Drobo looks good, performs poorly, do not recommend
A Macworld article from Sep 16, 2010 notes that even though Apple has only 5% of the market share, 65% of Data Robotics customers are on Apple’s platform. The article says this is surprising, but I don’t think so. Drobo is designed to be super easy to use, while being “good enough” in every other aspect. It’s not particularly quiet, but it’s not loud. It’s got crap performance, but it’s “good enough” for most uses.
But the killer feature is the ability to simply pop in disks as you need more space. Nothing else to do. No array settings to adjust, no filesystem to resize, no files to migrate around. Just pop in the disks and wait for the green light.
Another downside is that the percentage of storage that is usable is a bit lower than one would like, particularly when you’re mixing drive sizes. But I think it’s a reasonable trade-off.
The real problem is the crap performance. The Macworld article attracted 11 comments. Five of those comments complained about the performance. Two of those comments complained about poor support from Data Robotics when the units malfunctioned. One comment was neutral, and the remaining three were basically happy about ease of use.
One really wonders whether they could up the hw specs of their technology to greatly improve performance. Their initial device came out in 2007, and surely they could get much faster processors for the same price in 2010.
Check out the user reviews on Newegg to see a similar breakdown in responses.