Despite the prevalence of cloud storage, not everything can be safely tucked away on the nebulous Internet. Sooner or later, hard, local storage will be needed. The problem with these is that most don’t offer the same resilience and reliability that professional cloud storage services offer. Of course, there are RAID storage solutions, but those are commonly difficult to setup, much less expand. Not so Drobo’s newest product, the Drobo 5C, which does all the heavy lifting and worrying about setups and maintenance so that you won’t have to.
RAID, short for Redundant Array of Independent Disks, has long been the go to local storage solution of those who work with large volumes of critical data, from server administrators to multimedia creators. In a nutshell, the system automatically creates duplicate copies of files, hence the “redundant” part, across different, usually physical, storage drives, so that should one fail, there is always a backup.
In reality, however, RAIDs are not so straightforward to use, requiring users to make upfront decisions about how they want to setup the RAID levels and drives. Adding new drives to the array is just as complicated. Contrast that to how simple regular external drives work, and you can understand why RAID storage has mostly been left in the field of experts.
Drobo, however, wants to bring RAID technology to the masses and make it as simple as the age-old Plug-n-Play. Sure, there will still be some setup required, but not as involved as regular RAID solutions. The instructions even fit inside the box’s cover.
The real magic, however, is how the Drobo 5C works behind the scenes, completely invisible to the user. Using the company’s BeyondRAID technology, Drobo takes care of all the setup and housekeeping tasks for users who don’t want to bother with those chores. And unlike any RAID you’ve seen, adding more storage or switching out failed drives is as easy as popping one out and inserting a new one in. Drobo takes care of all the rearranging for you, and you can even keep on using the drive while that’s in progress.
The Drobo 5C, which uses a USB-C (USB 3.0/2.0 compatible) connection, is now available for purchase, with prices ranging from $349 for an empty box to $1,799 for one with four 6 TB drives. Owners of the now deprecated 2nd and 3rd gen Drobo 4-Bay products can also avail of a $50 discount when buying online through Drobo.