Storage darlings Drobo recently announced the creation of the new Drobo 5N, their latest backup and storage device. Unlike most of the company's products thus far, the new Drobo 5N is a network-attached storage (NAS) device, which stores and delivers data across the network - you won't need to hook the 5N to one of your home office or small business computers.
Like the rest of Drobo's products, the Drobo 5N uses a system that the company calls 'BeyondRAID'. It's a proprietary file management system that mimics RAID (a RAID array stores redundant copies of your data, so if one disk drive fails, data fidelity and system uptime are maintained), but in such a way that users don't need to understand how any of it works.
Drobo also includes the ability to add a little flash memory to the 5N, allowing users to cache some data that gets accessed regularly - such as important documents, photos, or work files - on a network drive, however, this speed gain won't be quite as noticeable.
Both Apple Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows computers will be able to access the new drive, and both operating systems can back up data to the storage array (? la Time Machine).
Current Drobo FS network data users can upgrade their systems to a Drobo 5N just by pulling the drives out of the Drobo FS and slotting them into the new 5N - pretty slick. The 5N features five 3.5-inch drive bays, each of which can take a 4TB hard drive; that means the system can use up to 20TB of storage space to provide up to 16TB of protected storage (you basically lose a drive to redundancy / data parity).
Drobp's 5N hooks up to your network via a single Gigabit Ethernet port in the back. It comes with a two-year warranty as standard, and starts at $599. It's available now from Drobo.com and various online retailers.
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