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Choosing a reliable way to securely store your important digital data is one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make. It’s not enough to just find a hard drive or SSD and transfer your data—you have to ask yourself if you want to mirror data, how you want to partition your drives, whether you are building storage solutions for your needs today or for future expandability.
Drobo has always been a leader in the field of personal and professional storage. The company's new Drobo 4-bay enhances its reputation by including amenities that are highly valued in storage, and adding features that may attract those on the purchasing fence, so to speak.
The new 4-Bay Drobo USB 3.0 Direct-Attached Storage Array starts with a host of features that you will appreciate if this is your first storage purchase. The array can hold up to four 3.5" SATA I/II/III hard disk drives of any manufacturer, capacity, spindle speed, or cache size.
"The carrier-less drive bay makes hot-swapping drives as simple as inserting sliced bread in a toaster."
The Drobo’s USB 3.0 interface gives you quick transfer speeds (cables included), and can be formatted to use with either Mac OSX HFS+ and Windows NTFS operating systems. It includes a number of BeyondRAID features including Thin Provisioning, Dual Disk Redundancy, and a Virtual Hot Spare feature. The carrier-less drive bay makes hot-swapping drives as simple as inserting sliced bread in a toaster. The enclosure houses a single, fixed variable-speed cooling fan.
The simplicity of the unit extends to the easy-to-read indicator lights and a separate bank of lights that shows the health of the drives. These “Action Required” lights glow green when the system is healthy, solid yellow when the Drobo needs to add or upsize a drive, blinking green and yellow when Drobo is optimizing the data layout on the drive, solid red when capacity has reached more than 95%, and blinking red when a drive has failed.
So what has Drobo added to this model? Engineering has improved the architecture to perform three times faster than the previous model, and even more impressive, they improved rebuild times to now reconstruct a drive four times faster than before. They’ve also included battery backup technology to help during unplanned power outages.
Even with these features (and enhanced support for Apple’s Time Machine), one of the best features is the ability to use any size storage capacity, in any bay. You can start out with four 1TB drives, then add in a 4TB drive when they align with your budget. Updating the drives piecemeal still gives you all of the drive capacity at your fingertips, but allows you to determine when you upgrade.
The 3rd-generation Drobo 4-Bay is a great start on the road to building your own personal cloud, and with the new enhancements, this should be your first stop to protecting, backing up, and storing your data.
|Drives||Up to four 3.5" SATA I/II/III hard-disk drives
Drives of any manufacturer, capacity, spindle speed, or cache
No carriers or tools required
Expandable by adding drives or hot-swapping drives with larger ones
(Drives sold separately)
|Connectivity||1 x USB 3.0|
|Operating System Support||Mac OS X 10.7. or higher
Windows 8/8.1 32 and 64 bit
Windows 7 32 and 64 bit
|File System Support||Mac OS X: HFS+
|Management||Drive bay indicator lights, capacity gauge, status lights
Drobo Dashboard version 2.6 or later
|BeyondRAID Features||Thin provisioning
Mixed drive size utilization
Automatic protection levels
Dual disk redundancy
Virtual hot spare
|Power Requirements||External power supply
AC Input: 100-240 VAC-2A, 50/60 Hz
DC Output: 12 V, 12.5 A, 150 W maximum
|Fan||Single, fixed, variable speed cooling fan|
|Additional Software Features||Drive spin down
|Hardware Features||Carrier-less drive bays
Kensington lock port for security (lock not included)
|Dimensions (WxHxD)||5.0 x 6.3 x 10.7" / 152.4 x 160.0 x 271.8mm|