DroboPro is the latest storage array that has been released by Data Robotics. The earlier versions of the device were known as Drobo External Storage Device. This version of the storage array is designed to manage itself. It is bigger, stronger and more capacious. It has 8 bays and is targeted for use by small businesses and creative professionals.

Drobo Pro is similar to the earlier versions in looks. It supports up to 16 TB of storage and features the proprietory BeyondAID technology which was the mainstay of its predecessors. The technology permits a number of hard drives of varying capacities to be aggregated into one volume for redundancy and data protection. It cannot be used with networks. However, the subtle changes that distinguish this product are that it has integrated power supply and fully supports dual drive redundancy. Users can also switch between single and dual drive redundancy from a user friendly dashboard. The time that will be taken to shuffle the data around is displayed while we wait for the process to complete. This device is compatible with a 3U rack mount attachment that will have to be purchased separately. Hotswap is possible up to one drive at a time in single redundancy mode and two drives in a dual redundancy mode.

The array has a USB 2.0 port, twin Fire Wire 800 sockets and gigabit Ethernet jack. The FireWire supports both 800 to 400 adapters. The Ethernet jack cannot be used to set it up for NAS. It is there to take advantage of iSCSI that is a fast interface that is used with severs and workstation rigs. OS X users get a homegrown iSCSI driver free.

Data Robotics has clearly indicated that it prefers that the DroboPro should be used for direct attached storage with an option to connect it to a Windows Home Server or a networked computer if network access is essential. It is also possible to do professional video work on Drobo Pro.

Tom Loverro, Director of Product Marketing at Data Robotics says: "One of the beta testers, who is well known in the video editing and animation community, is editing on DroboPro using Final Cut Pro with three video streams of 720p using Apple’s ProRes with no problems. That’s not to say you can do 5 streams of uncompressed 4K on DroboPro though — that sort of situation obviously calls for a different type of solution. But I do think we address 75% of the video editing market with this product according to our research."

The price of the completely empty Drobo Pro is $1299. Pre stocked options cost $1599-$1949 and the top of trees version costs $3999 with 16 TB capacities. Existing Drobo Pro customers will receive a discount of $200 on the MSRP as an appreciation of their loyalty. The product has been shipped on April 7th.

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