I need to test the unit thoroughly before I can recommend it to my photographers and photolibraires but early tests are quite positive, the company have developed a product that solves a common problem in data storage – keeping you work safe on disks that will at some random point in the future die.
As you may know I recommend RAID 5 based disks systems as a safe way to keep images long term and popular products include Buffalo terastations and Thecus NAS devices. The drobo is not RAID per se but rather implements its own data redundancy scheme to spread copies over more than one disk. System overhead is similar to RAID 5 with 4x500mb disks offering 1.5TB of space before formatting.
What makes this system interesting compared to NAS devices is its affordability and expansion potential. Another thing in its favour is the ability to hot swap disks in the device (take disks out or put them in while everything is still switched on and being used). This kind of functionality is normally reserved for system costing £10,000+
I will report back on my experiences when I have received a few more disks to populate the device with.