Drobo Unveils Storage Appliances for Businesses

The eight-bay and 12-bay storage appliances offer remote backup and enhanced redundancy features.

Data storage specialist Drobo announced the release of storage appliances for small to medium-size businesses for primary and secondary storage for Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint and similar business applications, as well as departmental file sharing or offsite backup, and server virtualization deployments including those using VMware solutions.

The products include an eight-bay file sharing Drobo with remote backup, and an eight-bay SAN (iSCSI-attached) Drobo, both available now, as well as a 12-bay SAN (iSCSI-attached) appliance with expanded redundancy features, support for thin provisioning and deprovisioning and new data-aware tiering technology. The 12-bay SAN storage unit will ship in the second quarter of the year, a company release said.

"VMware recognizes the importance of affordable storage alternatives for firms implementing virtualization as they continue on the path toward IT as a service," explained Parag Patel, vice president of global strategic alliances for VMware. "Like larger organizations, SMBs are looking for ways to improve productivity and lower IT costs. Drobo streamlines VMware-virtualized storage for SMBs by delivering storage that is simple, scalable and automated-all with an affordable price tag."

The company's new business line also includes performance enhancements, new management software, and extended business support and services. The systems are based on patented BeyondRAID technology and are certified for VMware, Citrix, Microsoft Exchange and Symantec backup. Prices start just above $2,000 and can be purchased via the company's Website.

"A complex quote, full of techno-babble and corporate speak, wouldn't represent Drobo fairly," said Mark Peters, senior analyst at IT research firm Enterprise Strategy Group. "Now available for SMBs, Drobo is what it has always been-surprisingly advanced and scalable storage, packaged and priced for people who don't need to have doctorates or second mortgages to have easy, functional and sophisticated capabilities at their fingertips."

The company has also expanded its partner program for value-added resellers (VARs). The Drobo Business Premier program features access to solution content, deal registration, margin protection, demand generation and other benefits.

"Nurturing the channel is key to our growth, particularly the small percentage of our resellers we qualify as Business Premier," said Tom Buiocchi, CEO at Drobo. "Drobo is committed to extending support and programs that ensure delivery of our award-winning storage solutions to business customers quickly, easily and at the highest margins for our partners."

Gary Nichols, CEO of Interdev, an IT consulting firm and Drobo partner, said given its ease of use, affordability and certification with all the major solutions, Drobo is probably the fastest sales-cycle storage they deal with. "But the bottom line is that Drobo-based solutions give customers an unprecedented user experience and satisfaction, and we are committed to offering technology that works for the particular needs of small and medium businesses," he said. "Drobo customers are happy customers, and that means they will come back for more."