The Drobo storage robot, which we tested in 2007, offers a fascinating combination of advanced data protection features, flexibility and support for SATA drives. Unfortunately, the original Drobo provides low throughput via its USB 2.0 connection. While its optional DroboShare accessory and forthcoming DroboApps application family enable it to operate as a storage device or a streaming media server on your Gigabit Ethernet network, better performance is what we'd like to see in either use.
Stung, perhaps, by our review's less-than-stellar 6 out of 10 score, Data Robotics is now rolling out a new version that features FireWire 800 (aka IEEE-1394b) ports as well as USB 2.0 ports. If you don't have a FireWire 800 port, the new Drobo has you covered. It includes bilingual ports that also run in FireWire 400 (IEEE-1394a) mode.
The new Drobo is designed to be faster, even if you use USB ports instead of FireWire ports. According to Data Robotics , "even if you’re now using USB 2.0, the new Drobo is up to three times as fast its predecessor in typical usage."
Give credit to a faster processor under the hood. Data Robotics says that the new Drobo is now fast enough for video editing.
The Drobolator online capacity calculator will help you determine how many drives to install in a Drobo to reach your desired capacity (Drobo reserves some drive capacity for its RAID-like redundancy data protection features). For example, install three 500GB drives, and you'll have effective storage space of 929GB.
With greater speed for USB 2.0 users and support for FireWire 800 ports, Drobo 2nd Generation looks like a sequel that could be better than the original.
Graphic courtesy Data Robotics .