Data Robotics, Inc. DroboPro 8-Bay In-depth Review
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I've always been big into RAID. Taking several hard drives and combining them in ways to either increase performance, redundancy, or both, has always intrigued me. Most RAID hardware manufacturers would have you believe setting up (and eventually expanding) an array is an easy evolution. Most modern motherboards include some form of RAID built-in. Modern boards with Intel ICH-10R SATA controllers handle an array of up to 6 drives.
The trick to having huge storage arrays is where to put all of the drives. The vast majority of PC cases can not handle 6 or more drives, and most power supplies don't come with enough SATA connectors to power them all. While there are solutions out there, putting together your own mass storage / NAS device almost always turns into a relatively long exercise in pre-planning and execution. Given all of the extra parts and higher end hardware needed to make it all work, sometimes it's just easier to buy an off-the-shelf unit to get rolling.
I've followed Drobo since they launched their first product, but always discounted it for higher end applications. It only had 4 bays and used single parity RAID. Power users (myself included) wanted more. A few months back they answered that call. Enter the DroboPro!
With double the available bays, twice the redundancy, and Gigabit Ethernet capable of iSCSI links, DroboPro looks to be a beast of a storage device. Most off-the-shelf units require some sort of advanced configuration. DroboPro aims to be as simple as the user needs it to be. You can just plug it in via USB or Firewire, with no additional software at all, and it will be seen just like any other external storage device. Want access to more options and features? Just install their software and configure away. We will be exploring everything DroboPro has to offer in the pages that follow. Read on for the goods.