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We have a Linux FC4 (old!) running with two mirrored sata drives (200gb each). This old setup has been working for years with Samba. The server is an IBM Netfinity that in my opinion, it uses too much power. Since it only does Fileserving, we'd like to shut down the box forever. Has anyone tried the DROBO (or similar). Will a solution like that use less power? Are there any alternatives to DROBO? We really don't use the server for other than DHCP and Fileserver, and the DHCP can be taken care by another server or a router. The idea is to use Drobo + the network stack that will allow us to leave it on and not need to connect it to a box.

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I am tempted to suggest that you may want to look at Apple's new Mac mini server (store.apple.com/us/configure/MC408LL/A?mco=MTMzNzU5Nzc) –  Zoredache Oct 20 '09 at 22:06
    
Thanks to all for the suggestions. –  Martín Marconcini Oct 21 '09 at 21:19

6 Answers 6

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Drobo is a good solution as it has built in drive redundancy, it's low power, and has little overhead. Plus there is an attachment you can purchase to serve the drobo out over the network just like a NAS.

I believe that Acer has a somewhat similar product shown here by engadget. It's a lot cheaper than the drobo, can do NAS type services, ie: samba, by default and has internal RAID.

The offer from HP is similar. Check it out here. Multiple drives, one case, network sharing and RAID.

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I'm a Drobo user and the latest Drobo: the Drobo FS is intended to solve the very problem you describe. It is meant to be run as network-attached storage, not as direct-attached storage. I think they're well-built boxes that run quiet and cool and cheap. Where the Drobo really shines, IMO, is in their tech support -- they do have great tech support. I'm still able to get on-the-phone tech support for my first-gen Drobo that I use with my Mac. It's going on 3-4 years old now. That's pretty great.

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They're also great for no-think-about drive replacement. Replace a small disk with a larger disk and let the device figure out the redundancy rebuilding. While I'm comfortable dealing in Server RAID scaling up to Filer-level, it's nice to not have to think about it. This would be fine for Home or SMBs. –  gWaldo Sep 9 '10 at 18:52
    
Absolutely. Want more space? Pull a drive. Put a new one in. Hot. Nothing to it. And they claim their Drobo FS doesn't suffer from the RAID-5 write hole issues, which so far has held up for me and my experience with it. –  Ian C. Sep 9 '10 at 19:01
    
I’ve set up a DroboFS for a customer last week and it’s really very good. –  Martín Marconcini Dec 15 '10 at 18:07

DNS-323 IMO. The wiki is awesome. I run a small intranet page off of mine and it usually pumps out ~10MB/s transfer, which is not bad for the cost. If you need speed and have the money, Qnap is also pretty good. Just much more expensive.

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Drobo is not built for this purpose. You should be looking at Qnap or Netgear ReadyNAS devices - they are more appropriate for business use.

The best resource on the net for this hardware is SmallNetBuilder.

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The DROBO is really aimed at being a DAS (Direct Attached Storage). You need an additional component (DroboShare) or a computer to make the storage space available via a network file sharing protocol. From what I have read, I don't believe it is possible to use the DroboShare with the DroboPro. I would be somewhat worried about limiting yourself to the speed that that can be achieved via a single USB 2.0 connection.

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+1 Look for a NAS instead (but the review carry-case for the Drobo is awesome ;) –  Oskar Duveborn Oct 21 '09 at 9:41

I've not used a Drobo in particular, but I have used other similar small NAS devices, like the DNS-323. In my opinion, they're great for keeping a reasonable chunk of storage online without needing much power or space. However, they're not the most performant things under load, and in an office environment with multiple users you might find that things run a bit slower than the netfinity. However, only testing will tell for sure, and they are awfully nice little bits of kit to play with...

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