Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Drobo Gets Firewire 800-Fanboys Rejoice!

Drobo ($499) has been one of those must have techie geek devices that many don't know (much less care) about. But Drobo is a product that came along a couple years ago and fanboys (and girls) everywhere do nothing but sing its praises. Drobo is a cute 6"x6" square steel box with an array of bright multi-color indicator LEDS on the front. The look of the Drobo alone makes the Drobo a conversation piece. But as a four drive external backup drive with RAID support, Drobo is so much more. Drobo allows you to take any single serial ATA hard disk drive of any capacity, plug it in, and you have an instant back-up device. Have two drives? No problem! Got Three? Go for it. How about four drives lying around? Plug-em in! And no, the drives don't have to be the same capacity, each can vary anywhere from 100Gb all the way to 4Tb (Terabytes) for a total capacity of 16Tb. (Not that drives larger that 1Tb available today-but at least you know you're covered when they do become available) Drobo has always had a single USB port to plug in your Mac or PC or Linux based machine. Earlier this year, the Drobo became infinitely more usable with the introduction of the DroboShare ($199) module that gives Drobo networking capabilities which allows the Drobo to be shared amongst several PC's/Macs instead of keeping all the backup joy to yourself. Today Drobo introduced the second generation Drobo that features a pair of Firewire 800 ports (in addition to the USB 2.0 port) to support actual data transfer speeds that are much faster than theoretically possible via USB 2.0 which tops out at 400Mbps maximum. A new processor and firmware tweaks on the new Drobo supposedly allows the Drobo to boot up much faster and minimize any data transfer slow-downs. If manufacturer Data Robotics claims are to be believed, this Drobo version is up to twice as fast reading and writing as the first generation Drobo. Daisy chaining via the dual Firewire 800 ports are supported. We'll take two, please. Check out Drobo here.

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