Small is the new Big [drobo announcement]

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It’s time to give another one of the Storage TechFieldDay 1 (#SFD1) vendors its turn to get some extra spotlight. You might be wondering what a company like Drobo actually does on an event that covers Enterprise Storage solutions. Don’t they make those little boxes to put commodity disks in for your desktop? We wondered too.

Apparently Drobo has done a lot of work getting up the stack. When we were in SanJose they showed us the B2100i, a 12 bay iSCSI SAN based on the disks you prefer (as in “buy of the shelf”). They still miss quite some features to call it Enterprise Storage but they come in close with auto-tiering and support for up to 3 SSDs which are used for transactional data. In fact Drobo knows their market is not the Tier1 applications. They are here for Tier2-3, LAB or HOBO (HomeOffice – BranchOffice). The punchline here is my OTHER san is a DROBO. I like that insight.

So, you heard me saying Auto-Tiering and SSDs for transactional data. Mix that with TechFieldDay, some greybeards (yes Howard, that’s you) and a vendor that actually read the memo on how to present to techies. The result:
I’m the silent guy (in this session) in the blue shirt slightly hammered by 3 days of no sleep as a result of being on the wrong side of the ocean.

SO, what’s new today?
Today Drobo announced the next step for the smallest devices. And when they say small, they mean small. Please welcome the  Drobo mini :

What is that?

A ruggedized metal carbon fiber case that can hold 4 standard 2.5″ drives AND an mSATA SSD. I honestly think this is a very sexy product and will definitly try to get my hands on one as soon as possible. Drobo announced they should come in around $650 as of somewhere throughout July. Have you already thought of the possibilities of carrying your own lab environment in your backpak? No more hustle to figure out why the VPN doesn’t work or why your PC’s local storage doesn’t handle all those virtuals …

Besides the  Drobo mini  , they also announced the  Drobo 5D . It has all the same capabilities as the Mini but with 5 x standard 3.5″ drives AND the optional mSATA SSD. Another word from the product managers was that the 5D would eventually replace the standard Drobo and the Drobo S.


  • 4 (or 5) drives + mSATA SSD
  • auto-tiering (out of the box so not tunable!)
  • another sexy thing not yet mentioned: the Drobo 5D and the Mini support not only USB3 but also the THUNDERBOLT which operates at a maximum of 10Gb/s and is able to be daisy chained up to 6 members. Therefore each Drobo has 2 of these connections.
  • LEDs that show status and usage
  • up to 5x performance of current models

Press Release
Drobo Mini Datasheet
Drobo 5D Datasheet
#awesome read on MyDigitalSSD mSATA by @theSSDreview

disclaimer: all transportation, catering and stay on Storage TechFieldDay was taken care off by the sponsors through the organization of GestaltIT

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