Today, I shaved one of my legs… (Drobo)


I went Drobo.

Let me start off by refuting the title there.  My dog had a dental appointment today and they had to shave part of her leg for the IV.  I use her and the other house creatures for photos to illustrate my blog, nothing more.  She’s fine, just a little woozy – ask her the right way and she will hand over her earnings for the next year (lots of chicken btw).

Today, the Drobo Mini arrived.

Drobo Mini

Drobo Mini

It’s the thing beneath the wine with the green go-faster stripes.  So why?  What does it do?  Why do I need one?

You probably don’t.  I’m not a photography pro (ask my good friend Andy), but I like that this device can protect me from a single (1/4) or double (2/4) drive failure.  Hard drives die; it’s inevitable and when it happens, will you mourn the loss of whatever lived on that drive?  Those photos you treasure?  Your wedding video?  Your illegal movie repository?  Either way, if you care, you care.

Drobo can survive a single drive failure – look up the mean time between failure (MBTF) of any drive and it’s measured in hours…. equivalent to years.  Yet in the past two months, I have had two Apple 750GB drives fail in my Macbook Pro.  You figure that one out.  Was I upset?  No, because the stuff I really care about it in two places – a local 2TB mirrored drive and my friend, Dropbox.com (1TB for $100 a year approx.).

But this has me thinking.  There is stuff I’d like to keep longer-term.  I’ll always want something offsite too (which is why Dropbox is a bargain – see my earlier post on why Google drive is not my friend here) and so I have a fault tolerant reliable local storage mechanism in the Drobo.

Drobo Mini will take four of your favourite 2.5″ drives and make them into an array.  They cover drive failure and can keep going (at which point, replace that bloody drive).  I have three 1TB drives and a 500GB drive for a 2.2TB overall capacity.  Yes, 3.5TB with 2.2TB available doesn’t sound right, but it’s 2.2TB of reliable storage.  I put that 500GB drive in a drawer and swap in a 1TB drive and I will be close to 3TB of available storage. Good enough..

It also has a mSATA slot for an SSD used for caching – might improve performance by a bit, especially on fire and forget writes and frequent reads.

It has a speedy Thunderbolt interface that is uber-Mac friendly.  I have the whole thing plugged into the back of my 27″ Thunderbolt Display and it just works.  I’m not even going to compare it to local SSD storage – does not compare, but it’s not sluggish either.  My 7,200 RPM HGST TravelStar 1TB drives just work.  If I wanted performance, I’d stuff an OWC 6GB/s SSD in my laptop and direct attach another SSD via a Thunderbolt connection.

For coverage that gives me just another level of insurance, the Drobo Mini fits the bill.

Categories: Computing, Photography, ToolsTags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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