As many people know, I am a big believer in a multi-pronged approach to backing up your data.
Yes I am a fan of online backup, but it is good to have your backup local as well. You can never have your important data in too many locations.
Most people, myself included, start out with a cheap external hard drive that they picked up at Costco or wherever, but if you want to take things to the next level, a popular choice is the Drobo.
A Drobo Is Not A Hard Drive
How is a Drobo different from an external drive? Well, to start with, a Drobo isn’t a drive at all. You can think of it as a container that you put hard drives into.
What you do is pick up some good quality hard drives (for example, some 2TB Western Digitals), and put them into the Drobo.
The Drobo will then mirror your data on all the drives, so that if one drive fails (as they often do), your data will be safe on the other drives. You can just swap out the bad drive and put in a new one. You can expand your storage by just adding new drives.
Different Drobos For Different Jobs
There are five different models of Drobos. I’m only going to bother mentioning three of them because frankly, the DroboPro and DroboElite are just crazy expensive.
- Drobo: The original Drobo can take up to four hard drives for up to 16TB of storage. It can connect to your computer with FireWire 800 or USB 2.0
- Drobo S: The next model up is the Drobo S, which has increased speed, hard drive bays, and can connect to your computer with FireWire, USB, or eSATA (if you don’t know what that is, you don’t need it). The Drobo S can survive two hard drives failing at the same time and has “self healing technology”, which just means that it is constantly checking your drives and flags bad areas
- Drobo FS: Drobo FS is built for file sharing. It has a Gigabit network port and will attach (obviously) to a network. It has five hard drive bays and has the same dual drive failure and self-healing technology as the Drobo S
Things To Know
There are some things that you should be aware of if you are thinking about picking up a Drobo:
- Storage: To accomplish the data mirroring, quite a bit of the hard drive space is taken up as “overhead”. Drobo provides a capacity calculator so you can tell how much actual space you’ll have.
- Noise: Some people report that their Drobo is quite loud, while other people say they can’t hear theirs at all. I don’t know if it is people with different sensitivities, or bad batches, or what. If you have a Drobo, let us know in the comments what your noise situation is like.
- Price: Drobos are definitely more expensive than just picking up an external hard drive (especially since you need to buy drives too), so that may be an issue for some people
If you have a Drobo, or another “RAID-like” solution that goes beyond just an external HD, let us know in the comments how that is going for you.