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?

NAS: what to do when your hardware breaks?

I have bought a Zyxel NSA-220 NAS case last year to have a secure backup of my pictures, videos and MP3s. I have set up two 500 GB SATA drives in RAID1 mode (mirror).

Now, this works all very well. If one of the disks breaks down, there’s always the other one.

But there are still things that worry me:

  • If I really have to replace a drive, will any drive with equal capacity work? What if there are no drives with equal capacity on the market?
  • What if the NAS hardware itself breaks down – will I be able to just attach the drives to a PC and rescue the contents (I guess they’re Linux EXT3 formatted)?

Backups are still a difficult thing to plan. What do you think – is a NAS system the way to go, or is it easier to just put the drives into a PC (which would have a higher power consumption)? Any ides appreciated. What do you do?