Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Are 100 Drobos 98 too many?

Drobo is running a promotion to give away 100 Drobos at  The winner will be chosen based on a presentation on how to best use those 100 Drobos.

At first blush, this is kinda interesting. Who wouldn't want 100 of any gizmo?

Well, in this case, winning may actually be losing.

The Drobos being given away are the 4 bay, USB/Firewire model instead of the rack mount 12 bay or even the 5 bay desktop units.  

Disks aren't being provided.  So let's say you take advantage of the Drobo and only buy 2 of the cheapest disks.  As a random point of reference, Amazon has a Western Digital 250GB drive for $40 (  So that means you'll need to spend $8,000 just to put the enclosures to use.  Taxes in the US are also likely to be at least that amount, if not more.

The "BeyondRAID" technology that they have sounds neat and seems like something that would be useful but what's kept me from buying a Drobo (for home or for work) is that my view of the value of this technology is drastically different than their view.

Specifically, a 4 bay USB2 enclosure with the technology is simply not compelling at $400.  It should be at half the price. If I wanted the eSATA/USB 3.0 version, that's a whopping $800. Twice the price for a faster interface?  The NAS version is even cheaper than the eSATA version.

From a performance point of view, I'd want eSATA or even the BeyondRAID technology packaged into a PCIe card that I could put into my own enclosure that would be interesting too.

From a server/rack-mount, again the price is not compelling and what I am looking for in "enterprise" storage is greater manageability, at least 16 drive slots, and, if you want to be cheap storage, actually be cheap.

No comments: