Everybody loves Drobo, but they've been a bit quiet with new products recently and have been overtaken by other storage manufacturers. Things might change, they've just announced two new products, the 5D and the Mini.
Our old Drobo has been clunking away for a few years now providing a place for backup files that we want to keep without having to use the connected Timecapsule. It's been rock solid, but slow.
If you haven't come across a Drobo before, the main USP is the ability to swap out drives should they fail and replace them with a new disk that can be larger than the original. This proprietary RAID system means that the RAID can grow with the availability of faster and bigger capacity disks.
Drobo have announced two new models that can connect to your Mac via Thunderbolt and USB3. Most important to us is that both new models feature two Thunderbolt ports which means it won't be an end of chain device.
No speed specifications are published as this will depend on what type of drives you install, spinning disks or SSD and the speed of each drive. Drobo have said that these are aimed at professionals who use FCP and other editing apps so we expect a pretty high read and write data rate.
“Our customers love Drobo’s ease of use, but they want it all—the easiest, the fastest, the safest for their data, plus the smallest and quietest,” said Tom Buiocchi, Drobo CEO. “That’s why we are here—our new Drobos will deliver on our promise of the best storage experience ever.”
The yet unpriced 5D with five drives and an additional SSD bay can support up to 16 terabytes of protected, SSD-accelerated data. One nice touch we noticed was the fact that a 2 metre thunderbolt cable is included in the box.
The Mini is designed as a portable device that takes up to four 2.5" HDD or SDD drives. It comes in a ruggedized design with a miniaturized power supply making it ideal to shove into your laptop bag.
“I will shoot thousands of images per day at the Olympics, and having fast, protected storage is critical to my workflow,” said Jeff Cable, one of the few photographers representing Team USA at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. “The new Drobo Mini provides Thunderbolt performance and RAID protection in a compact package that is not much larger than a single external drive. I can’t wait to get my hands on one.”
Again, no price has been announced but you can log your interest on the Drobo website and they will send you information when both models become available. We will be interested to see some speed tests of these units as they are entering a competitive thunderbolt marketplace that will feature products such as the portable Promise J4 & J2 drives from Promise.