Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp
Ads by Google

The advent of broadband, with speeds you wouldn’t even have dared to imagine 10 years ago is truly a blessing and a curse. Hundreds of movies, TV series, songs and other media are all at your fingertips. The only problem is storage.

Network Attached Storage (NAS) is now finding its way into more and more homes. If you’re thinking of buying a NAS, what should you factor in? Price? Size? In this series, we’ll be taking a look at several popular NAS devices, briefly comparing them — just to give you an idea about the things to look out for when shopping for one.

Here’s the first one. It’s the Drobo FS from Data Robotics. From its online store, the Drobo FS retails for $699 without any drives and shoots up the range to $1,699 with 5 x 2 TB Western Digital hard drives. At the end of this review, we’ll be giving the featured device away, bundled with 5 x 1 TB WD hard drives.

Let’s dive in.

An aspect that really pleased me about the Drobo FS is the way it looks. Its outer casing is a single solid sheet of metal in matte black. It doesn’t have any buttons in front and its indicator lights are hidden behind the front cover, which hooks on to the main unit magnetically.

data robotics drobo fs review

Ads by Google

While it’s powered down, it looks spectacular. But when the Drobo FS is connected, it’s even more amazing — the health of each hard drive is represented by green lights on the side of the drive array (see below). It also has power and network activity indicators close to the bottom. And finally, something that most NAS devices lack — a disk usage indicator. When lit, it will show you exactly how much hard disk space you’ve used, giving you an instant estimation of the storage you have available.

data robotics drobo fs review

Installing the drives into the unit was a piece of cake. There were no screws involved. All I needed to do was push the grey clip out of the way and slide the drive in. Attach the front plate to the unit and I was done. That’s another great Drobo feature which I loved.

With the Drobo FS, you’ll have 5 drive bays and plenty of upgrade possibilities.

data robotics drobo fs review

Things start to change at the back — where you’ll find a honeycomb-shaped fan grill, a power button, a Kensington lock port, network interface, and power inlet. The Drobo FS was the first Drobo device to ever feature a gigabit network interface and that will allow you to hook up the device to your home network. However, that is also its weakness — the lack of a USB interface. In my opinion if this is your first NAS, chances are, you’ll depend on USB more than you realise.

Installation/Detection

The Drobo FS came with a quick start guide which was very helpful. Basically, the device required zero configuration, almost. First, I needed to install Drobo Dashboard — it came in a CD and provided a simple interface to manage the NAS.

data robotics drobo fs review

Once the dashboard app was installed, my attention diverted to the Drobo FS. I plugged it in, turned it on and the dashboard automatically detected the drives, formatted and prepared them for use.

data robotics drobo fs review

Once that was done, a new shared folder appeared. And you’ll find this a little strange. The capacity shown didn’t truly reflect the amount of storage I had.

data robotics drobo fs review

Mainly, this was attributed to Data Robotic’s BeyondRAID storage technology. With the Drobo FS, you won’t find yourself thinking about choosing between RAID 0, 1, 5 or 6 because BeyondRAID handles all that for you. The only decision I had was to select single disk redundancy or dual disk redundancy — an option to choose whether I would like to protect the device from 1- or 2-drive failure.

Expansion

BeyondRAID also makes it numbingly simple to upgrade. Simple pull out the smallest capacity disk and replace it with a new one. The device will automatically recalculate the available storage and distribute the data to the new drive. No other intervention is required.

Management

Besides the previously-mentioned Drobo Dashboard, you’ll also find a component called DroboApps.

data robotics drobo fs review

DroboApps are basically small applications that run on the Drobo device, providing additional functionality. Although it sounds fantastic to have a torrent client, DLNA media server or iTunes server running on your home network, it doesn’t come pre-installed and installing them isn’t for the faint-hearted. Sadly, there isn’t a one-click solution.

Conclusion

As a network attached storage device, the Drobo FS makes life a bit easier with their BeyondRAID zero-configuration technology. Upgrades and expansion are a cinch. And if you can live without the possibility of copying files over to the device via USB or accept the fact that addons aren’t easy to set up, then buying the Drobo FS should be a no-brainer.

There’s just less that could go wrong. And when we’re talking about storage, that’s always a relief.

MakeUseOf would like to thank Drobo.. Interesting in sponsoring? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with us via email.

  1. Cr
    March 5, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    so who won?

  2. Eric B
    February 17, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Discovered Liked Shared Thanks

  3. Vidyesh
    February 16, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Still isn't clear why aren't we permitted to participate. :(

  4. Ceej3
    February 15, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Crossing my fingers.... >_< C'mon.... DROBO!

  5. Ceej3
    February 15, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Crossing my fingers.... >_< C'mon.... DROBO!

  6. Giotis2
    February 14, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Perfect !!!!!

  7. Ritaload
    February 14, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Sure hope and pray that I am a winner in this drawing and Happy Valentine's to everyone.

  8. xmd5
    February 14, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    awesome prize

  9. Sueska
    February 11, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Thanks again for all the great giveaways!

  10. Khalid Hameed
    February 11, 2011 at 6:55 am

    hope to win

  11. Carlos
    February 10, 2011 at 9:13 am

    For such an awesome giveaway, I have done all the steps outlined above to have the best chance of winning the Drobo FS NAS. Count me in!

  12. Bill
    February 7, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Really slick looking machine. It would be great hiding away or on display in any home.

  13. Rob
    February 7, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    Woo!! May the powers that be please let me be the winner!

  14. Rakesh Singh Chaudhary
    February 4, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Like it

  15. Shailesh J Kumar
    February 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    This is amazing....keep up the good work Make Use Of team.....

  16. Shailesh J Kumar
    February 4, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    This is amazing....keep up the good work Make Use Of team.....

  17. Darran Hight
    February 3, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    I'm in

  18. Darran Hight
    February 3, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    I'm in

  19. David Ferrandino
    February 2, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Thanks for the great giveaway. data robotics is a leader in the industry. Please pick me for this great prize

  20. slugbug55
    February 1, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Would be nice to win one of these giveaways.

  21. Matt Shalvatis
    January 31, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Well, this is just about as cool a giveaway one could hope for.

  22. Nicholas Aronne
    January 31, 2011 at 1:44 am

    I hope to win this, my wife and I have a TON of pictures and movies of our 1 year old and I am looking for a way like this to have redundancy.

  23. Sergio Concorsi
    January 28, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    nice device!

  24. scottwyden
    January 26, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Now this is a content!

  25. Anonymous
    January 24, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Nice giveaway!

  26. Phlbill
    January 24, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Would be excellent. I'm using an old P4 as a server and it's REAL creaky.

  27. Agregory
    January 24, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    Wow... what a giveaway... this sort of device would be most welcome for our system...

  28. Sushi Inbc
    January 24, 2011 at 12:03 am

    " the self-healing technology " This is beyond amazing. The perfect peace of mind for a home with two or more computers. It's a MUST have.

    Guy in BC

  29. Sushi Inbc
    January 24, 2011 at 1:03 am

    " the self-healing technology " This is beyond amazing. The perfect peace of mind for a home with two or more computers. It's a MUST have.

    Guy in BC

  30. Butt
    January 23, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    I don't think i will wine so no point hopping ...lol

  31. Butt
    January 23, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    I don't think i will wine so no point hopping ...lol

  32. Neil T.
    January 22, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Good luck everyone. :)

  33. arditasari
    January 22, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Please do count me in.
    Hope for the best! :D

  34. arditasari
    January 22, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Please do count me in.
    Hope for the best! :D

  35. Slundy99
    January 21, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Liked, shared, tweeted, etc.

  36. Fac
    January 21, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Great NAS - perfect timing if I win it since i am in the market for one!

  37. Kevin Ross
    January 18, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Awesome ! Thanks for the chance to win this !

  38. Srinivas G
    January 18, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    "Individuals who reside in a country embargoed by the United States; Belgium, Norway, Sweden, or India are not permitted to enter." -- I'm a bit confused here. If the semicolon is anything to go by, people from Belgium, Norway, Sweden and India are NOT permitted to enter. Is that right? I'm from India; Am I eligible? A Marvelous product and an irresistible giveaway, BTW!

    • ænon1mus
      January 19, 2011 at 12:12 am

      Sorry, residents of India cannot participate in this giveaway.

      • Srinivas G
        January 19, 2011 at 11:56 am

        Its OK. I also believe we can't participate in any of your giveaways, not just this. Correct?

        • ænon1mus
          January 20, 2011 at 1:45 am

          Sadly, that is correct.

  39. Noypi
    January 18, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    this is cool... hoping to win...

  40. James Bruce
    January 18, 2011 at 8:55 am

    This is one of those moments when being a staff writer sucks, as I'm ineligible for this incredible giveaway! GRRRR!

  41. Iuliana F.
    January 18, 2011 at 7:36 am

    this would be a nice win! signed up!

  42. Mtownsend@brandes-assoc.com
    January 18, 2011 at 3:48 am

    Making backups easier

  43. Pawe? Pawe?ek
    January 17, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    Amazing, what a great giveaway!

  44. jantom
    January 17, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Oh yeah, I'm in! Thx..............

  45. Anonymous
    January 17, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    This is "MUST HAVE" thing :D

  46. Joseph Palmieri
    January 17, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    I have entered the Giveaway. Hope to win.

  47. Scott
    January 17, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    what I really want is the DroboPro FS, but hey I would take this one too.

  48. Anonymous
    January 17, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    There I go! I'm in the contest and really hope to win now!!!

  49. Colleen Cole
    January 17, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Nice device and we recently lost our backup device, so this would be great timing for us!

  50. Stéphane M
    January 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Beautiful device! Always need more storage.

  51. Dav532000
    January 17, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Would love this with 5tb of storage, brill would take some filling bit I have a few avi files to put on it, facebooked and twitted it si put me in the draw.

    • Dav532000
      January 17, 2011 at 5:15 pm

      That should be, so put me in the draw

  52. Jeff R
    January 17, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    This device looks incredible. I agree that the lack of USB port is a weakness but I tink the pros far out weigh the cons!

  53. Brian
    January 17, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    I love my Drobo!

  54. Lukasz Ziolkowski
    January 17, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    When giveaway ends?

  55. Al Samuelson
    January 17, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    I have to agree. This is a great one.
    Thanks to you and to Drobo.

  56. Lukasz Ziolkowski
    January 17, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    This NAS would be dream come true for me :)

  57. Osama
    January 17, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    participated, great giveaway !

  58. Crakerdn
    January 17, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    This NAS storage would be unreal for my personal collection of thousands of photos that I have sitting here that were taken over a 20 years period...

    My poor old PC has started to groan under the load of Hard Drive after Hard Drive being added..

    I could just imagine being able store and sort out all my images into proper archives that could be made use of in the future..

    What a great storage resource for those large hungry RAW files..

  59. Larisa G
    January 17, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    very nice, indeed. count me in, please!

  60. Al Samuelson
    January 17, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    I have to agree. This is a great one.
    Thanks to you and to Drobo.

  61. Crakerdn
    January 17, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    This NAS storage would be unreal for my personal collection of thousands of photos that I have sitting here that were taken over a 20 years period...

    My poor old PC has started to groan under the load of Hard Drive after Hard Drive being added..

    I could just imagine being able store and sort out all my images into proper archives that could be made use of in the future..

    What a great storage resource for those large hungry RAW files..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *