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Old Jul 21, 2012, 07:12 PM   #76
SuperRob
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I've got a first-gen Drobo, the one that was only USB. I got it used for $150.

With that disclaimer out of the way, you do need to understand that you are not paying for a simple RAID array. There's plenty of ways you can get a RAID0+1 setup, and if that's what you want, you can do it fairly cheap. You are also not paying for the interface ... Thunderbolt is not what's driving up the cost here. Drobo's new releases area always on the high-end, and then they reduce the prices on the older models. (The first-gen Drobo is the only one to have been officially retired, as far as I know. Maybe one of the other Pro models, too.)

What you pay for with Drobo is their tech. You're paying to not have to find matched drives. You're paying to not have to configure the array yourself. You're paying to have a zero-config kind of setup. You're paying for the ability to just remove a drive and add a bigger one anytime you need more space. You're paying for the ability to not have to really know much of anything about computers to get it up and running. And you're paying for the ability to simply remove a bad drive and replace it. These are all things any other RAID or NAS can't give you. You're paying for convenience, and Drobo is VERY convenient.

What you are not paying for is the speed of a RAID1 configuration. You're not paying for a foolproof backup system. You're not paying for an open system. And you're not paying for a device that will never fail. Sadly, Drobo was very unclear about a lot of this in their marketing. I think if they had been more upfront about the drawbacks and not have positioned it as a panacea, they'd have done a lot better. I personally think you should do your homework before buying anything, but Drobo is largely at fault for making it seem like a "perfect" solution.

The first-gen Drobo I have is dog-slow. It's even worse if I dare try to pull data off my Time Capsule over wireless and load it onto the Drobo without a step in-between. I've since learned not to do that. It's very slow even over USB when writing data, but that's because it's laying out the data with it's algorithm as it writes, and that's messy. Supposedly, newer boxes have faster processors and more cache, so I'm sure as I upgrade, I'll be more happy with the speed. I'll likely get a Gen2 (as soon as I can find one for about the same $150 I paid) and sell this one off soon, and I'll make sure anyone that buys it is aware of the issues. The nice thing is I can just pull the drives from this Drobo, stick them in the new one, and I'm off to the races. You can't do that with any other RAID solution.

The biggest problem I had (which I figured out on my own) is that it's unclear how to handle shutting down these older ones when you don't have Dashboard available. In my case, I made the mistake of hooking it up to my Time Capsule and using it like a NAS. But that was a mistake, and moving it back to the Mac had me corrupt some of the data, because I couldn't shut it down properly. A quick pass with DiskWarrior resolved the problem, but it took the better part of a day to figure out why it happened.

Suffice it to say that I think Drobo could have better handled some of the inherent problems with their solution by being more up-front about it. That said, I have no real issues with their pricing other than just not being able to afford it, but there's a lot of things I can't afford. It doesn't mean it's not priced fairly. They should not price their devices the same as devices that do less, and expecting them to is unreasonable. Nothing competes with Drobo in the areas they prioritize.

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Originally Posted by zedsdead View Post
I'm very excited about the Drobo 5D.

But I can't make use of it yet because both my Macs do not have Thunderbolt. The ability to add a mSATA SSD to it will also improve the speed of the machine.
For the record, the mSATA SSD should only improve READ speeds on data loaded into that drive automatically by the Drobo (data-aware tiering). I don't believe it's being used as a write-cache at all. I hope I'm wrong about that, however.
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Old Jul 21, 2012, 09:06 PM   #77
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I think if you compare USB 3 to USB 2 and productivity means anything to you, you will immediately retract this statement. USB 3 is FAR superior.

For all those considering the new Drobos, I highly recommend you read this blog post (and the comments) from Scott Kelby. Proceed with caution.

http://scottkelby.com/2012/im-done-with-drobo/
I've read Scott kelby's post about his problems with his Drobo's the responses and the reply from Drobo's president.

I've got my own issues with Drobo (Full Disclosure I own two 2nd Generation Drobo units, and have reviewed it for a publication, but otherwise have no connection to Data Robotics or anyone who who works there or works for them).

First issue with kelby's complaints: we don't know the circumstrances. Kelby lives and offices i nthe Tampa Bay area and as anyone who lives there will tell you there are a lot of issues with the electrical supply ther. Becasue the grid there includes areas that get the highest number of lightning strikes i nthe country there can be really fast power flucuations. You need really good surge protection and UPS. I assume Kelby, Inc has this but it is an open question.

First issue with the Drobo: the removable front cover design is really pretty and minimal but also covers up the power lights. there are two of these lights . The one on the right needs to turn off before you kill th power to it. The solution is pretty obvious: change the aesthetics. A DIY solution is to use an electric drill on the internal layer of plastic on the front cover. The better solution is for Drobo to revise their design

Second Drobo and possibly Kelby issue: If you shut a Drobo off , Drobo techs now tell me you need to allow for ten minutes for the units to safely finish doing whatever they are doing internally vis a vis building file structure before turning the power off to them. I do not recall ever seeing this in the manual or hearing this before.

Not waiting the full period , especially if you have to do this repeatedly or if your electrical system is doing this to you, appears (according to the tech I spoke with at Drobo) can really exacerbate file structure corruption is quite often the cause of a Drobo "bricking".


In the pro and amateur photo community Kelby has some sway because of his legions of followers through NAPP. But he is still just one guy and his story is anecdotal.

Finally there is the issue of drives: What drives does Kelby have in his Drobos ? Are they all from the same lot #?

Right now I am looking to add a third on site large storage solution to my set up and in all likely good it will not be a Drobo. Not because I think they are less reliable than other RAID or JBOD manufacturers, but because it seems to be a smart idea to have a basket from form another manufacturer. I am looking at Synology, OWC's QX2, Western Digital enterprise level RAID array, as well as others.
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Old Jul 21, 2012, 09:32 PM   #78
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100% agree!
Again, which model of the Synology has Thunderbolt built in? Really. I'm curious.
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Old Jul 21, 2012, 09:37 PM   #79
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With the Drobo 5D... I'm not familiar with this stuff at all, but can you set it up so you've got two drives in Raid 1, and then another two drives in Raid 1 which show up as a different drive (or partition)? So the data isn't all on one drive. Or would I need several of them?
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Old Jul 21, 2012, 09:39 PM   #80
TXnATL
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Originally Posted by MythicFrost View Post
With the Drobo 5D... I'm not familiar with this stuff at all, but can you set it up so you've got two drives in Raid 1, and then another two drives in Raid 1 which show up as a different drive (or partition)? So the data isn't all on one drive. Or would I need several of them?
no.
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Old Jul 21, 2012, 09:44 PM   #81
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no.
I see. So it's just like one giant drive. I'd have to do a Raid 0+1 with four drives to get the full benefit out of it right?
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Old Jul 21, 2012, 10:04 PM   #82
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Cheaper than Seagate and includes a TB cable.

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1400221
Even better! That's the thing though. I don't know what MacRumors is playing at. So far, the only things Arn and team have reported on have been the expensive drives. That's two "relatively" cheap drives I know of so far. Why do they not get reported? They could nip the "Thunderbolt is crazy expensive" thing in the bud overnight, but they wont report on it.

EDIT: Even better, make it a front-page story. The fact is, most people are under the mistaken impression there are no affordable Thunderbolt drives out there. That is simply not the case.

EDIT2: I believe the drive I was talking about to be a better value though. You get an mSATA (I think) to thunderbolt adapter, which means you can buy any GoFlex portable drive, whichever is cheapest, and swap adapters with the thunderbolt one. I expect the adapter and the cable to outlast the drive, so someday I'll upgrade this drive with an SSD. The portable drives are quite a bit cheaper than the desktop drives incase anyone's wondering.

EDIT3: Come to think of it, if it is mSATA, you might be able to use an old laptop drive... Will have to try it.

Last edited by Lindono; Jul 21, 2012 at 11:28 PM.
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Old Jul 21, 2012, 10:39 PM   #83
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Why do people still buy Drobos? Synology is so much better, among others.

Drobos are slow and really only useful for backing up stuff. Not DLNA streaming and media server functionality.

(not trolling)

And I don't like how the system writes a proprietary code to the drives. If your Drobo dies, guess what? You have to buy another Drobo to read them. Awesome.
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Old Jul 21, 2012, 11:08 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by MythicFrost View Post
I see. So it's just like one giant drive. I'd have to do a Raid 0+1 with four drives to get the full benefit out of it right?
A four bay drobo enclosure with three or four drives in it is similar to a RAID 5 array. A five bay Drobo enclosure with four or five drives in it is comparable to a RAID 10 or RAID 1+0 array.
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Old Jul 21, 2012, 11:21 PM   #85
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$650 for that? The joke that is thunderbolt just gets funnier and funnier. Not even firewire had this kind of early adopter penalty...
The Drobo S starts at 799. Not sure I see the penalty. The device looks awesome to me. Yeah, its expensive. If you just want a backup drive, or a place to store your movie collection, this isn't for you.

On the other hand, if you want fast, available, dependable, failsafe datastorage on the fly well beyond what your Mac Pro SSD can handle, then this might be a good choice.

I'm looking forward to pricing a fully equipped model and comparing it to other business-grade solutions, on a price vs benefits basis.
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Old Jul 21, 2012, 11:23 PM   #86
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Originally Posted by TXnATL View Post
A four bay drobo enclosure with three or four drives in it is similar to a RAID 5 array. A five bay Drobo enclosure with four or five drives in it is comparable to a RAID 10 or RAID 1+0 array.
Ah I see. Raid 1+0 sounds like it would be most useful. That's striped and mirrored IIRC.
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Old Jul 21, 2012, 11:29 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by coolbreeze View Post
Why do people still buy Drobos? Synology is so much better, among others.

Drobos are slow and really only useful for backing up stuff. Not DLNA streaming and media server functionality.

(not trolling)

And I don't like how the system writes a proprietary code to the drives. If your Drobo dies, guess what? You have to buy another Drobo to read them. Awesome.
Thanks for sharing. I'll definitely look into that. I think this iteration of Drobos may outperform what you had before if you utilize that SSD slot that most of the others do not have.

I can definitely see the concern about proprietary data storage systems. On the other hand, I purchased a standard business grade RAID box a few years ago for a fairly hefty price on the basis of their history of durability and endless support. The only problem is that it is now impossible to find matching drives if one ever fails. The trade-off in being able to combine any size drive in each slot makes the device far more flexible for handling availability issues.

As far as "if one fails" well maybe I'd want to buy another drobo, but I wouldn't have to, because I'd never use my primary extended data storage system as a backup. If I wanted to change systems, i'd just copy it over from my cheaper, slower backup.
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Old Jul 22, 2012, 12:00 AM   #88
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I don't think we really disagree, yet "his true complaint" should be pluralized, followed by exclamation points imo. Those are serious issues. He's had 4 drobos die on him and gotten horrible support from Drobo in every case. Yes, I think "anger" is an appropriate response. I too would immediately start looking for a new media management system. Who in their right mind would give Drobo another chance?

Scott couldn't simply move his drives over as you suggested because Drobo is utterly proprietary, not a pure Raid 5...thus data is "held hostage".

For me, the pluses of drobo are minor and the *potential* downsides are very significant. I try to learn from my mistakes and am thankful Scott is sharing his "learning experience" for the benefit of us all.

I will be selling my (2) gen 2 Drobos asap. Getting new computers up first. With other alternatives such as Synology, etc, I see no reason to give Drobo my money.

Personally, I'm going with LaCie 4tb 2Big thunderbolt for DAS, backed up to a Buffalo Tech Raid 5 USB 3 unit with CrashPlan+ for off site. Here's the killer part imo, the $$$ cost for these 3 tiers of storage / BU combined (!) is the same as ONE 4tb Drobo 5D. Drobo? No thank you.



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Originally Posted by Bartman01 View Post
I usually respect his opinions on stuff, but that post is FULL of intentionally inflammatory statements and exaggerations. He posted it 'on accident' before he was ready and obviously wrote it in anger without really editing the results.

His true complaint at the heart of the post is his experienced failure rates, the short warranty period, and the fact that if it dies you have limited options. These are the things to consider.

He is smart enough to have proper backups of his critical data so the long diatribe about 'holding his images hostage' is just bunk. All he had to do was buy another solution, move his drives over (or just buy a spare HDD big enough to hold his current working data), and restore his data from backup.

For one, I would wait to see benchmark data. The current gen comes nowhere close to TB speeds, and with USB3 support on the new macs that is probably a better choice cost wise. The current gen (I have a current Drobo S) is faster than USB2 but way slower than USB3 - speeds about the same as a single normal speed internal HDD.

If you want the beyond RAID technology, also check out the Synology - it does the same thing.

Last edited by jaduffy108; Jul 24, 2012 at 05:08 PM.
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Old Jul 22, 2012, 12:23 AM   #89
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I agree CoolBreeze and I think many are jumping the drobo ship. As to "why" people buy Drobos? In my case, I liked the ease of set up, the (claimed) monitoring of drives, etc. I thought I was getting FW800 performance as promised by Drobo. In reality, I was getting USB2 speeds (30MB/s)....on a good day.

While it's probably a safe bet the new Drobos will be improved with faster performance, longer warranties, etc,... I've lost confidence in their products reliability, performance (speed) and customer service sucks. So an 8TB Buffalo Tech USB 3 for the same price as a Drobo 5D without drives (!) is a no brainer, imo. Ditto for Synology if you want a NAS solution.

I think the Drobo marketing dept has quite the challenge facing them. As we all know, disgruntled customers (me) are generally loud and talkative. There is a significant number of us now.



Quote:
Originally Posted by coolbreeze View Post
Why do people still buy Drobos? Synology is so much better, among others.

Drobos are slow and really only useful for backing up stuff. Not DLNA streaming and media server functionality.

(not trolling)

And I don't like how the system writes a proprietary code to the drives. If your Drobo dies, guess what? You have to buy another Drobo to read them. Awesome.
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Old Jul 22, 2012, 12:35 AM   #90
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I think there is zero doubt, the new Drobos will outperform the old models. The concern as I see it is, Drobo's proprietary system in the past has hurt performance significantly. Comparing apple to apples, USB2 to USB2, FW800 to FW800...other manufacturer's products performed better. So, are the benefits of the proprietary system worth the trade off in performance, being locked into a closed system, etc? Not remotely, imo.


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Originally Posted by DrStern View Post
Thanks for sharing. I'll definitely look into that. I think this iteration of Drobos may outperform what you had before if you utilize that SSD slot that most of the others do not have.

I can definitely see the concern about proprietary data storage systems. On the other hand, I purchased a standard business grade RAID box a few years ago for a fairly hefty price on the basis of their history of durability and endless support. The only problem is that it is now impossible to find matching drives if one ever fails. The trade-off in being able to combine any size drive in each slot makes the device far more flexible for handling availability issues.

As far as "if one fails" well maybe I'd want to buy another drobo, but I wouldn't have to, because I'd never use my primary extended data storage system as a backup. If I wanted to change systems, i'd just copy it over from my cheaper, slower backup.
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Old Jul 22, 2012, 01:34 AM   #91
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Originally Posted by jaduffy108 View Post
I think there is zero doubt, the new Drobos will outperform the old models. The concern as I see it is, Drobo's proprietary system in the past has hurt performance significantly. Comparing apple to apples, USB2 to USB2, FW800 to FW800...other manufacturer's products performed better. So, are the benefits of the proprietary system worth the trade off in performance, being locked into a closed system, etc? Not remotely, imo.
Well, I have been very excited about and anxious for these new devices to become available ever since they were first announced. But I've seen enough dissatisfaction with the company and their products around here to give me pause. I'm definitely going to wait and let others buy up the first waive of products, then see how the reviews come in after they've been in use for a while.

I still like the idea of a portable raid that uses 4 small disks of any size along with a fifth SSD option for handling the active data more quickly, all in a tight package that I connects via thunderbolt and can be carried in the same briefcase as my laptop.
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Old Jul 22, 2012, 01:41 AM   #92
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I am hoping to see performance specs on the Drobo 5D asap.

I was going to be getting a Pegasus Promise as I need ~400mbs speed and was planning on a Mac Mini server to serve 5 artist workstations (new mini's if they come out soon and are quad core,) and 10 render machines with no IT department.

It looks like these two devices are going to compete head to head with each other.

The Drobo "seems" like it would be easier to manage and plugging in 5 3TB WD red's would probably do the job just fine and be a bit more affordable.
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Old Jul 22, 2012, 01:44 AM   #93
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I am hoping to see performance specs on the Drobo 5D asap.

I was going to be getting a Pegasus Promise as I need ~400mbs speed and was planning on a Mac Mini server to serve 5 artist workstations (new mini's if they come out soon and are quad core,) and 10 render machines with no IT department.

It looks like these two devices are going to compete head to head with each other.

The Drobo "seems" like it would be easier to manage and plugging in 5 3TB WD red's would probably do the job just fine and be a bit more affordable.
Just an FYI-I have read mix reviews of the WD "Red" drives-several people on newegg report getting drives DOA or some getting very loud and making noises.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822236343
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Old Jul 22, 2012, 02:20 AM   #94
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Finally there is the issue of drives: What drives does Kelby have in his Drobos ? Are they all from the same lot #?
This should not be necessary, and in fact, is one of the main selling points of Drobo. No need to get matched drives, just use whatever you have, and increase when you need to. If you need to have matched drives, that advantage goes out the window.
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Old Jul 22, 2012, 04:02 AM   #95
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Finally there is the issue of drives: What drives does Kelby have in his Drobos? Are they all from the same lot #?
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Originally Posted by SuperRob View Post

This should not be necessary, and in fact, is one of the main selling points of Drobo. No need to get matched drives, just use whatever you have, and increase when you need to. If you need to have matched drives, that advantage goes out the window.
Correct.

But his question was about the drives coming from the same batch.

You could theoretically get 4 drives from the same bad batch... in which case they could all have a higher rate of failure.
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Old Jul 22, 2012, 04:58 AM   #96
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Again, which model of the Synology has Thunderbolt built in? Really. I'm curious.
The Synology is a NAS unit.
A NAS unit is designed for sharing and use across the network, not for direction connection. Hence it does not use Thnderbolt.
It offers tons more services over the network then the Drobo does.
I personally think its a much better solution, but I guess it comes down to your personal requirements.
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Old Jul 22, 2012, 06:00 AM   #97
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I am very happy with two of my Synology NAS'es. One is from 2009, so its old. Both work 24/7. Since Synology is NAS it is restricted to Ethernet speed or WiFi speed. The philosophy of working is different, I can access my data from all around world, I can access it at home via iPhone/iPad/Macbook Pro/Mac mini, my guests can access the data when at my home. The difference is that thunderbolt DAS devices would have huge speed in comparison to ethernet NAS devices. The other thing is hard disk speed is rather under speed of Gigabit ethernet, so why bother. Maybe if you would put all SSD's into the storage you could use all speed of Thunderbolt. I always use UPS with NAS (regarding Scott problems and Drobo answer). I think that people using DAS, should also use it. Synology NAS cal also be a DLNA media server, downloader (torrent,emule,FTP), Squeezebox server,Time Machine and many, many more. So speed vs variety of functions. Considering many bad reviews of Drobo, I would buy rather LACIE SSD Thunderbolt drive, if I would need SPEED and direct connection with my mac. Other than that I would choose NAS. BTW. Synology constantly improves their firmware and adds features (I don't work for Synology, I am just a happy user with safe data on their NAS )
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Old Jul 22, 2012, 07:49 AM   #98
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The one with USB 3 is also too expensive.

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Incorrect. It works both ways, just in different businesses. Do you think same applies to milk and computers?
What works both ways? Clarify your post....it sounds to me like you don't understand at all how supply and demand works. And no, the Milk business is not the same because supply has to follow demand in that case, as milk is a perishable item.
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Old Jul 22, 2012, 09:24 AM   #99
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The Synology is a NAS unit.
A NAS unit is designed for sharing and use across the network, not for direction connection. Hence it does not use Thnderbolt.
It offers tons more services over the network then the Drobo does.
I personally think its a much better solution, but I guess it comes down to your personal requirements.
So there is no Thunderbolt. Thank you for proving my point.

I don't need a NAS. I have a Mac Mini that shares it's attached storage. A very large DroboS in this case.
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Old Jul 22, 2012, 10:05 AM   #100
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So there is no Thunderbolt. Thank you for proving my point.

I don't need a NAS. I have a Mac Mini that shares it's attached storage. A very large DroboS in this case.
What point?
I don't care whether you need a NAS or not. A Drobo and a NAS serve 2 different purposes. You can't compare the 2 directly. Some will prefer one and some the other.
Personally I think a NAS is better suited for my uses. It's an alternative. I'm not forcing you to use one, nor am I trying to prove a point. The Drobo is overpriced IMO and you pay a premium for being an early adopter into the Thunderbolt market. I have never used one so I cannot comment much more, but I know I don't need one either. If you do, then good luck to you.
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