Hard drives

Eight-bay DroboPro Sets Sights on Small Business Storage

The new Data Robotics DroboPro aims to bring high-end storage capabilities more mainstream, while introducing the company's expandable BeyondRAID technology upstream from its consumer-driven Drobo storage device.

Data Robotics first introduced its storage virtualization alternative to RAID for storage expansion and data redundancy a year-and-a-half ago, when the four-bay, USB 2.0-attached Drobo was first introduced. With its second product, Data Robotics brings BeyondRAID into a devices that's designed with small businesses of up to 100 users in mind.

The device has eight vertically-mounted SATA drive bays, housed in a solid, black chassis that's equally at home on a desk or mounted in a 19-inch equipment rack. It also supports multiple operating systems and file systems (including NTFS, HFS Plus, FAT32, and EXT3), and has FireWire800 and USB 2.0 ports as well as a gigabit ethernet port for an iSCSI connection.

The inclusion of iSCSI support is particularly noteworthy and unusual at this level; typically,iSCSI is used in storage area networks (SAN), and uses IP-based storage networking technologies to link devices. Data Robotics says its approach to iSCSI makes the often-complex technology approachable: DroboPro requires "zero click" configuration in either Windows or OS X setups.

One of the advantages to how Drobo works is that you can adjust disk volume size and configurations on the fly, without requiring the wait times typically required by RAID. And since the storage is being pulled across multiple disks, as opposed to being dependent upon the physical disk size, the available data redundancy are more flexible than with traditional RAID.

Available now, DroboPro will be sold in multiple configurations, starting at $1299 for the base product without drives, all the way up to $3999 for 16TB with a rack mount.

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