Data Robotics Launches Second Generation Drobo

Second Generation Drobo

Data Robotics gave Automated Home their first interview outside the USA on their new and improved “storage robot” last week.  Today we can reveal details of the brand new MkII Drobo which will replace the older unit with immediate effect.

DR say that improved speed is the number one request from their users and the new unit is “multiple times faster” than the previous model.  Drobo’s core processor has been upgraded to a newer version of the ARM CPU and it gains two new super-fast Firewire 800 ports (FireWire 400 compatible).  In addition DR say they have “dramatically increased” the performance of the USB 2 port which carries over from the previous design.

In addition to the hardware upgrades the software algorithms at the heart of the unit have also been improved.  A new more efficient method of laying the data down across the hard drives has been found which is adding to the performance gains made by the hardware.  We asked if this improved algorithm would filter through to the original Drobo in future firmware updates and DR confirmed it definitely would.  However this may take around 6 months as they concentrate on the new device for now.

Second Generation Drobo

It’s surprising that DR decided not to include an Ethernet interface on the Mk2.  When we asked the reason for this they told us the vast majority of Drobo owners want to use their enclosures as desktop attached storage rather than NAS.  Ethernet connectivity will still be available but requires the purchase of the Droboshare, which remains unchanged.

DR’s own benchmark tests shown below are against some of Drobo’s main competitors.  DR say that Drobo offers a significantly lower cost compared to its nearest competitors, despite now being considerably faster.

Second Generation Drobo

In our review we mentioned you wouldn’t want to use Drobo as your scratch disk for video editing.  But with the new 800Mbps FireWire interface all that has changed.  Drobo will now be a great primary storage drive for any intensive AV editing, in addition to the usual storage duties of the media collector.

Whilst most PCs probably still don’t ship with a FireWire port, Macs definitely do.  Drobo is already a big hit with OS X users and DR tell us Apple users make up around 47% of its customer base (Windows around 51%, Linux around 2%).

With Seagate’s announcement that they are releasing 2TB drives in 2009, Drobo will have an incredible 8TB total (6TB protected) potential in a single enclosure.

The new Drobo remains at the same price as the old model has had its price reduced to £299 including VAT and is available in the USA from today and in UK & Europe in the next few weeks.   :   Buy a Drobo on Amazon

4 Comments on "Data Robotics Launches Second Generation Drobo"

  1. Still no ethernet?!?


  2. Steve, no madness. Just add a droboshare.

  3. I think I can see Steve’s point a little here Reimer.

    The cost of implementing ethernet on the Drobo2 would have been a tiny amount – instead people have to fork out another £130 – £150 to get NAS by buying another device.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think it is a great product, just I also feel it a shame that in order to keep selling the droboshare, they have left the unit itself as NOT a true NAS device.

    Sort of like “Ahh you want to be able to have passengers in your car instead of just you driving it? You need to buy our new CarSHARE module – just 35% of the cost of the original car.

    Yup, I definately see Steve’s point on this one. Madness

  4. I bought a MkII and put in 4x 1.5 TB Seagate and am now filling it up with random files (going on day 2 now) via a shell script. The enclosure is pretty quiet sitting just 2 feet from my ear right ear. Its not silent, but neither are the drives (but almost).

    I too see the madness of no RJ45 jack on the device. Drobo, it would cost you no more than a buck or so to put this into the device, and yet you want to squeeze 150-200 USD out of an early adopter consumer base? Shame.

    And for using the Drobo MkII (dual FW800 second generation) as a media editor storage space, forget about it. Dropped frames clearly a problem in HD editing. Get a fast 7200 RPM 320 or 500 gig internal drive for you lappy, or a couple fast 7200 internal SATA II internal 3.5’s for your tower/desktop. Or, splurge and go with a noisy 10K drive and really see some differences.

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