I plugged in my first-ever Drobo unit a few weeks ago. I realized my computer was out of hard drive space yet again and it just made sense to store my photography working files on the Drobo 5D. The transition to the Drobo was seamless. Now that I have been up and running for a while I keep asking myself, “Why did I wait this long” to get a Drobo?”

I do not like to change equipment or software. My experience is that something always goes haywire and I spend way too much time talking to Technical Support from whatever company I bought my troublesome product from. So, for me to wonder why I didn’t get a Drobo sooner is a big deal.

Why Did I Wait This Long To Get A Drobo?

I had several misconceptions. None of my worries have materialized:

  1. It would take too long to set up. Wrong. I followed the instructions contained on the quick start card that came with the Drobo, reviewed the online Getting Started Guide and was up and running in minutes. I downloaded software, put hard drives into the Drobo casing, connected the cables, turned on the switch and formatted the drives. It was pretty close to plug and play. Two thumbs up for ease in setting up the unit!
  2. Access to my working files stored in the Drobo would be slow. Wrong. My file access is very quick.  I don’t even realize I am working off a Drobo. I am using a thunderbolt connection to my iMac and a mSATA SSD card. The Drobo 5D includes an accelerator bay on the underside to hold the card.  The use of a card in the bay accelerates access to the most frequently used data, improving performance of the unit. Two thumbs up for speed!
  3. It would present a whole new set of problems that I didn’t have the time to solve. As of yet, no problems.
  4. mSATA Upgrade. I decided to add the mSATA SSD card after I had inserted three hard drives into my unit and transferred my files. The Getting Started Guide states that it is best to insert the card before loading in the drives. I contacted Technical Support and asked if there were any issues to be concerned about if I inserted the card after loading in the drives. I sent an email at night and received the answer before I woke up the next morning. There were no issues.  I inserted the card. All is well. Support also followed up to see if everything was running okay a couple weeks after I had sent the email. So, two thumbs up for support! 
  5. It was one more thing to learn about, and it sounded complicated. Wrong again. Getting up to speed on the unit was very easy with the Online User Guide and related information on Drobo’s website. Photofocus also has excellent posts on using the Drobo, if you check the archives. Two thumbs up for simplicity, even though the technology is probably anything but simple.
  6. I already had external hard drives—why bother switching to a Drobo? For security and flexibility. A Drobo is nothing like an external hard drive. It is a much better solution if you have lots of files that take up lots of memory. I have three drives in my unit at the moment, but I can easily expand the number of drives or increase the size of a drive, if I am low on space.

Drobo provides redundant backup. I currently use Dual Disk Redundancy. My data is protected if two drives fail. I also backup offsite to cloud storage with Backblaze. My computer hard drive is backed up to two external drives using Time Machine, one drive using Carbon Copy Cloner and the cloud storage with Backblaze. Eventually I plan to transition my Time Machine backups to a Drobo.

There is also the Drobo dashboard. It provides status and capacity information, as well as providing easy access to settings and tools. It will tell me if a drive is failing, so I will know to replace it. I have never had an external drive talk to me before it fails. It just fails. Two thumbs up for the added safety net of redundancy and prior notice of drive failure.

My Drobo fears appear to be unfounded. My computer storage problems have been resolved plus my data is more secure with Dual Disk Redundancy. Why did I wait this long?