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Author Topic: Domo Arigato, Robot Drobo!  (Read 4203 times)

Ralf Maximus

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Domo Arigato, Robot Drobo!
« on: November 21, 2007, 06:36:56 PM »
While they call it a "robot", Drobo is really just a fancy NAS box.  Four bays, built-in processing & intelligence, an array of connection options.  Yawn.  So what?

http://www.drobo.com/

drobo.png

What makes Drobo different is its ease of use.  Apparently it's totally automated.  No configuration.  Just plug in up to four SATA hard drives -- any size, any manufacturer -- and it reconfigures itself on the fly to manage them.  It's like RAID for dummies.

And, you might be a dummy to pay $499 USD for the thing (with no drives), since cheaper solutions exist.  But then again, how much time have we all wasted troubleshooting a RAID system, or discovering that the new drive you just bought isn't compatible with the other in the pair, or figuring out that your SATA cables are just *this* much too short to reach the freekin socket? 

Drobo takes care of all that technical shiat for you.  And for Mac users: it's 100% TimeMachine aware.

Might be worth a look if grandma starts editing videos or something.

f0dder

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Re: Domo Arigato, Robot Drobo!
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2007, 06:49:50 PM »
I should look up what components cost in .US, or wait and see what this box will cost in .DK...

but for $600 (and this is denmark, with relatively expensive electronics), I can build a full machine with 2x320gig sata disk, 2 gigs of ram, decent case+psu, socket775 motherboard, and a Celeron CPU (from the core2 family - only singlecore, but core leetness and ~35W power consumption). That's ~$100 more expensive than a Synology NAS box (WITHOUT drives). Does mean I have to set up linux and everything on it myself, but still...

Anyway, it does look & sound like a very nice little box, and you don't get that kind of form factor (and silence?) when building yourself.
- carpe noctem

Ralf Maximus

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Re: Domo Arigato, Robot Drobo!
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2007, 07:10:00 PM »
Quote
but for $600 (and this is denmark, with relatively expensive electronics), I can build a full machine with 2x320gig sata disk, 2 gigs of ram, decent case+psu, socket775 motherboard, and a Celeron CPU (from the core2 family - only singlecore, but core leetness and ~35W power consumption).

Why bulk up the processing side so much?  2GB of RAM seems like a lot for what amounts to a file server.  I'd go with the min spec required for whatever operating system you want.  For instance, XP is quite happy with 256MB, so long as you're only serving files.  And even a cheapo AMD single core is ridiculously overpowered for NAS duties.

Quote
Anyway, it does look & sound like a very nice little box, and you don't get that kind of form factor (and silence?) when building yourself.

Yes!  That's one thing I forgot to mention.  It looks purty.  The damn thing is seductive in its sexiness, and if I built one myself I just *know* the roar of spinning fans would drown out all else.

Yes, yes I know.. I've fallen in love with a runway model.  But if she can juggle four SATA drives from four different computing epochs without any backtalk, then maybe the love is justified?

mouser

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Re: Domo Arigato, Robot Drobo!
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2007, 08:03:13 PM »

Ralf Maximus

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Re: Domo Arigato, Robot Drobo!
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2007, 10:12:05 PM »
Crap.  Ohwell, at least I know my runway model has been around...

tranglos

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Re: Domo Arigato, Robot Drobo!
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2007, 10:26:11 PM »
While they call it a "robot", Drobo is really just a fancy NAS box.  Four bays, built-in processing & intelligence, an array of connection options.  Yawn.  So what?

Drobo is absolutely gorgeous and well-worth a sigh. For me, sighs is where it ends, since they don't seem to be selling it outside of the US, Canada and UK. Might I consider moving to one of those fine places just for Dear Drobo?

Oh well, for now I've picked this NAS instead, by D-Link:
http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1697,2091770,00.asp

And I have a story already. The thing was supposed to arrive today. A package arrives, a little big for what amounts to a two-drive enclosure. I pay the delivery gentleman, bid him goodbye, open the package and looksie here, what did the kind gentleman deliver? Seven (7) copies of Windows XP Home, eight (8) AMD Athlon CPUs and ten (10) Data Traveler thumb drives, 1 GB each.

Okay. For a moment I thought this was a Bioshock type situation, where you collect random goodies, like empty syringes and pieces of rubber hose, then invent something nifty out of them? Only those ten thumbdrives were bugging me, because they didn't quite add up to the 1.5 TB of storage I was expecting. Though maybe if I wired those to the cache dies in the Athlons, and did something clever to the XP CDs...

I should have ordered Drobo.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2007, 10:28:02 PM by tranglos »

f0dder

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Re: Domo Arigato, Robot Drobo!
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2007, 06:32:07 AM »
Ralf: the core-family Celerons are pretty cheap: Celeron Conroe-L Model 430 (1.8GHz, 512KB cache, NX bit, x86-64, 35W?) pops in at around $60, that's the same prices as a Sempron LE-1150 (2.0GHz, 256KB cache, NX bit, x86-64, 45W).

Given the lower power consumption and larger cache size, I'd definitely go with the Intel CPU - and the motherboards aren't really that much more expensive, plus you get a nice intel chipset there.

2GB of RAM might seem like a lot, but it means you can have stuff cached and wear the disks a little less. But considering that 2x1024meg and 2x512meg DDR2-800 costs just about the same, ~$100, I'd opt for two gigs.

Sure, that box might be a little overpowered for a NAS, but it has the advantage of being a fully-fledged computer, which I'd also use for torrents (instead of having my power-hungry desktop on all the time), subversion, and the occasional linux testdev.

Sure, probably consumes more power than some of the NAS boxes, but the early synology NAS were powered by Pentium4's afaik, so... *shrug*
- carpe noctem

Lashiec

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Re: Domo Arigato, Robot Drobo!
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2007, 01:53:28 PM »
You could also get some parts here and there and a copy of Windows Home Server, and assemble your own Drobo.

Ralf Maximus

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Re: Domo Arigato, Robot Drobo!
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2007, 01:56:39 PM »
ugly.jpg

If Ralf built his own Drobo.

f0dder

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Re: Domo Arigato, Robot Drobo!
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2007, 02:01:24 PM »
That looks... interesting. Specs? And is that a home-built UPS? :)

Looks like it's in a hidden place, is that where you stash all your pr0n? :D
- carpe noctem

Ralf Maximus

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Re: Domo Arigato, Robot Drobo!
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2007, 02:02:57 PM »
Nah, just a GIS for "ugly computer"

Lashiec

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Re: Domo Arigato, Robot Drobo!
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2007, 02:08:41 PM »
Hmmm, it lacks a bit of finesse compared with the Drobo ;D

I was thinking into something more like this:

hp_mediasmart_whs.jpg

Ralf Maximus

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Re: Domo Arigato, Robot Drobo!
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2007, 02:19:55 PM »
Hmmm, well the HP MediaSmart is  $549 USD, but *does* come with a 500 GB drive.  Better value than Drobo.

Without scale it's hard to tell, but that HP looks freekin huge.

hp_mediasmart_whs.jpg

f0dder

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Re: Domo Arigato, Robot Drobo!
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2007, 02:21:56 PM »
Haha, nice job, Ralf :D

The USB port does hint at the real size, though ;)
- carpe noctem