The Drobo Storage Robot may not be sexy tech, but it does have a cool name, and owning one will one day probably save your digital life.
Photos, videos, music, business documents… all of us now are collecting more and more, collecting being the operative word, with many of us relying totally on hard drive storage, either simply on a computer and not backed up, or on an external hard drive. That’s a lot of reliance on something that has a definite doomsday clock built in – hard drives will fail. And if you’ve not backed up at all, or only have all your data on the one drive, that’s a risk that will one day hurt you if you’re not very careful.
The Drobo Storage Robot has a few tricks up its sleeve that keeps your data safe, and the makers have installed software on the units that make data maintenance simple.
Instead of a solitary hard drive, the Drobo Storage Robot has 4 storage bays, so you can drop in 4 individual hard drives. And when I say drop in I mean it, slide the hard drives in and click them into place. As you drop in drives, the built-in BeyondRAID software notes the array you have, and automatically arranges the storage for you, so that your data is never just on the one drive, instead is sits on multiple drives
In the event that one drive fails, you simply insert a new drive, and again the BeyondRAID software automatically kicks in to have the new drive working to store and keep your data safe. Knowing the state the drives are in is communicated by coloured lights on the front of the unit. A green light signifies all is well, yellow signifies that your Drobo is 85% full, and that you need to add or replace a drive, while a red light warns that your data is not safe, and that you need to add or replace a drive immediately.
The Drobo Storage Robot will accommodate up to 4 x 16 terabyte drives – which should do the vast majority of us for quite some time. While all of this may seem a little like overkill, keep in mind the effort you put into collecting entertainment files, and the years of taking photos without making hard copies, or implementing a method of storing them safely.
It also doesn’t care at all whether you connect to a Mac or a PC – again, the system detects this and acts accordingly.
In short, the big selling points of the Drobo Storage Robot, are the flexibility, and the ease-of-use.
Drobo Storage Robot price
In its base form, with no hard drives, with Firewire 800 and USB ports, the Drobo Storage Robot sells for $660. Note that price does not include the hard drives. These are easily sourced, or you can buy the Drobo Storage Robot with hard drives already installed. With 2 x 1.5 terabyte drives on board, the price is $1,095, or with 4 x 1.5 terabyte drives, the price is $1,450.
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