By Neil Bennett | on July 21, 2008
Price When Reviewed: 414.95
Pros: Innovative RAID system that’s not reliant on same-sized drived. Easy to set up. No drive trays.
Cons: No security controls. Slow.
This model was reviewed as part of our group test of NAS drives.
The Drobo is a USB 2.0 hard drive with a RAID technology all of its own, while the DroboShare is an add-on that allows you to connect it to a network. It’s like the Mac of NAS devices – very easy to use as long as you follow its way of working.
The Drobo’s big selling point is its ability to mix and match drive sizes. You can slot whatever Serial ATA drives you like into the chassis as, unlike the competition, you don’t need to screw the drives into cradles. The device them sorts them into its own version of RAID 5, with a capacity of around two-thirds to three-quarters of the total capacity.
Connecting a Drobo via USB 2.0 requires using the Drobo Dashboard utility, which is available for both Macs and PCs. Once attached to the DroboShare, you need to use this utility to administrate the DroboShare over a network – which also automatically sets up the Drobo as a virtual drive.
It doesn’t offer a Web interface, but there’s not much to administrate – there’s no way to sort out access passwords, users, groups or quotas for example. Flexibility has been completely discounted in favour of ease-of-use – though you can unplug the DroboShare and use the Drobo as an external hard drive. It’s slow too, but if your needs are simple, the Drobo has much to offer.
Total capacity of review unit: 720GB
Number of drives: 2-4