updated 09:40 am EST, Mon November 23, 2009
Drobo S adds eSATA and speed
Data Robotics started the week off with two major upgrades to its Drobo external drives. The Drobo S adds a fifth bay that gives it even more room (up to 10TB) and dual-drive redundancy that lets owners lose two drives at once without facing actual data loss. It further brings the first use of eSATA to give primarily Windows-based PCs a fast alternative to the normally more Mac-friendly FireWire 800 and universal but slower USB 2.0 ports.
The design lacks compatibility with the DroboShare add-on but in return should be about 20 to 25 percent faster in transfers when using FireWire 800.
The DroboElite in turn is Data Robotics' first venture into medium-sized business storage. Similar to the Pro, it still has eight bays and protection against two drive failures but depends solely on two gigabit Ethernet ports for offloading data; it's intended primarily for iSCSI and can pool together with other Drobos to create "smart volumes," or individual portions of a larger storage area network whose data is tracked virtually rather than by the physical drives. It's rack-mountable and should support CHAP authentication on both Mac OS X and Windows PCs.
The Drobo S will sell for $799 without drives; existing Drobo models will remain at their existing $399 price. DroboElite will cost $3,499 and should be available at larger business suppliers like CDW and Ingram Micro.