Drobo for network storage?

Drobo initially didn’t impress me to much, but after watching a demo I’m somewhat impressed. The positives:

  • The hotswapping, RAID-like (but not RAID) redundancy is awesome. That’s perfect for backup/bulk storage purposes.
  • Transfer isn’t bad (Up to read 22MB/s write 20MB/s)
  • Power consumption idles at about 12 watts which isn’t bad.
  • Adding storage capacity is really easy.

There are some downsides:

  • No Linux support. Which stinks if you were to hook it up to an old PC running Linux and use Samba. You could of course use a Mac.
  • Pretty expensive $499 isn’t cheap for a glorified drive enclosure. You still need a host, and drives.

Of course for true backup you need to offsite your data, but you can do that through standard means, and using Amazon’s S3. So your covered there.

The downfall of this product is the lack of a 10/100 Ethernet port. It would likely have been pretty cheap (lets face it network devices are pretty cheap these days) and would have removed the need for a PC. You could of course hook it up to a Access Point such as the Airport Extreme… but you don’t get the greatest level of control with these.

Ideally a real cheapo Linux machine (Intel Celeron, 1GB RAM, 80GB HD) with a Drobo would be an awesome backup solution. You could then use MRTG to graph network/data storage usage, manage usage, quota’s or whatever else you wanted to do. Even a media server. Backup some data with S3? No problem. Could even setup something like BackupPC to backup entire PC’s.