The DroboPro (big brother to the popular Drobo storage system) has eight drive bays that can hold 3.5-inch SATA drives. Currently, 2TB is the limit of a single drive (although 3TB is right around the corner), so a DroboPro can hold 16TB total.
Data Robotics (http://www.drobo.com) uses a proprietary storage technology called BeyondRAID that allows you to mix-and-match storage capacities of different sizes and easily expand your overall storage size in the future. Buy only the amount of storage space that you need now and add more when you need it. The DroboPro also offers dual disk redundancy so that if up to two drives fail at the same time, DroboPro can recover all your data and put it back on the new drives as soon as you insert them into the unit.
DroboPro has dual smart fans that optimize speed based on cooling requirements to minimize noise, an optional rack mount kit, and a triple interface featuring iSCSI, FireWire 800, and USB 2. iSCSI uses a Gigabit Ethernet connection and a software “initiator” to create a high-speed connection between your computer and DroboPro. Because iSCSI only requires a standard Ethernet cable, it’s a cheaper option than many high-end RAID set-ups that require fiber connections, switches, special adapter cards and cables, etc. I tested the iSCSI vs. USB 2 and found it to be about 2.5 times faster when transferring larger files.
The only disappointment is that DroboPro isn’t capable of directly working on a network. You can hook it up to one computer and then use your operating system’s built-in, file-sharing facilities to make it available to others, but this means your computer always needs to be on to share files and you’ll have slower performance because of the overhead associated with networking protocols.
Rating: 8 out of 10
— Rod Harlan
This review is brought to your courtesy of “Layers Magazine” (http://www.layersmagazine.com).