Data Robotics Introduces New Drobo Storage Robot

Data Robotics just landed one of the biggest channel partners it could hope for. The company today announced a reseller deal with HP (NYSE: HPQ), under which HP will sell the Drobo line of SMB storage systems, including the new Drobo S.

The Drobo S features USB 3.0 connectivity with support for multiple storage volumes and up to 32TB of storage capacity. The Drobo S is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 systems (laptops, PCs and servers) to provide investment protection and “future-proofing.” The device features the BeyondRAID technology, which boosts expandability, ease of use, data safety and even affordability.

HP will also sell the Drobo, Drobo FS, and DroboPro models.

The DroboPro FS (file sharing) is an eight-drive NAS appliance that can be configured with 2TB SATA drives. Users can mix and match drive speeds (rotation rates) and manufacturers. Drobo Sync provides asynchronous, block-level replication for uni-directional offsite backup. Only changed data is sent over the wire. Drobo Sync is free with the purchase of any new DroboPro FS and is available as a free software upgrade to existing DroboPro FS customers. Separate purchase will cost $1,999 with multiple configurations up to $3,299 for a 16TB bundle.

Jim Sherhart, senior director of marketing, Data Robotics, said the performance of the USB 3.0 interface boosts the speed of the Drobo S to as much as ten times that of USB 2.0 storage devices. “We’re on the cutting edge in terms of actual USB 3.0 silicon with a USB 3.0 solution that supports the notion of multiple volumes. Customers can now increases the size of their arrays with bigger drives as they become available”. The new Drobo S will be available through HP’s Small Business Direct online store beginning this week In addition, the company announced the availability of Drobo Sync, the easiest to use remote backup software, for its new DroboPro FS product family. Originally announced last month and available today, Drobo Sync is included free of charge with all new DroboPro FS models.

The Drobo S is available at a starting price of $799 with multiple configurations up to $1,799 for a 10TB bundle. The key difference here, though, is that this time USB 3.0 support for your external drives is available, and naturally, that also supports USB 2.0, which gives plenty of access not only to the customer’s old drives but also their newer ones and at higher transfer rates too.

The new Drobo S v.2 looks a lot like those earlier models. It’s packing a pair of FireWire ports, an eSATA connection, and five 3.5 inch SATA I / II drive bays.The BeyondRAID data protection system and DroboSync, allows data t be sent offsite for an even bigger level of protection. The downside is that a second Drobo S v.2 with comparable storage size is needed at the offsite location, which will be no small expense. So, for those who absolutely have to have their data accept no substitutes, this may well be the way to go. The prices on the Drobo S v.2 are steep with the basic unit without any kind of drive selling at $799.  Adding in five terabytes of storage will ask $1299, 7.5 terabyte will take up $1549, and lastly, the big ten terabytes of storage will demand over $1799 to lay hands on one of these. The Droco S v.2 will be available from November 18.

“HP has about 10 million small business contacts and our storage products will be featured in their online store. We are putting a lot of wood behind this arrow to make sure it’s successful,” said Sherhart.

"When USB 3.0 was released, many storage vendors simply added a basic connector to their systems, but that precluded small and medium-sized businesses from taking full advantage of its promise," said Mark Peters, senior analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group. "In contrast, by specifically engineering the Drobo S to incorporate USB 3.0, Drobo has been able to optimize performance and ease-of-use, both of which being characteristics that such businesses will appreciate," Peters added. “Today’s announcements will serve to further accelerate what our customers and partners fondly call the ‘Drobo invasion,’” said Tom Buiocchi, chief executive officer, Drobo. “Our quest to provide the best storage experience just progressed significantly with today’s new product advancements,” he went on to say.


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