By Dave Simpson
– Data Robotics this week added file-sharing NAS functionality to its line of low-cost, "self-managing" Drobo disk arrays with the introduction of the Drobo FS, which supports CIFS and the Apple File Protocol (AFP), as well as Windows, Mac and Unix/Linux clients.
Data Robotics previously sold a NAS-like array called the DroboShare that had a Gigabit Ethernet interface, but it was an external companion device that was performance-limited by a USB connection to other Drobo arrays. In contrast, the Drobo FS is an integrated device that is about 4X faster than the DroboShare due to the Gigabit Ethernet interface, a faster processor and more memory, according to Jim Sherhart, Data Robotics' senior director of marketing.
The five-bay array can scale up to 10TB of capacity with 2TB SATA drives, and users can mix and match different drive types and capacities. As with previous Drobo devices, the Drobo FS provides single- and dual-drive redundancy (similar to RAID 6) to protect against the simultaneous failure of two drives. Data Robotics' BeyondRAID technology enables RAID-like data protection without the need for configuration.
Users can choose a variety of DroboApps from third parties or develop their own apps to customize Drobo arrays. One example is LeapFILE's Oxygen Cloud, which essentially turns a Drobo array into a private cloud.
Pricing starts at $699 for a Drobo FS without drives. A fully-configured 10TB version is priced at $1,449.
The devices are available through resellers/distributors such as Amazon, B&H Photo, CDW, Dell and NewEgg.
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