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Drobo, MicroNet add beefier SMB storage systems

Drobo gets into SMB NAS with DroboPro FS and Drobo Sync for off-site backup, and MicroNet expands its digital media platform with RAIDBank5 with support for USB 3.0 and hardware-based data encryption.

Data Robotics Inc. (Drobo) and MicroNet Technology broadened their SMB storage platforms this week, with Drobo adding a file storage device and MicroNet launching a 10 TB capacity USB 3.0 RAID 5 system for digital media.

Drobo today launched the DroboPro FS file sharing SMB storage system along with the integrated Drobo Sync application to move data off-site for backup. The DroboPro FS is a larger version of the Drobo FS the vendor brought out in April for the consumer/prosumer market. The DroboPro FS has two Gigabit Ethernet ports and eight drives, compared to a single Ethernet port and five drives for the DroboFS. Drobo Sync is a new application that automatically copies files from the source system to a target system, either locally or across the WAN.

A fully configured 16 TB DroboPro FS costs $3,299 while an 8 TB system (four 2 TB drives) costs $2,699. Drobo also offers two 16 TB systems in a business bundle for $6,399. Drobo Sync is part of the base price, and will be available via download later this month.

Drobo director of marketing Jim Scherhart said DroboProFS is aimed at companies with 15 to 25 employees. "SMBs may have looked at DroboFS and said, 'That's not what I'm looking for,' but this is more for small businesses," he said.

Athough Drobo is going after more business customers and has a DroboElite iSCSI box for SMBs, Scherhart said the vendor has no plans for a unified NAS and iSCSI system.

"We see the use case for smaller businesses that want to buy one device and have it handle a lot of capabilities," he said. "The challenge for us is that products that try to do that typically end up not doing either one well. As soon as you run a full-blown file system on an iSCSI device, you cut performance by at least a third. We try to keep our separate because the customer will ultimately get better performance."

MicroNet delivers digital media storage

MicroNet launched RAIDBank5, a five-bay desktop RAID array for digital media applications. The storage system supports multi-stream high definition video, DVCPro for broadcasting use, Apple's Pro-Res 422 for post production on Final Cut Studio, and uncompressed standard definition and high definition video workflow. The RAIDBank5 also includes an USB plug-in data encryption key that provides AES-256 encryption and its connects via eSATA and FireWire 400 and 800 as well as USB 3.0.

MicroNet claims RAIDBank5 can read data at 218 MBps and write at 220 MBps when configured for RAID 5 operations, and faster when used with eSATA, USB 3.0, and FireWire.

The 2.5 TB version of RAIDBank5 costs $799 and the 10 TB configuration costs $1,799.

The RAIDBank5 replaces MicroNet's RAIDBank 4, which had four disk bays, and did not support USB 3.0 or encryption.

MicroNet director of research and development Alex Koyshman said the encryption key is integrated into the storage device, and can be set up and managed through wizards.

"We wanted to create a solution that is brainlessly simple to manage because customers will blame us if they can't manage their data," he said. "We want something that's safe but customers can manage."

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