There was a time when only very large corporations needed RAID storage. RAID storage is still used by large corporations, but today you’ll also find small businesses and individual users taking advantage of its features. Data Robotics’ Drobo storage arrays make affordable entry points to failsafe storage, and they’re made all the more affordable with the instant savings you can get from B&H until the end of June.
RAID is the acronym for Redundant Array of Inexpensive Drives. The technology allows data to be spread across multiple hard drives so that if a drive fails, the data can be recovered from the drives that remain intact. RAID is becoming more and more important because hard drives now have such large capacity. You stand to lose a lot of data if a hard drive fails and you’re not using RAID.
RAID storage is also becoming more popular because it’s becoming more affordable. RAID arrays used to cost thousands of dollars, and usually tens of thousands of dollars. While some enterprise solutions still cost a fortune, you can now buy RAID storage for just a few hundred dollars. Drobo storage arrays are a perfect example of inexpensive storage solutions.
Drobo storage arrays come in various configurations with different numbers of drive bays, different types of interfaces, with or without the hard drives themselves. The arrays combine data protection and convenience in an affordable unit. They accept SATA hard drives, and you can mix and match any capacity drives you like. Your computer sees the array as a single hard drive, making it easier to manage.
LED indicators communicate the status of the array at a glance. Green means there are no problems, and that there’s plenty of storage space left. Yellow indicates that the array is 85% full, while red means that it’s 95% full. The array also tells you when a hard disk has crashed and needs to be replaced. The array can automatically restore lost data on a crashed hard drive when you replace it with a drive of equal or greater capacity.
The most affordable Drobo array is a 4-bay enclosure with FireWire 800, USB 2.0 interfaces and no hard drives (B&H #DR4BFW800U2). You just start with whatever drive you have, though it must be SATA, and add more drives as you need them. If all of the bays are full, you can increase capacity by replacing a drive with one that has a larger capacity. You just replace the drive and Drobo does the rest. Keep in mind that you need at least two drives in order to have any kind of redundancy.
FireWire 800, with its burst speeds of up to 100MB per second, is faster than USB 2.0, which tops out at 60MB per second. Those are peak transfer rates, while average transfer rates are usually slower. You can typically expect FireWire 800 to support sustained transfer rates of about 40MB per second and USB 2.0 around 20MB per second. B&H is offering $100 instant savings on this model.
The Drobo arrays are also offered in kits that come with hard drives. For example, the 4-bay unit can be had with two 1TB drives and $100 instant savings (B&H #DR4BFW800U2K).The 4-bay unit is also available with four 1TB drives, again with instant savings of $100 (B&H #DR4BFW800U2Q). If you need more storage space, the 4-bay unit is also available with three 2TB drives, also with $100 instant savings (B&H #DR4BFW800UK1). If you need even more storage space, the 4-bay unit can be acquired with four 2TB drives, also with $100 instant savings (B&H #DR4BFW800UK2).
Data Robotics also offers a 5-bay Drobo that adds an eSATA interface to the mix. If you need fast throughput, eSATA is about 50% faster than FireWire 800. Like the 4-bay unit, this array is also available with no drives installed (B&H #DRDR3A21), allowing you to install whatever drives you like. You get instant savings of $75 on this model.
The 5-bay unit is available in multiple configurations. You can get it with three 1TB drives , three 1.5TB drives, five 1TB drives , three 2TB drives, or five 1.5TB drives, and each configuration comes with $75 instant savings from B&H.
If none of those configurations are capacious enough for you, the 5-bay unit is also available with four 2TB drives and $100 instant savings. The 5-bay unit is also available with five 2TB drives, but you only get $75 instant savings on this particular unit.
Regardless of your budget and how much data you need to store, you should be able to find a Drobo storage array that meets your needs. And B&H’s instant savings should make your decision even easier.