Simplified Storage: Drobo Pro FS Debuts For SMBs
Data Robotics’ backup solution, dubbed Drobo, might not be a familiar name to some, but after you become acquainted, you certainly won’t forget the name. Drobo has some unique features that make annoying backup solutions easy to maintain. Read on about the new Drobo Pro FS, and the channel opportunities Data Robotics provides…
I spoke to Jim Sherhart, senior director of Marketing, along with Ezra Hookano, VP of worldwide sales for Data Robotics’ SMB product line.
“We were a one-trick pony” quips Sherhart, regarding Data Robotics’ initial foray into the storage world. “But we launched the Drobo Pro in April 2009…” and noted that it was a hit with VARs.
Now, the Drobo Pro FS is their sixth product, and the third product with a focus on business. It’s an evolution of the company’s success with their initial product in 2007 (the original Drobo). “We have a nice breadth now, if you want a DAS or NAS. One product in each category.”
What’s In A Name?
But what is a Drobo? Drobo is a relatively small data storage appliance with hot-swappable, removable SATA drive bays that are striped and paired together to provide a sizable chunk of backup space with nearly zero installation time to get it up and running.
The “Drobo Magic,” as both gentlemen detailed, is that Drobo is smart enough to mix and match different capacity SATA drives to provide an optimal amount of storage with a ‘virtual hot-spare’ drive of overhead protection, so that if any single drive fails, or gets full, the Drobo can rebuild itself simply after replacing the drive. Drobo also has the ability for dual-drive backup mode, for those who need it. (Check out the capacity calculator here.)
Here Comes the Channel
Data Robotic’s initial offering was focused on the pro-sumer side of things, with very little enterprise or SMB usage. “We didn’t have VARS knocking on [too many] doors,” asserted Hookano.
But in the March-to-April 2010 time-frame, Data Robotics relaunched their partner program. Enter the Drobo Pro FS, which Data Robotics is touting as the “first 8-drive business class product within a NAS catagory.” It also comes with Drobo Sync, which provides an integrated off-site backup recovery solution, essentially pairing two Drobo Pro FS’s in harmony.
The Drobo Pro FS provides 2 gigabit Ethernet ports, which can be configured to be used either standalone, or in network protection mode, should a port fail.
Dollars and Cents
So what’s the price tag for the Drobo Pro FS solution? The full configuration, which comes with all the Drobo software (including Drobo Sync and Dashboard), fully outfitted with 16TB of storage space clocks in at $3,300.
What’s more, channel partners have the opportunity to sell two of these fully-populated Drobo Pro FS’s for the Drobo Sync solution, at a slight discount under $6400.
“It’s a turnkey solution. SMB’s haven’t had access to enterprise storage features, so we’re helping with that,” noted Sherhart.
Drobo Pro FS connects directly to any Linux, Apple or Windows computer. Drobo also provides “Automated and Continuous Thin Provisioning” which boils down to the ability to tweak and modify the way Drobo uses its drives to either increase storage capacity, or increase data protection, dynamically, without having to rewrite drive data.