When I switched over to Macs I made mention of purchasing a Drobo as a NAS for my home office. Fast forward 2.5 months and my purchase of a Netgear ReadyNAS NV+. I did a lot of research on the Drobo and found it very lacking for my needs. The Drobo was primarily deigned as an redundant external storage device connected via USB. They later designed an attachment that sat underneath the device to allow it to be shared on the network, they called that device the DroboShare. The DroboShare is very simplistic it allows various protocols across the network to talk to the Drobo. The major draw back to this device is it’s lack of security.You can password protect your DroboShare with one password and that is it. There are no different levels of security or users, just one password and thats it. This makes this device useless for several users on a network. For personal use I guess it gets the job done.
I also snooped around their forums and found a lot of people where having issues with data throughput of large files to the device. People were also discussing major wait times for the device to wake up from sleep to write or read files from it. I decided to read through some of the more recent threads before I wrote this post for reference and found that they have locked their forums to owners only. Which I find kind of odd for a manufacturer to do. I could only see this being done to protect them from would be buyers being frightened from purchasing due to reading negative posts on their forums. I am sure that someone at Drobo will rebuff that statement saying it is for the benefit of their end users. How it benefits their users I don’t know, but that’s what the spin doctors are for.
During my research I read a lot about Infrant’s ReadyNAS product. Infrant was acquired by Netgear May 3,2007. From everything I read this was one solid product. It held four hard drives and could do the standard RAID sets as well as their proprietary XRAID technology. XRAID allows you to dynamically adjust the size of the volume by swapping out bigger hard drives, something you cannot do with standard RAID. I needed a NAS for one of my clients home with a mixed environment of PCs and Macs. Upon delivery of the unit and configuring it with 2 One Terabyte drives in a XRAID configuration I was thoroughly impressed. Not only did it do the typical shares CIFS, AFP, NFS, FTP, HTTP, HTTPS and Rsync it also does streaming services such as SlimServer, iTunes Streaming, UPnP AV and Home Media Streaming Server. This NAS unit has everything plus the kitchen sink built into it, by the way it also has a BitTorrent server built into via an installed addon. It preformed so well that I bought one for myself as well. I equipped my unit with three 1 Terabyte drives giving me a total capacity just shy of two Terabytes. I own a PlayStation 3 and with the UPnP service I can play movies on my PS3 directly through my ReadyNAS. If you buy a Drobo/Droboshare combo directly from Drobo it will cost you $698 you will save about $60. At the time of me writing this post TigerDirect was selling the ReadyNAS NV+ for $884.99. Making the difference between the two just shy of $250. Take it from me it will be the best $250 you’ll ever spend in the long run. I have had my unit now for a couple of weeks without a hiccup and very happy with it.