Connected Data is out with its newest 4-bay Drobo storage system. The company said that the third-generation product costs less, runs three times faster than previous versions, and includes USB 3.0, Apple Time Machine support and a battery backup
As an incentive for the $349 unit, Connected Data is also offering a customer loyalty discount program of $50 for previous Drobo owners. Drobo merged with Connected Data last year.
In addition to improving performance speed, the latest product supports rebuild times four times faster than previously, in the event of a disk drive failure. Drobo is designed to automatically protect its data , and additional drive capacity can be added with a click.
The third-gen drive utilizes the company's BeyondRAID technology, which, as featured in previous generations, enables upgrading by removing a disk pack from an existing Drobo and inserting it into the new unit.
Joe Disher, Senior Director of Product Marketing at Drobo, said in a statement that the enhanced Drobo continues "with the simplicity that our customers appreciate." He added that "no other product in the market allows you to not only increase your drive capacity on the fly, but move drives from a current system and slide them into a newer, faster model without complexity or downtime."
Drobo seeks to distinguish its products through its easy setup-in-minutes, expansion into larger drives without tools, self-management and self-optimizing. "You insert the drives, but Drobo will take care of the rest," the company says on its Web site.
The BeyondRAID technology used in its products is intended to have the backup of RAID without the complexity. RAID, first implemented in the 1980s, increases capacity and reliability by combining drives. This kind of backup prevents single disk drive failure, and is widely used in enterprises.
But RAID technology can be complex and time consuming and require heavy maintenance. Drobo's BeyondRAID tech utilizes a layer of virtualization that the company said, "chooses the correct protection algorithm based on data availability needs at any given moment." RAID levels do not need to be changed if additional storage capacity is needed.
Users simply have to add additional drives or replace smaller ones with larger ones. Additionally, BeyondRAID can move from single to dual disk redundancy via a click on the Drobo Dashboard. If a drive fails, the unit will re-layout the data automatically without the need for a manual re-layout, and then return to its protected state.
Last December, Drobo launched a DroboApp platform for delivering additional functionality in the Drobo 5N network storage array for homes and businesses.
Designed for file sharing, the 5N platform offered 15 apps to get the ball rolling including Plex for remote file access, Barracuda for unlimited cloud backup and ElephantDrive for integrated media service. Other apps provided iTunes music servers, BitTorrent clients, mail servers and Web servers.