

    He couldn’t buy any for podtech.net if he wanted to.

    Go to podtech.net and check the http headers:
    You can download http://livehttpheaders.mozdev.org/ for Firefox

    You will see this in the GET response.

    -Server: Apache/2.0.55 (Ubuntu) PHP/5.1.2

    Scoble is using Ubuntu server for Podtech.net, probably because it’s cheaper than Windows or Red Hat Enterpise. Who can blame him. Scoble was using Fedora Core before Ubuntu, I remember they were with Valueweb.com at the same time we used to have coloc at valueweb.

  70. Chris: that’s on our servers. That’s not where I want to use Drobo. We have quite a few video editing systems being built. I need TONS of reliable storage. Drobo is going to fit the bill just fine for that. All our desktops are either Windows or Macs.

  71. “This thing rocks. I can see buying quite a few of these for PodTech.”

    This is also why executives make extremely bad technology buyers. They’ll make statements based on wishful thinking, then have to back them up with actual money later.

  72. Chris: that’s on our servers. That’s not where I want to use Drobo. We have quite a few video editing systems being built. I need TONS of reliable storage. Drobo is going to fit the bill just fine for that. All our desktops are either Windows or Macs.

  73. “This thing rocks. I can see buying quite a few of these for PodTech.”

    This is also why executives make extremely bad technology buyers. They’ll make statements based on wishful thinking, then have to back them up with actual money later.

  74. “All our desktops are either Windows or Macs.”

    Ah, I see. Normally you don’t need a SAN or automatic backup in that type of environment though.

  75. “All our desktops are either Windows or Macs.”

    Ah, I see. Normally you don’t need a SAN or automatic backup in that type of environment though.

  76. Chris: unlike you I’ve actually seen a Drobo up close and personal. And it solves a major problem for me on my desktops. What happens if one of those hard drives I have all my video on dies? I lose work and time and money. What happens if a drive dies in a Drobo? Nothing.

  77. Chris: unlike you I’ve actually seen a Drobo up close and personal. And it solves a major problem for me on my desktops. What happens if one of those hard drives I have all my video on dies? I lose work and time and money. What happens if a drive dies in a Drobo? Nothing.

  78. Most of the time companies such as yours lease or rent from Apple, HP ect…. because the depreciation turnover on the machines is too big of an expense.

    That being said leased equipment is used for maybe 1-2 years tops, and usually is too new to have that type of failure.

    You could buy 20 desktop mini-SANs for insurance, but it’s probably not worth it. The video is going to wind up on your Ubuntu server anyway, and that is most likely backed up daily.

    I have a feeling you are in a position where you can afford to be nice and keep this company going with a bulk purchase, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

  79. Most of the time companies such as yours lease or rent from Apple, HP ect…. because the depreciation turnover on the machines is too big of an expense.

    That being said leased equipment is used for maybe 1-2 years tops, and usually is too new to have that type of failure.

    You could buy 20 desktop mini-SANs for insurance, but it’s probably not worth it. The video is going to wind up on your Ubuntu server anyway, and that is most likely backed up daily.

    I have a feeling you are in a position where you can afford to be nice and keep this company going with a bulk purchase, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

  80. @33. Thanks for that Skeptical. That was really helpful.

    @41. Robert, presumably you’re not thinking of using these for HD video editing? Is USB fast enough for that? I’d have thought mirrored pairs of RAID 0′ed (2,3 or 4 disks striped) eSATA drive cages would have been the obvious low-cost option for reliable (redundant) , high-performance video editing?

    eSATA is blazingly fast for data transfers if you have striped disks at the other end of the wire (you need striped disks, otherwise the write-speed of the disk is limiting) – easily good enough for moving HD video around. USB 2, on the other hand, is usually dog slow for data transfers – the wire protocol is usually limiting, even with just a single drive attached.

  81. @33. Thanks for that Skeptical. That was really helpful.

    @41. Robert, presumably you’re not thinking of using these for HD video editing? Is USB fast enough for that? I’d have thought mirrored pairs of RAID 0′ed (2,3 or 4 disks striped) eSATA drive cages would have been the obvious low-cost option for reliable (redundant) , high-performance video editing?

    eSATA is blazingly fast for data transfers if you have striped disks at the other end of the wire (you need striped disks, otherwise the write-speed of the disk is limiting) – easily good enough for moving HD video around. USB 2, on the other hand, is usually dog slow for data transfers – the wire protocol is usually limiting, even with just a single drive attached.

  82. I was a Beta tester for this device and it works really well as DAS.
    Windows automatically recognises the unit and essentially you can just use it as another drive from within Windows.

    I successfully used this drive (shared on my network) to stream a variety of Media files around the place.

    It’s also a very resilient backup device. I currently have 4 300gb drives in it and it’s been working perfectly for me.

    Price aside, this device is recommended.

  83. I was a Beta tester for this device and it works really well as DAS.
    Windows automatically recognises the unit and essentially you can just use it as another drive from within Windows.

    I successfully used this drive (shared on my network) to stream a variety of Media files around the place.

    It’s also a very resilient backup device. I currently have 4 300gb drives in it and it’s been working perfectly for me.

    Price aside, this device is recommended.

  84. Anyone that thinks that you don’t need reliable desktop storage for projects because drives don’t fail, or that large companies lease their desktop machines and get them replaced every 1-2 years is just not living in the real world.

    In the real world, the one that I live in, drives fail all the time and MTBF numbers mean nothing when a drive drops dead right in front of your eyes. Its MTBF was actually two weeks, not 50,000 hours. Oops, they’ll have to adjust that average failure rate down by .000001% now. That might not affect their product line much, but to me that was a 100% failure. Again, if you don’t think it happens, then you have never, and I stress never, worked in an IT support department in your life. It happens all the time.

    This is why you need resilient desktop workspace. We’re not talking about long-term SAN storage or backed up web sites. We’re talking about all of the raw footage and project files that you are working on now. RAID 0 is great and I use it for my primary drive on this machine, but it only increases your chances of drive failure. SAN’s are a wonderful resilient NETWORK storage technology, but it is virutaly useless for desktop editing, even on gig ehternet.

    As for my own thoughts on the product, it’s niffty for home storage, but without eSATA or at the very least FW 800, it has no place on a professional editing station.

  85. Anyone that thinks that you don’t need reliable desktop storage for projects because drives don’t fail, or that large companies lease their desktop machines and get them replaced every 1-2 years is just not living in the real world.

    In the real world, the one that I live in, drives fail all the time and MTBF numbers mean nothing when a drive drops dead right in front of your eyes. Its MTBF was actually two weeks, not 50,000 hours. Oops, they’ll have to adjust that average failure rate down by .000001% now. That might not affect their product line much, but to me that was a 100% failure. Again, if you don’t think it happens, then you have never, and I stress never, worked in an IT support department in your life. It happens all the time.

    This is why you need resilient desktop workspace. We’re not talking about long-term SAN storage or backed up web sites. We’re talking about all of the raw footage and project files that you are working on now. RAID 0 is great and I use it for my primary drive on this machine, but it only increases your chances of drive failure. SAN’s are a wonderful resilient NETWORK storage technology, but it is virutaly useless for desktop editing, even on gig ehternet.

    As for my own thoughts on the product, it’s niffty for home storage, but without eSATA or at the very least FW 800, it has no place on a professional editing station.


  86. As for my own thoughts on the product, it’s niffty for home storage, but without eSATA or at the very least FW 800, it has no place on a professional editing station.

    Shhhh! Their product management might hear you.


  87. As for my own thoughts on the product, it’s niffty for home storage, but without eSATA or at the very least FW 800, it has no place on a professional editing station.

    Shhhh! Their product management might hear you.

  88. “Obviously someone else couldn’t keep it under wraps.”

    Not sure what you mean by that – they were showing the Drobo off at Photoshop World in Boston this past week.

  89. “Obviously someone else couldn’t keep it under wraps.”

    Not sure what you mean by that – they were showing the Drobo off at Photoshop World in Boston this past week.

  90. “Robert, presumably you’re not thinking of using these for HD video editing?”

    The company reps I talked to specifically said no to that idea…for the time being. Firewire is obviously coming eventually.

  91. “Robert, presumably you’re not thinking of using these for HD video editing?”

    The company reps I talked to specifically said no to that idea…for the time being. Firewire is obviously coming eventually.

  92. @gary,

    You’re being absolutely silly. Scoble has NFS and Samba with the Ubuntu server. On an internal lan he could drag and drop a video file raw onto a RAID Ubuntu cluster through Samba in a minute or so.

    The reason that solution is INFINITELY more attractive than patching each machine is because it’s centrally managed.
    Each person, using Linux, Windows or Mac can use this solution transparently and that server can get backed up nightly or in real time with free software that comes with Ubuntu.

    In an office situation, what Scoble is proposing is probably the most wasteful way you could go about solving that problem.
    Again, Scoble is far from an IT specialist or manager, so who can blame him for wanting the shiny new engadget toy.
    At least Scoble is using Fedora Core and now Ubuntu. He could have used Windows server and that would have lead to some huge problems on the server side. So at least he should be applauded for making one super wise technology choice.

    Supported RHEL4-5 wouldn’t have been a bad choice either, because RH road tests the configurations way more than Ubuntu. Which is part of the reason it costs so much more.

  93. @gary,

    You’re being absolutely silly. Scoble has NFS and Samba with the Ubuntu server. On an internal lan he could drag and drop a video file raw onto a RAID Ubuntu cluster through Samba in a minute or so.

    The reason that solution is INFINITELY more attractive than patching each machine is because it’s centrally managed.
    Each person, using Linux, Windows or Mac can use this solution transparently and that server can get backed up nightly or in real time with free software that comes with Ubuntu.

    In an office situation, what Scoble is proposing is probably the most wasteful way you could go about solving that problem.
    Again, Scoble is far from an IT specialist or manager, so who can blame him for wanting the shiny new engadget toy.
    At least Scoble is using Fedora Core and now Ubuntu. He could have used Windows server and that would have lead to some huge problems on the server side. So at least he should be applauded for making one super wise technology choice.

    Supported RHEL4-5 wouldn’t have been a bad choice either, because RH road tests the configurations way more than Ubuntu. Which is part of the reason it costs so much more.

  94. @54 “At least Scoble is using Fedora Core and now Ubuntu….So at least he should be applauded for making one super wise technology choice.”

    Given his record and pedigree, I rather doubt he had any involvement whatsoever in that decision..

  95. @54 “At least Scoble is using Fedora Core and now Ubuntu….So at least he should be applauded for making one super wise technology choice.”

    Given his record and pedigree, I rather doubt he had any involvement whatsoever in that decision..

  96. I also have reservations about the proprietary (sp?) format.

    With WHS, it’s just a normal NTFS format and from what I recall, the user can just pull the disk out when he wants and be able to read the data (or something along these lines). I may be wrong though. Feel free to correct me.

  97. I also have reservations about the proprietary (sp?) format.

    With WHS, it’s just a normal NTFS format and from what I recall, the user can just pull the disk out when he wants and be able to read the data (or something along these lines). I may be wrong though. Feel free to correct me.

  98. I want to learn more — this sound interesting.

    If its based on ZFS then its a pile of shit. I hope not.

    ZFS is a turd buried in a cream puff … its typical SUN crap … s…. I tried it on a Panther develper release … command line only, not all implemented, a total waste of time. This could be Apple’s fault, but a friend tried it on Opensolaris — ZFS works, but its SLOWWWW…. Sun removed negative comments about performance from their site…. you can still find them on waybackmachine …..

  99. I want to learn more — this sound interesting.

    If its based on ZFS then its a pile of shit. I hope not.

    ZFS is a turd buried in a cream puff … its typical SUN crap … s…. I tried it on a Panther develper release … command line only, not all implemented, a total waste of time. This could be Apple’s fault, but a friend tried it on Opensolaris — ZFS works, but its SLOWWWW…. Sun removed negative comments about performance from their site…. you can still find them on waybackmachine …..

  100. I don’t edit HD yet. This setup should work fine for the kind of work I do.

    LayZ is correct. We have an engineering team that chose the OS’s we use on server side.

    Chris: sorry to burst your bubble here. I need my media on a faster bus than on a network drive somewhere. USB isn’t really fast enough for some of the work I’d like to do (Maxtor/Seagate has RAID drives I’ll use for that). But for much of the work we do these Drobos are just great.

  101. I don’t edit HD yet. This setup should work fine for the kind of work I do.

    LayZ is correct. We have an engineering team that chose the OS’s we use on server side.

    Chris: sorry to burst your bubble here. I need my media on a faster bus than on a network drive somewhere. USB isn’t really fast enough for some of the work I’d like to do (Maxtor/Seagate has RAID drives I’ll use for that). But for much of the work we do these Drobos are just great.

  102. Zian says:


    I also have reservations about the proprietary (sp?) format.

    What propietary format? It’s a block storage device.

    In any event, NTFS and all the stuff Microsoft are doing in WHS are all propietary.

    According to Paul Thurrott:


    With WHS, storage is hot-swappable. You can plug in an 80 GB hard drive, for example, and configure it quickly with the WHS Add Drive wizard. When you want to remove it and replace it with a 500 GB drive, there’s a simple wizard for that as well.

    Well, that’s neat, but with the Drobo, you just plug a drive into the unit, and you have more storage. No wizard, no nothing. Unit full? No problem. Remove the smallest drive and plug in a larger drive. No wizard there either.

    And there is still no ZFS under the hood. It’s just block storage.

  103. Zian says:


    I also have reservations about the proprietary (sp?) format.

    What propietary format? It’s a block storage device.

    In any event, NTFS and all the stuff Microsoft are doing in WHS are all propietary.

    According to Paul Thurrott:


    With WHS, storage is hot-swappable. You can plug in an 80 GB hard drive, for example, and configure it quickly with the WHS Add Drive wizard. When you want to remove it and replace it with a 500 GB drive, there’s a simple wizard for that as well.

    Well, that’s neat, but with the Drobo, you just plug a drive into the unit, and you have more storage. No wizard, no nothing. Unit full? No problem. Remove the smallest drive and plug in a larger drive. No wizard there either.

    And there is still no ZFS under the hood. It’s just block storage.

  104. USB isn’t really fast enough for some of the work I’d like to do

    eSata, baby, eSata…and Seagate is offa that ship seemingly. :(

  105. USB isn’t really fast enough for some of the work I’d like to do

    eSata, baby, eSata…and Seagate is offa that ship seemingly. :(

  106. “Chris: sorry to burst your bubble here. I need my media on a faster bus than on a network drive somewhere.”

    You need a better router.
    Basically you’re saying that the drive is going to fail the instant you dump the movie in from the camera. If that’s the case just dump it back in.

    Also you’re worrying about something that won’t happen in the first place. I would go with the network drive and a good router using NFS, but that’s just me.

    You can do other work while the data is transferring to the networked file system. Computers now a days can multiprocess.

  107. “Chris: sorry to burst your bubble here. I need my media on a faster bus than on a network drive somewhere.”

    You need a better router.
    Basically you’re saying that the drive is going to fail the instant you dump the movie in from the camera. If that’s the case just dump it back in.

    Also you’re worrying about something that won’t happen in the first place. I would go with the network drive and a good router using NFS, but that’s just me.

    You can do other work while the data is transferring to the networked file system. Computers now a days can multiprocess.

  108. For ~$700, I’d like to see a version that is networkable, has 8-12 drive bays and includes the slick software utilities that are coming with Microsoft’s Windows Home Server for backing up systems on the home network and remote access. Maybe the guy at Lime Technology can figure out how to add some of Drobo’s slick hardware features in their UnRaid product.

  109. For ~$700, I’d like to see a version that is networkable, has 8-12 drive bays and includes the slick software utilities that are coming with Microsoft’s Windows Home Server for backing up systems on the home network and remote access. Maybe the guy at Lime Technology can figure out how to add some of Drobo’s slick hardware features in their UnRaid product.


  110. Maybe the guy at Lime Technology can figure out how to add some of Drobo’s slick hardware features in their UnRaid product.

    Ha ha. That UnRaid technology is just UnReal. Look at all the down time and screwing around just to add a drive. Great move, that!


  111. Maybe the guy at Lime Technology can figure out how to add some of Drobo’s slick hardware features in their UnRaid product.

    Ha ha. That UnRaid technology is just UnReal. Look at all the down time and screwing around just to add a drive. Great move, that!

  112. I want to learn more — this sound interesting.

    If its based on ZFS then its a pile of shit. I hope not.

    ZFS is a turd buried in a cream puff … its typical SUN crap … s…. I tried it on a Panther develper release … command line only, not all implemented, a total waste of time. This could be Apple’s fault, but a friend tried it on Opensolaris — ZFS works, but its SLOWWWW…. Sun removed negative comments about performance from their site…. you can still find them on waybackmachine …..

  113. I want to learn more — this sound interesting.

    If its based on ZFS then its a pile of shit. I hope not.

    ZFS is a turd buried in a cream puff … its typical SUN crap … s…. I tried it on a Panther develper release … command line only, not all implemented, a total waste of time. This could be Apple’s fault, but a friend tried it on Opensolaris — ZFS works, but its SLOWWWW…. Sun removed negative comments about performance from their site…. you can still find them on waybackmachine …..

  114. If you really wanna try this out, here’s a discount code that will get you $100 off at the drobo store: REFDANA

    (good thru may 31)

  115. If you really wanna try this out, here’s a discount code that will get you $100 off at the drobo store: REFDANA

    (good thru may 31)

  116. After all the complaints about Drobo’s price —

    Now it has been slashed. The foxy new black cube will sotre your terabytes for less.

    Data Robotics, the manufacturer of the Drobo, has announced that the cube’s price is being cut from $699 to $499.

    And, in an unusual move, the company is offering a rebate to anyone who already bought a Drobo above $499.

  117. After all the complaints about Drobo’s price —

    Now it has been slashed. The foxy new black cube will sotre your terabytes for less.

    Data Robotics, the manufacturer of the Drobo, has announced that the cube’s price is being cut from $699 to $499.

    And, in an unusual move, the company is offering a rebate to anyone who already bought a Drobo above $499.

  118. From my reading of their (sketchy) docs, it is not block storage. The Drobo unit pretends to be a virtual 2TB USB block storage unit, but under the hood it knows about the filesystem you are using (NTFS and HFS+) and does the file replication to multiple drives. In a way, it’s a USB-NAS. That’s why Linux is not yet supported, they need to add support for ext3 in the filesystem before that can happen.

    It certainly does not use ZFS. ZFS is insanely great, but it does not have the flexibility to add or remove drives at random like Drobo can.

  119. From my reading of their (sketchy) docs, it is not block storage. The Drobo unit pretends to be a virtual 2TB USB block storage unit, but under the hood it knows about the filesystem you are using (NTFS and HFS+) and does the file replication to multiple drives. In a way, it’s a USB-NAS. That’s why Linux is not yet supported, they need to add support for ext3 in the filesystem before that can happen.

    It certainly does not use ZFS. ZFS is insanely great, but it does not have the flexibility to add or remove drives at random like Drobo can.

  120. After reading through the majority of posts here, it’s clear that most people don’t quite “get” the Drobo. Everyone wants to pit it against NAS devices, complain that building an Ubuntu RAID 5 file server is less expensive, that it doesn’t support ext3 for Linux, etc.

    You see, therein lies the problem. Drobo’s greatest strength turns into it’s largest weakness… the fact that it’s protected storage. As soon as that fact is known, it’s immediately thrown into a class of product where it doesn’t belong. Drobo isn’t destined to supplant users like you who can setup and configure RAID 5 machines, or can configure RAID NAS devices that directly connect to networks through CAT 5 cables. Why? Because you know what the heck those things are, how to use them, and how to fix them when they break. You, my friends, are in the minority.

    So what are the facts:

    1. All computer users have important data
    2. All computer users want a reliable backup solution

    Where do most turn? To burning discs or buying a USB drive like the Western Digital Passport. They copy files there and think they’re safe. However, users like us know that’s “better than nothing”, but a load of crap.

    That’s what Drobo is for… to provide a simple, user friendly device that does the things the common user doesn’t understand, and do it well. In fact, the way Drobo handles multi-drive sizes, multiple layers of RAID, instantaneous ability to add space, and the way it can easily grow with the users needs is nothing short of brilliant. Users CAN buy hard drives and slide them into a bay. How do I know that, because people can buy frozen pizzas and slide them into an oven.

    Would networking be a really cool feature? I think so, but I’ve read some pretty good arguments in the Drobo Forums why it’s not really necessary. And there’s an article on how to network the Drobo with an Apple Airport Extreme that was pretty interesting.

  121. After reading through the majority of posts here, it’s clear that most people don’t quite “get” the Drobo. Everyone wants to pit it against NAS devices, complain that building an Ubuntu RAID 5 file server is less expensive, that it doesn’t support ext3 for Linux, etc.

    You see, therein lies the problem. Drobo’s greatest strength turns into it’s largest weakness… the fact that it’s protected storage. As soon as that fact is known, it’s immediately thrown into a class of product where it doesn’t belong. Drobo isn’t destined to supplant users like you who can setup and configure RAID 5 machines, or can configure RAID NAS devices that directly connect to networks through CAT 5 cables. Why? Because you know what the heck those things are, how to use them, and how to fix them when they break. You, my friends, are in the minority.

    So what are the facts:

    1. All computer users have important data
    2. All computer users want a reliable backup solution

    Where do most turn? To burning discs or buying a USB drive like the Western Digital Passport. They copy files there and think they’re safe. However, users like us know that’s “better than nothing”, but a load of crap.

    That’s what Drobo is for… to provide a simple, user friendly device that does the things the common user doesn’t understand, and do it well. In fact, the way Drobo handles multi-drive sizes, multiple layers of RAID, instantaneous ability to add space, and the way it can easily grow with the users needs is nothing short of brilliant. Users CAN buy hard drives and slide them into a bay. How do I know that, because people can buy frozen pizzas and slide them into an oven.

    Would networking be a really cool feature? I think so, but I’ve read some pretty good arguments in the Drobo Forums why it’s not really necessary. And there’s an article on how to network the Drobo with an Apple Airport Extreme that was pretty interesting.

  122. Fazal says:


    From my reading of their (sketchy) docs, it is not block storage. The Drobo unit pretends to be a virtual 2TB USB block storage unit, but under the hood it knows about the filesystem you are using (NTFS and HFS+) and does the file replication to multiple drives. In a way, it’s a USB-NAS. That’s why Linux is not yet supported, they need to add support for ext3 in the filesystem before that can happen.

    It’s a USB storage device. That means SCSI over USB.

    Do you know what sort of a performance hit you would take translating LBAs to file offsets and back again and understanding two or three or ten file systems.

    It’s a block storage device.

  123. Fazal says:


    From my reading of their (sketchy) docs, it is not block storage. The Drobo unit pretends to be a virtual 2TB USB block storage unit, but under the hood it knows about the filesystem you are using (NTFS and HFS+) and does the file replication to multiple drives. In a way, it’s a USB-NAS. That’s why Linux is not yet supported, they need to add support for ext3 in the filesystem before that can happen.

    It’s a USB storage device. That means SCSI over USB.

    Do you know what sort of a performance hit you would take translating LBAs to file offsets and back again and understanding two or three or ten file systems.

    It’s a block storage device.