|Hard Drive||Mechanical Hard Drive|
Drobo Gen 3: Direct Attached Storage - 4 bay array - USB 3 port. (DDR3A21)
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- Scalable Desktop Storage Array
- 1 x USB 3.0
- Holds 4 x 3.5-Inch SATA HDD's for up to 64 TB
- Carrierless drive bay design,Power fail protection
- Refer user guide below
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From the manufacturer
Drobo 4-Drive Storage Array, USB 3.0
This third generation of the Drobo is more affordable and features a completely new architecture making it more than 3x faster than the previous generation. More impressive, rebuild times are 4x faster delivering maximum data availability in the event of a drive failure. With the inclusion of battery backup technology, Drobo provides even more data protection in the face of an unplanned power outage.
The latest generation of the Drobo 4-bay holds true to the unique design and simplicity that has made Drobo the best desktop storage solution for storing and protection all your data. No storage expertise is required to ensure your data is always safe and protected. Best of all, your Drobo will be ultra quiet and look great on your desk.
Ultimate Investment Protection
Drobo takes upgradability to the next level. Not only can you upgrade capacity with no downtime by adding new drives or replacing smaller drives with larger ones, you can seamlessly upgrade to a new Drobo by simply removing the disk pack from your current system, and moving it to a new Drobo. Upgrading not only gives you an instant performance boost, but also delivers all the other benefits of the new Drobo.
All Your Stuff, Automatically Safe
Built on award-winning BeyondRAID technology with single or dual-drive redundancy, Drobo protects your data without any user interaction. Consult the online capacity calculator to determine how the choice of drive size, number of drives, and protection levels affect available capacity at drobo.com/products/capacity-calculator. Drives can be added or replaced on-the-fly for storage expansion with zero downtime. If you're running low on space, the lights on the front tell you what to do. Just add a drive in an empty slot or remove a smaller drive and replace it with a larger one.
Fast and Flexibility with USB 3.0
With USB 3.0 support, the latest generation of the original Drobo is more than 3x faster than the previous generation. Not only will accessing your data be fast, but rebuild times have improved by 4x in this generation giving you the peace of mind that your data will be fully protected as quickly as possible. USB 3.0 gives the maximum flexibility to be able to plug in to any Windows or Mac easily and start storing or backing up your valuable data within minutes.
Time Machine Backup Support
Pairing Time Machine with Drobo improves your data protection by ensuring your data is safe in the event of hard drive failure. Apple’s guidelines recommend allocating twice the capacity of the Mac’s hard drive for Time Machine. Time Machine users know that it will gradually use all available disk space without an easy way to stop this from happening. With Drobo you can easily control the maximum storage space available for Time Machine backups through Drobo Dashboard.
Power Protecting Your Critical Data
Drobo doesn’t just protect you from a drive failure, but also from potential data loss after a power outage. In every Drobo, we include battery backup technology that protects all data in memory or cache. When power spontaneously goes away, Drobo moves any in flight data to onboard flash in your Drobo so it will be protected and moved to your disk drives once power is restored. This ensures your important information is safe and sound. Even better, your battery recharges itself and is designed to last for the life of you Drobo.
What's in the Box
Drobo Gen3, 6 ft (1.8 m) power cord with power supply, 6 ft (1.8 m), USB 3.0 cable Quick Start Card
The Drobo holds true to the unique design and simplicity that has made Drobo the best desktop storage solution for storing and protection all your data. No storage expertise is required to ensure your data is always safe and protected. Inside every Drobo is the beyondraid storage technology that protects data against a hard disk crash, yet is simple enough for anyone to use. As long as you have more than a single disk in Drobo, all data on Drobo is safe no matter which hard disk fails. THERE'S no need to worry about anything else.
Top Customer Reviews
The biggest problem by far though with the first two generations of Drobos, and a constant source of frustration for me, was the speed of the devices, or the lack thereof to be more precise. Both of my Drobos were ridiculously slow for both write and read speeds. I quickly realized I would only be able to use them for backup and storage of music, photos, and video footage (and NEVER for video editing), and cringed every time I had to make a large file transfer to or from my Drobos.
Then I got an e-mail a month ago from B&H offering me $50 off a new 3rd-generation Drobo (since I was a previous Drobo purchaser), with the new Drobo claiming to have a new architecture three times faster than the last generation. I of course scoffed at this, remembering claims of increased speed in the 2nd-generation upgrade with the new Firewire connection, which never even came close to reaching the full potential of Firewire speeds (in fact the Firewire connection on my devices never surpassed USB 2.0 speeds). At the same time, I will admit I was a bit curious about the claims, and very much wanting them to be true. Not finding a single hands-on review of the new Drobo online to back up the new speed claims, I decided to be the guinea pig and pre-ordered one from B&H, thinking that if the speed claims were false, I could always return it (a dangerous assumption since the hard drive migration process is only one-way and I would not have been able to migrate my drives back to my older Drobo, something I'll get to in a moment).
My new Drobo arrived yesterday afternoon. Drobo claims all you need to do to migrate your hard drives from an existing Drobo 4-bay to the new Drobo 4-bay is to make sure the firmware on both Drobos is updated, then with the power off on both devices just move your hard drives from the old one to the new one. I did this, powered up the new Drobo, gave it about 5-10 minutes for hard drive activity to die down a bit (the Drobos have different firmwares and different "architectures", so I figured it would need a little time to reconfigure things internally), and then ran my speed tests (which I also ran on the old Drobo right before migrating, and also periodically over the lifetime of the Drobo).
I ran my speed tests with Blackmagic Disk Speed Test (and checked results with iStat Menus disk usage menu) with stresses of 1TB and 5TB (and ran the tests several times). For reference, these tests were run on four identical 3TB Western Digital Green drives with a combined usable capacity inside the Drobo of 8GB, of which I was using almost 6.5GB (so they were pretty full, which partially explains the super slow speeds on my old Drobo, though the speeds weren't much better when the drives were mostly empty). These were also tested on a 2013 15" Retina MacBook Pro (using Firewire connection of 2nd-generation Drobo and Firewire to Thunderbolt adapter... which I've actually gotten slightly better results out of than connecting the Drobo Firewire directly to my 2009 MacBook Pro). I migrated these hard drives from the old Drobo to the new one, and ran identical tests before and after the migration. These are approximate AVERAGE speeds:
Drobo 2nd-Generation results (before migration):
Read: 15 MB/s (peak 30MB/s)
Write: 10 MB/s (peak 22MB/s)
Drobo 3rd-Generation results (after migration):
Read: 130 MB/s (peak 200MB/s)
Write: 80 MB/s (peak 180MB/s)
Again, I did nothing else to these drives but move them from the 2nd-generation Drobo to the 3rd-generation Drobo, and I was seeing way more than just Drobo's claimed 3x performance improvements. I'm not claiming that everybody will see such drastic improvements (though I hope they do), as not everybody may have been experiencing such horrifically slow speeds on their 2nd-generation Drobos. And of course there are a ton of other factors to take into consideration.
The main point here is that this new generation of Drobo does seem to be a vast improvement over the previous generation in terms of speed, and it's clearly internal architectural improvements and not just the addition of the USB 3.0 port (as the Firewire connection was not the limiting factor on the last generation of Drobos). It took them long enough, but it seems that Drobo have finally gotten it right this time with their original namesake device!
IMPORTANT NOTE FOR PEOPLE MIGRATING TO THIS NEW 3RD-GENERATION DROBO FROM EITHER 1ST-GENERATION OR 2ND-GENERATION DROBOS: If like me you are interested in buying one of these new Drobos for performance improvements over your current Drobo and want to migrate your hard drives, based on the migration charts on Drobo's website this is a one-way road... i.e. once you take your drives out of your old Drobo and install them in the new 3rd-Generation Drobo, you WILL NOT be able to migrate these drives back to your older Drobo.
Also, for people wanting to migrate drives over from another type of Drobo (i.e. not the standard 4-bay Drobo) to this Drobo, you are out of luck, but interestingly you can migrate drives from this new 3rd-Generation Drobo to the Drobo 5S if you are considering moving up to the 5S in the future. Here is Drobo's official migration chart that shows which devices you can migrate drives to and from:
There are a few other things I've noticed about the new Drobo. First of all, there is a new feature that lets Mac users format part of the Drobo for use specifically with Time Machine (this way Time Machine won't eventually use up the entire Drobo capacity), but this option seems to only be available when you are first setting up new drives in the Drobo... i.e. this option is not available for people migrating drives from an existing Drobo.
There are also a handful of new features in Drobo Dashboard (that only appear when a 3rd-generation Drobo is selected) that may be useful in some cases. Under 'Status', there is now a drop-down menu that gives you two extra displays on top of the original 'System Information', one of which is 'Drive Information' that allows you to check the status and info of your hard drives in each individual bay (it even displays the serial number and firmware of each installed hard drive), and a 'Performance Load' display that shows read, write, and IOPS speeds. Under the Tools menu, the 'Standy' button for older Drobos becomes a 'Shutdown' button for the new Drobo, which ejects your Drobo from your computer and then turns it off (rather than leaving it on in standby mode like it does with older Drobos). And a new option now appears on the left column called 'Drobo Settings', which gives you the option to rename the Drobo (but only for internal naming in Drobo Dashboard... it will not change the name of your Drobo in Finder), a new option called 'Dual Disk Redundancy' that takes up more space for backup (doesn't say how much, so not sure if this is similar to a RAID 1 setup) so that you can have up to two drives fail at once and still be able to recover all your data. This is grayed out for me because I migrated an existing disk pack... you would have to set this up when you initially install your drives in the Drobo. There is also a 'Disk Drive Spindown' option that will spin down the disks after a period of inactivity (again, it doesn't specify how long, and doesn't allow you to set this) to save power and disk life. And lastly there is an option to dim the lights on the front of your Drobo, and this one you can adjust, using a slider that goes from 1 to 10. These are the only additions for the new Drobo that I've run across in Drobo Dashboard.
On top of the above additions to the new Drobo, there is also new battery backup technology included in the Drobo, but only time and bad electrical wiring in my house and neighborhood will tell how well this works.
The exterior of the new Drobo is nearly identical to the old one, having the exact same dimensions and almost same materials. The only noticeable changes are the addition of a much-needed power button on the back of the Drobo (I always had to unplug my old Drobos if I didn't want them to stay on in standby mode all the time), and the presence of only a single USB 3.0 port compared to the two Firewire ports and one USB 2.0 port on my old Drobos).
Overall I'm very pleased with the performance of my new Drobo, with even a simple task like browsing files on the Drobo in Finder feeling almost as snappy as viewing files on my internal SSD (a huge improvement over often waiting several seconds for a folder to open on my old Drobos). And obviously transferring large files to and from the new Drobo will be a delight compared to days of yore. Lets just hope that this Drobo is more reliable and durable than my last two have been.
*** UPDATE (7/9/15) ***
Just wanted to say that I've been using this Drobo now for over a year (near full capacity most of that time) and it's been working flawlessly. There have been a few times where I've started it up and it wouldn't fully load, or the lights would flash, or the computer wouldn't recognize it, but each time if I rebooted the Drobo, it would connect just fine afterward. Actual use has shown that it's not quite as fast as my Blackmagic Disk Speed Test claimed, but it's still many times faster than the older versions of the Drobo 4-Bay, and I'm still very happy with it.
However, after sending me 3 different firmwares to install, my device is still not working.
My take on this, is that the concept is great, but their implementation is lacking in stability for most offices. Bought this for a client's office, to provide for some data redundancy. Initial setup was fine, and went smoothly. But after a brief power outage the day of install, the system went into a reboot loop that never stopped. Without the drives in it, the Drobo software could detect it, and was able to install the firmware, but with the drives (even fresh ones) it would not recognize it and would go into a reboot loop.
I just dont think there is enough quality assurance behind the product at this point, and I would not recommend it at this stage. I'm waiting to hear back from Drobo support one more time, but I've expressed an interested in RMA'ing to Amazon as defective at this stage.
EDIT: Each day I've sent in an email, and no reply from Drobo tech support in 72 hours now. I called in earlier this morning, and was assured that the person I needed to talk to would call me back, and 6 hours later, no call. I shouldn't be surprised based on my experience with their customer support.
I will never recommend or use a Drobo product after this. This was my first and last purchase, and it has nothing to do with the quality of the product, I understand sometimes defective units go out. This is based entirely on my experience with their tech support.
When you are dealing with a product that is meant to protect and preserve important data, business class data, providing this horrible level of tech support is NEVER acceptable.
If you got a good, working, unit, good for you. My wish for you, is that you NEVER have a reason to have to deal with Drobo's tech support.
Manufacturers sometime assign someone to deal with reviews on Amazon. This gives them the appearance of being on top of things, and responsive. Normally that is even true. In this case, however, it is not the case. Despite the responses here, which are nothing more than a "please email your case number to us again" even when the review states you are still in touch with support on your case, the responses here do not reflect that you will get attentive support from the company.