Would you trust your data to a Drobo?


A Drobo is a kind of storage array that uses standard S-ATA disks. It’s not RAID, they have their own disk management software that makes sure you can just pull any drive and replace it with a bigger one without losing your data.

In contrast to my RAID-1 on the Zyxel NSA-220, this means that you’re 100% dependant on the Drobo not messing up your data. If the Drobo breaks, you will most likely not be able to plug the drives into your PC and get your data (with the NSA-220 you can- standard Linux file system).

It’s worse – it seems that not even Drobo support is convinced of its liability (read the whole article, there’s more interesting stuff in there):

“2) Drobo should not be the only location the data is stored on. Drobo is meant to be a primary or backup location. not both.

3) Drobo can only recover from most hardware error. And improper disconnections are considered user error.”

That is…. confusing…. I would have thought that the Drobo was exactly that – a secure backup system. Doesn’t that make the whole thing useless? What do you think?


  1. Hi, this is Tom from Data Robotics. Per our comments on Speirs blog–the comments of that particular support technician were totally incorrect. You're right and that technician was wrong.

    Drobo is great for keeping data safe against a hard drive crash for both primary and backup. What the technician might have been alluding to is the need for offsite backup (since Drobo can't protect against fires, earthquakes, user error, etc.) but his comments are misleading and poorly written.

    What he said about disconnection is totally wrong and I don't know where that came from.

    I spoke to Fraser and it sounds like he had an HFS+ corruption issue–not a problem with his Drobo and he's back on his way to being OK.

    I'd be happy to answer any questions you have about Drobo. Feel free to drop me a line at tloverro [at] datarobotics {dot} com

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