Data Robotics unveils new SME storage

Data Robotics unveils new SME storage

Summary: Data Robotics, maker of the Drobo desktop and network storage products based on the company's proprietary BeyondRAID technology, has announced a new range targeted at small and medium-sized businesses.

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Data Robotics, maker of the Drobo desktop and network storage products based on the company's proprietary BeyondRAID technology, has announced a new range targeted at small and medium-sized businesses.

Since launching its first Drobo device in 2007, Data Robotics has moved from offering desktop storage for creative professionals to addressing the needs of small-business networks: the current range includes desktop devices (4-bay Drobo, 5-bay Drobo S), NAS boxes (5-bay Drobo FS, 8-bay Drobo Pro FS) and iSCSI SAN arrays (single-host Drobo Pro, multi-host Drobo Elite).

BeyondRAID, which underpins all of Data Robotics' products, allows you to mix and match drives of different capacities and spin speeds, automatically selecting the appropriate RAID level (1, 5, 6) to strike the optimum balance between capacity and data protection. Data is reconfigured on the fly as you hot-swap a failed drive, or add a new one; dual-disk redundancy (RAID 6) is also supported, along with thin provisioning (which Drobo calls Smart Volumes). Everything is managed via a visually straightforward Dashboard utility that uses a 'traffic-light' metaphor to indicate disk health.

The new range addresses the existing Drobo Elite and Drobo Pro FS niches with updated (faster) hardware and firmware, and introduces a new naming convention: the 8-bay iSCSI SAN becomes the Drobo B800i ('B' for 'Business', 'i' for iSCSI), while the 8-bay NAS box becomes the Drobo B800fs ('fs' for 'file sharing').

The rack-mount-only 12-bay Drobo B1200i offers greater capacity and an expanded feature set compared to Data Robotics' previous SME storage products

Most interesting is the brand-new 12-bay B1200i (above), which, apart from greater capacity, introduces several new features: support for SSD and SAS drives as well as SATA disks; greater redundancy (dual power supplies, three dedicated iSCSI Gigabit Ethernet ports); Automated Thin Provisioning; and Data-Aware Tiering. With data-aware tiering, the system automatically ensures that frequently accessed data is placed on the fastest drives — for example, small database files supporting multiple transactions per second will go on SSD, if present.

The updated Drobo Dashboard utility now supports SNMP

The Drobo Dashboard utility has been given an overhaul too, making it more 'IT friendly' by adding SNMP support, allowing it to plug into enterprise-level management suites.

The new 8-bay products will be available straight away, starting at £1,409 (ex. VAT); the 12-bay B1200i is slated to appear in the second quarter at a price yet to be announced.

Topic: Reviews

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Charles has been in tech publishing since the late 1980s, starting with Reed's Practical Computing, then moving to Ziff-Davis to help launch the UK version of PC Magazine in 1992. ZDNet came looking for a Reviews Editor in 2000, and he's been here ever since.

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