Today Data Robotics, Inc. added two products to their already excellent line of storage solutions:

Drobo 'Model S' and 'Elite' models hit the streets - Storage 4

The first item is a new ‘S’ variant of the base-level Drobo, but there’s nothing basic about it.  This new model sports dual redundancy mode along with a 5th drive bay to make that second parity drive a little easier to swallow.  Increased processing capability lets it move the data faster over the highly anticipated eSATA connection.  Lack of a Drobo model with eSATA was a show stopper for many power users out there.  The inclusion of iSCSI on the DroboPro helped, but the price kept it out of reach of many potential buyers.  We’re stoked to see this new model bring an even higher speed interface at a cost significantly lower than that of the Pro model.

Drobo 'Model S' and 'Elite' models hit the streets - Storage 5

Drobo ‘S’ sporting 5 vertical bays

Also new is the ‘Elite’ model, which is essentially a beefier variant of the DroboPro.  This new model gets a faster pair of CPU’s as compared to Pro and is meant for use in higher end business environments.  Where the DroboPro had to connect to a single host system, the DroboElite works more along the lines of a conventional SAN, but still keeps all of the Drobo-specific benefits like BeyondRAID.  BeyondRAID keeps itself aware of the actual data use of the file system, enabling Drobo units to share the combined space of all installed drives across multiple Smart Volumes.  The additional iSCSI port helps distribute workloads to multiple simultaneous users.  More importantly, the new unit can handle a whopping 255 Smart Volumes, yielding much greater flexibility when assigning multiple Virtual Machines, each to their own Volume.  Future migration to larger drive sizes should be no issue at all for the DroboElite – its advanced metadata structure enables it to address greater than 4PB of storage (yes, you heard me, PetaBytes!).

Drobo 'Model S' and 'Elite' models hit the streets - Storage 6

Drobo ‘S’, Pro, and Elite all use this revolutionary Smart Volume technology,
preventing the need for arbitrary subdivisions of fixed volume sizes.

Current pricing for the product line follows:

Drobo S

The base Drobo takes a bit of a price cut and helps make way for the Drobo S.  The DroboPro remains at its power user / small business sweet spot.  The DroboElite is obviously priced for the enterprise, but promises to deliver features worthy of its cost.

The finishing touches are going on an in-depth review of the DroboPro, where we will dive head first into many of the advanced features noted above.  Stay tuned!