Drobo Targets SMB Market with Drobo 12-Bay B1200i Appliance
Drobo, once known as Data Robotics Inc., is pushing deeper into the SMB storage market with its latest and biggest storage appliance. The B1200i is bringing the ability to support up to 12 drives in a single appliance, plus, some fancy new storage tricks using SSDs. I spoke to Erik Pounds, director of product management at Drobo, about the new product and Drobo’s channel focus …
The 12-bay Drobo B1200i is part of Drobo’s ongoing efforts to develop more business-focused appliances. Pounds noted Drobo is focusing on two main markets, with half of its products focused on the “pro-sumer” market and the other half focused on the SMB. But the B1200i represents a larger effort to design a completely SMB-focused product. “It’s the first Drobo that has modular serviceable components,” he said. “We’re really going after the SMB IT customers that are attracted to the more modern advanced storage technologies, but can’t afford the more expensive EqualLogic or Compellent boxes.”
The B1200i also supports SAS drives, and in addition to the unique Drobo BeyondRAID technology, Drobo now comes with automatic data-aware tiering. Many enterprises have monster storage solutions for high performance that integrate data pools or SSDs for fast read times and application cache, but not so for the SMB, he said. But now “… we’re bringing technology like that down to the SMB for the first time. Just stick [the drives] in. No knobs or switches. The Drobo will automatically tune itself, recognize the data as it comes in and place the media accordingly. Small writes and random writes will go to the SSD, and bulk data streaming will go to the bulk storage [of regular drives],” he said.
Plus, he said disk recovery options are available should an SSD fail instead of a regular HDD. If users have set up the B1200i for dual drive failure, he said, they can have two SSDs fail simultaneously and still have all of their data secure. The B1200i is ideal for SMBs looking for application and virtualization storage, too. With a 12TB populated device costing $9,999, Pounds noted this technology is at “… price points where SMB IT admins can fit them into the budget. That’s really critical.”
Pounds pointed ot Drobo is a 100 percent channel-driven company with no direct sales and more than 1,000 partners. Drobo is positioning the B1200i as perfect for partners looking to tap into the growing SMB space with something different and more fully featured.