Data Robotics' new Drobo Pro FS is a beefed-up version of the 5-bay Drobo FS, which introduced an integrated NAS server and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity to the company's previously direct-attached range of 'self-managing' storage products for small and medium-sized businesses.
Drobo Pro FS uses the same 8-bay standalone or rack-mountable chassis as last year's single-host iSCSI SAN Drobo Pro and its multi-host successor, the Drobo Elite, but simply provides two Gigabit Ethernet ports (Drobo Pro has 1xGbE, FireWire and USB 2.0; Drobo Elite has 2xGbE and a USB 2.0 admin port). Inside, the processor speed gets a boost from 800MHz to 1GHz, helping to deliver improved performance.
Like all of Data Robotics' products, Drobo Pro FS uses BeyondRAID technology to deliver the data protection benefits of RAID without the setup and administration hassle. You can use any manufacturers' 3.5in. SATA drives, in any combination of capacity and spin speed, and you can add or replace drives on the fly while BeyondRAID takes care of selecting the appropriate RAID level and reconfiguring data in the background. Support for the CIFS and AFP network protocols allows data access from any Windows, Mac or Linux client.
Drobo Pro FS is an 8-bay NAS appliance featuring Data Robotics' BeyondRAID technology
The two Gigabit Ethernet ports can be used either in default standalone mode — one for file access and the other for offsite backup, for example — or in optional 'network protection mode', where the second GbE port acts as an automatic fail-safe in the event of the first one going down.
Dual Gigabit Ethernet ports allow for standalone or 'network protected mode' operation
A big attraction with Drobo Pro FS is the new Drobo Sync capability, which will automatically backup your data (only those portions that have changed) on a configurable schedule to another Drobo Pro FS. The second unit can be on the same local network, or in a secure remote location, accessed via a VPN connection if necessary. Drobo Sync will be integrated into the existing Drobo Dashboard app.
Available from today from resellers and shortly via the online Drobo Store, Drobo Pro FS costs from £1,279 (ex. VAT), to which you'll have to add the cost of the drives. A rack-mount kit will cost an extra £129. Drobo Sync won't be available until the end of October, and will be delivered via a Drobo Dashboard update.