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A First look at DroboAccess

If you’ve got a network-attached Drobo like a 5N or a B810n, one of the biggest problems was accessing your data outside of your local network. Unless you run a separate server like I do, remote access wasn’t possible.

Knowing that this has been an issue, Drobo is proud to announce DroboAccess which aims to simplify remote file access and file sharing. It’s essentially letting you create your own personal “cloud” with end-to-end encryption. To be fair, for years Synology has offered a Quick Connect website to log in and remotely access your files. This is Drobo’s first attempt.

DroboAccess is built on the myDrobo platform. There’s actually two Drobo Apps that need to be installed and configured to make this work. I imagine that the myDrobo platform will continue to evolve and DroboAccess is just an exciting first step.

Speaking of first steps, you’ll have to create a new myDrobo account using your Drobo’s serial number. Click on myDrobo in the Drobo Apps page and choose configure to open up the configuration panel. Choose Create Account from the top right.

Once you have an account created, you can enable DroboAccess. On the DroboAccess page, choose Register App. It’s going to ask you what URL you want to access your Drobo from. Note that right now, you can only have one Drobo registered to each URL. I have 2 Drobo 5N’s and have to have 2 separate URLs to access them. After you select your URL, it takes a few minutes for Drobo’s servers to register it.

The website for DroboAccess is pretty slick. It kind of reminds me of the Adobe Creative Cloud website. You log in using the same user credentials as you would to mount the share on your computer.

The same can be said for the mobile apps (available for both iOS and Android). You can view and share, instantly upload pictures from your camera roll, and even set a passcode on the app to secure your data.

From both the DroboAccess website and apps you can view and download all of your files, as well as share files or folders with others via an email address or a shareable link. You can view JPEG, PNG, PDF, Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents, however you cannot view raw files. Simply clicking on a filename will download it.

So let’s start to recap. Here are a few things I like, a few that I don’t, and some features I’d like to see in an updated version:

What I Like

  • Easy to set up
  • Installs quickly
  • Minimal maintenance
  • Sharable files and folders with a link
  • List of shared files so I can quickly see how much I’m sharing
  • The app makes it really easy to take my files with me on the go

What I Don’t Like

  • Only works on network-attached Drobos
  • Limited to one serial number per web address (not helpful if you have multiple networked Drobos)
  • DroboAccess shows hidden files (like ._2015-06-17…) which you can’t view. I wish there was a way to hide them.
  • Image previews took a while to load when looking through a gallery of images
  • The app is $0.99 to access my files from my phone or tablet

New Features I’d like to See

  • Would love to see a Dashboard app that supports the Drobo 5D
  • One login for multiple Drobo serial numbers
  • Option to hide hidden files

I’m really excited to start using DroboAccess in my workflow. I think it’s a huge step forward for Drobo, enabling me more ways to use my Drobo. If you have a network-attached Drobo, it really is pretty simple to install and get set up. Give it a try and share your experience in the comments below.

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