There are times where I preach cloud storage and streaming, it helps especially since I have unlimited data. Yet, even I can appreciate having local storage available for quick access. For the past 2 years, I’ve had several external hard drives connect to my main computer with TBs of media for my home-viewing pleasure. Good thing about that, it allows me to have thousands of tv shows, movies, and music files available and able to use on my home server. Bad thing, multiple drives means harder to locate, and unless i wanted double the drives (or do the process to create a raid) having a backup was tough as well. This is where Drobo comes in.
Drobo is easily one of the best storage management systems you can have, due to it’s ease and your peace of mind. Not only does it combine multiple hard drives for you into a single unit, but it also takes care of backup, protection, and expansion without you having to worry about doing too many things. Let’s go through my journey so that we can see exactly how a 3rd Generation Drobo (that’s the model I have) can help in your household.
As I previously said, I use to have 3 external drives connected to my desktop, housing all my media or other things that I didn’t want on my computer. Already that 3 USB ports taken up. I wasn’t an expert in storage so I didn’t have them set up in a RAID and was really just taking my chance on hoping they would fail — they never did for the few years I used them. They were also always in use since I had a massive Plex library spanning across the 3 drives. This setup worked just fine, along with the fact that i had a USB hub attached to my desktop also. One day though, I was introduced to Drobo and decided to give them a whirl.
I received my Drobo 3rd gen. and when you first open the box you’ll see the unit, some cords, some very simple/basic instruction and a carrying bag. The Drobo itself is a long, rectangular unit with a detachable door in the front where you can place the drives. It has LEDs everywhere for various status announcements, a single large USB 3.0 port on the back, along with power and a huge fan grill. One of the instructions said to visit Drobo.com to register and research, it was there that I learned about the split in storage management.
Using Drobo’s capacity calculator, I learned that when using Drobo you have your Raw Storage, which is the total amount of storage you have. That storage gets divided, automatically, into: available storage, storage for protection, overhead, and storage reserved for expansion. When using a Drobo with 2 or less drives, expect to use about 50% of your raw storage due to overhead used for protecting your data, more drives equal more percentage of storage available to be used. I currently have 14TB of storage covered over 3 drives and my storage looks like this.
Upon plugging the Drobo in and waiting for all the LEDs to indicate that it was ready for lift off, I was able to insert my drive, one by one (after moving my current storage off somewhere else, due to the fact that they will need to be formatted upon first use), and register my Drobo using the Drobo Dashboard app that is highly recommended you install.
Drobo Dashboard lets you maintain your peace of mind about your Drobo with an easy to use, total commander app. You can select which Drobo you want to check out (if you have multiples), you can check the status or capacity of your drives, and even do little things like rename your Drobo or dim the lights on the front of it.
You can also check the performance of your machine which can easily be alter by doing things such as putting the USB 3 cord into a USB 2 port. This is also where you’d go to find support for your Drobo or, if you ever have to, reset your Drobo and all included drives — which I had to do due to personal negligence. I really enjoyed having an ‘offline’ place, to control everything about my Drobo.
Now this wonderful product that takes all the hard work of maintaining multiple storage devices for you doesn’t come without its faults, thankfully the faults are not due to the machine itself. First off, you’ll need to be patient. It can take hours during the first setup or if you have a drive fail and Drobo needs to start restoring data to it. It’ll continue working, but you’re going to have to let it do it’s thing, which should be easy, seeing that normally you would’ve just lost your data.
Secondly, Drobo needs to work on their customer service and their time management. I had an issue with my Drobo (again it was totally my fault, I didn’t follow my first rule and was rushing) and while they were helpful and wanting to help me resolve the situation, their support was taking days!!! After about a week of “support” and no fixed Drobo, I just took matters to myself and reset my Drobo, which, like any other major factory reset, resolved my issue.
Luckily though if you’re reading this review, you can save some money on your next Drobo purchase, all you have to do is use the code “TRIAD100” to save $100 on your next Drobo.
Overall, Drobo are the best way that I’ve seen to manage your household storage. It can be a little expensive, but for having your data available and protected, with ease, the price shouldn’t be too much of an issue. I highly recommended this to anyone with a high amount of storage across several drives, this may end up changing your view about computing storage.Get it from Drobo Store