Those who follow my blog may have noticed that I really dinged Drobo a few months ago when I found out that they only offered cross-shipping (AKA advanced replacement) for customers who had purchased a support contract. This means that customers under warranty (but not under a support contract) were required to ship their units to Data Robotics for repair or replacement. I also dinged them for not having 24×7 support for customers under contract.
I’m happy to announce that Drobo (the new name of Data Robotics) has changed both policies. They offer cross-shipment/advanced replacement for anyone under warranty and offer 24×7 phone support for customers who have purchased a DroboCare contract. In addition, DroboCare customers also get same day shipping and next-day arrival of replacement units. They also now support 3 TB drives in their units. In short, they fixed everything I complained about in my previous post.
They’re also coming out with some new products – 12-bay drive units to be exact, with 3 GbE iSCSI pors, and it’s rack-mount ready. This unit still ships with what they call the Drobo manual — the simple diagram behind the face plate that shows what the various lights mean. It’s almost that simple.
In a very near future date, the business line of products will support automatic tiering of frequently accessed blocks to faster storage, and they will support SSDs plugged into the same unit. That should give them a significant performance advantage.
There is also a completely new Drobo Dashboard that is a significant advancement over current versions. It manages multiple units, even giving a graphical display of all of their display lights, as if you were standing in front of them.
As cool as I think the Drobo units are, I do feel the need to point out that they don’t have a snapshot system yet. This means that they still must be backed up using traditional backup systems. They are very cool in a lot of ways, but I’d still love to see them support this feature at some future time.
Other than that minor complaint, Drobo makes a heck of a nice unit and I wish them luck expanding the line.
----- Signature and Disclaimer -----
Written by W. Curtis Preston (@wcpreston). For those of you unfamiliar with my work, I've specialized in backup & recovery since 1993. I've written the O'Reilly books on backup and have worked with a number of native and commercial tools. I am now Chief Technologist at Druva, the leading provider of cloud-based data protection and data management tools for endpoints, infrastructure, and cloud applications. These posts reflect my own opinion and are not necessarily the opinion of my employer.