NEW – Drobo Pro Announced

The new Drobo Pro has been announced. Photographers have long been vocal about the Drobo in both positive and negative ways. On the positive side, the unit is a great way to store your back-up data in the first stage of a back-up workflow. On the negative side, the Drobo has stuck with slower computer connections like USB 2 and then added Firewire while eSATA has been ignored as a means of connection.

More info after the jump.

The new Drobo Pro does not fix the lack of eSATA connectivity but it does add an Gigabit Ethernet connection. According to the Drobo folks, you will need to connect to the computer using a Gigabit RJ-45 connection to gain the new speed available from the Drobo Pro.

The original Drobo product is a table-top, glossy black, curved edge, squarish box with a 4-slot chassis into which customers pack their own 3.5-inch SATA drives. It has a maximum capacity of 4TB with 1TB drives, and differently-sized drives can be mixed and matched. The Drobo box has blue capacity take-up lights, and green-yellow-blue traffic light-like LEDs to say when additional capacity or a new drive is needed.

The Drobo Pro is an oblong, desktop box, still with a glossy black casing, curved edges, blue lights to signal capacity take-up, and traffic-style lights to signal status. You can optionally buy it in a rack-mount format – with added “ears” to allow rack fitment.

Running on an ARM-type processor it uses RAID-like technology called BeyondRAID, and virtualises all the storage into a single protected pool, tracking where each block of data is stored on each disk. This technology allows drives to be of different capacities and avoids the lengthy rebuild times associated with traditional RAID schemes.

The firmware can cope with 4TB drives, offering a maximum of 64TB of capacity. The supported interconnects are FireWire 800, USB 2.0 and Gigabit Ethernet (iSCSI) with hosts using Microsoft’s iSCSI initiator.

DROBO Pro

* Up to 8 disks of instant expansion
* Single or dual disk redundancy
* iSCSI (Gigabit Ethernet), FireWire 800 (400 compatible)
    and Hi-Speed USB 2.0
* Up to 16 x 16TB Smart Volumes
* BeyondRAID technology

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