Apple Airport Extreme w/ Drobo OR Drobo w/ Drobo Share

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by TheSandman2236, Oct 23, 2008.

  1. TheSandman2236 macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2008
    Atlanta, GA
    As the title states I'm having a bit of trouble figuring this out. My brother and I are moving into an apartment together and are trying to hammer out our network setup.

    Currently there will be a Mac Mini attached (and streaming Movies/Music) off my Drobo like it is now. It's being shared on my PC.

    We haven't gone gigabit yet, so this might a good time to do so. We each have a desktop and laptop. Plus whatever consoles we both have.

    Would you guys say getting a Droboshare would be a better solution then getting an Airport Extreme (with the USB HDD Support)? Gizmodo just had an article about it, and it made me think things over a bit.

    Thanks for the help!
  2. TheSandman2236 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2008
    Atlanta, GA
  3. danny_w macrumors 601

    Mar 8, 2005
    Austin, TX
    If you want to do Time Machine backups to the Drobo, then the AEBS is the only solution that will work without hacks; some have said that Apple still does not support it, but how can they provide it and not support it? Otherwise I believe the speed is about the same either way, both in the 3-6MB/s range. I just recently got a Drobo but have it connected directly (for now at least).
  4. consumedsoul macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2008
    Does the drobo share add an OS/front-end functionality or do both versions have a 'control panel' like interface?

  5. phuong macrumors 6502a

    Aug 16, 2006
    you do not need to buy droboshare if you alaready have a airport extreme base station.
    the droboshare gives the drobo the network functionality, and that's all it does. and that's what's included in the airport, and you have network printer, wireless-n... etc

    the extra money is better spent on large capacity hard drives
    i'm speaking from my own experience.
  6. TheSandman2236 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2008
    Atlanta, GA
    I'm looking for a large networked solution that I can stream my music/movies off of. I already own the Drobo attached to my PC. We are doing a completely wired setup minus the laptops.
  7. Superman07 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 28, 2007
  8. phuong macrumors 6502a

    Aug 16, 2006
    elaborate "large networked solution" please?

    i dont know what you mean, but to give you some perspective.
    but my setup is as follows

    4x1TB on Drobo gen 1 (that is, usb only)
    AEBS gigabit
    macbook pro
    mac pro
    intelli z pro (ibm tower workstation, very old, running non-stop since 2002, so stable i wouldn't want to sell it)

    the xbox cannot produce any 720p output, but every other computer has no problem, even with wireless-g
    1080p movies in h264 can only be watched from mac pro
    1080p movies in other formats can be watched just fine from the macbook pro which is C2D 2.16GHz
  9. highjumppudding macrumors 6502


    Mar 1, 2008
    my understanding is that the droboshare is for routers that DO NOT have a usb port for connecting drives. the droboshare allows you to plug the hard drive via usb INTO an ethernet connection. skip the droboshare and get the airport extreme. save money and space without the extra component.
  10. jettredmont macrumors 68030

    Jul 25, 2002
    So, is this still the latest?

    I'm going to be replacing my old (and failing) 1st-gen G5 PowerMac with a new iMac 27"/i7 and use the iMac-MacPro savings to buy a Drobo and a few extra hard drives. I've had far too many failed HD disasters the last couple of years (side note: are hard drive really getting more fragile, or are we just using them more? Before 2005, I'd had two hard drives fail on me, ever; the others were discarded when I needed more space; since then I've had three desktop drives and two laptop drives fail on me!)

    In any case, I'm mulling over an Airport Extreme ($165 through my company's Apple discount store) or a DroboShare ($189.99 at

    I'm (strongly) leaning towards the Airport Extreme, as I can then shift my existing Airport Express over to address a wifi "dead zone" in the house. But, I want to make sure I'll be able to use the Drobo as well with the AEBS as with the DroboShare.

    1. How easy is it to "detach" the Drobo from the AEBS to direct-connect it to the iMac for better throughput? I know this is necessary with the DroboShare, which gets about 1/3rd the throughput that a direct-connect USB Drobo does, and that one only need "sleep" the Drobo and change the physical connections.
    2. What is the throughput like connected via Airport Extreme? The figures I'm seeing are about 40Mbps via DroboShare vs about 140Mbps via USB 2. How does the AEBS connection compare? I'm hopeful here because I've heard good things about AEBS-connected drive speeds with other hard drives.
    3. Is any of the Drobo software functionality lost?

    Any thoughts out there?
  11. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    DroboShare is absolute crap, so I would not even consider that.

    It's very slow not to mention expensive.
  12. pmcdunnough macrumors member

    Oct 15, 2009
    I have a Drobo connected via USB to an AEBS. I also have a Drobo connected via FW800 to a Mac Mini.

    It is easy to disconnect the Drobo connected to the AEBS. That can be done via Apple's client. It's pretty neat. It gets shared via afp to my Mini.

    I have been debating moving my FW800 Drobo to a DroboShare which is a pretty neat addition. The connection would not be as fast of course but more than fast enough for my needs. You can easily stream HD video if that is your thing. Some people claim it is slow but they are often forgetting what the Drobo is doing when writing. Anyway, it's not a speed demon but fine by me (and I do have a gigabit network). The advantage to the DroboShare is all the apps that can communicate and manage the networked Drobo. You lose that going the AEBS route.

  13. jettredmont macrumors 68030

    Jul 25, 2002
    Thanks for the reply!

    What apps communicate and manage the networked Drobo? Are you talking about the apps at or something else? The apps there seem to fill niches that might be useful to some, but I don't care about:

    1. A utility to install other DroboApps from the web without restarting the Drobo. But that assumes I'll want to install other DroboApps ...

    2. Remote access to the Drobo from the web or iphone ... don't see a need for this for me.

    3. An iTunes Media Server ... I'd rather have a "real" iTunes instance running as my media server (on a machine which can be woken up from sleep when its needed). Too many moving parts in iTunes servers I've seen that tend to break whenever Apple updates any part of their ecosystem.

    4. A Time Machine "sparse disk image" creator / manager. Can't I just do this with a desktop app, instead of trying to do that on the DroboShare?

    5. Apparently they used to also have a bittorrent client up there, but that's no longer available.

    Are there sources for DroboApps besides those? It looks like they offer an SDK for creating apps, so it's odd to only see four/five niches covered here.

    How about the desktop management apps? Do those still work if the Drobo is connected to an Airport?

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