Drobo 5D, Mini Storage Platforms Offer USB 3.0, Thunderbolt Ports

Drobo's Mini packs up to 3TB of storage in a portable design, while the 5D boasts BeyondRAID technology.

Storage specialist Drobo took the wraps off its two latest storage offerings, the 5D system for creative professionals working with large amounts of rich media and the Mini, a portable digital storage appliance measuring just 7 inches square, less than 2 inches tall and weighing less than 3 pounds. The company said pricing, preorders and availability will be announced in the summer of 2012.

The 5D can support up to 16 terabytes of protected, solid-state-drive- (SSD-) accelerated data with up to five drives and an additional SSD bay€”the equivalent of 32 million photographs, 4 million songs, 1 million high-definition movies or 48 hours of uncompressed HD video. Users can access the files through a choice of Thunderbolt or USB 3.0 ports. Built with BeyondRAID technology with single- or dual-drive redundancy, the 5D protects data without any user interaction, even in the event of multiple drive failures.

The appliance also features Data-Aware Tiering technology, which uses the high-performance flash in SSDs to accelerate performance of the storage array, allowing applications such as Adobe Premiere and Apple Aperture fast access to data. The 5D is also quieter than previous-generation Drobos due to its tuned, large, variable-speed cooling fan. Users can also configure the 5D to spin down drives when they€™re not in use to further reduce noise and save energy.

The Mini features a ruggedized design made of metallic carbon fiber with a soft-touch rubberized finish that allows it to be transported with the drives inside, as well as a €œcarrierless€ design, which allows up to four 2.5-in. drives to be inserted into a Mini without the need for any additional drive carriers or screws. Users can carry up to 3TB, and drives can be added or hot-swapped on-the-fly for storage expansion.

The appliance also protects users from potential data loss after a power outage through a battery that protects all data in memory, or cache data on its way to the drives. In the event of a power outage, the battery, which recharges itself and is designed to last for the life of the product, keeps the Drobo alive long enough for the data to be written to non-volatile storage.

€œI will shoot thousands of images per day at the Olympics, and having fast, protected storage is critical to my workflow,€ Jeff Cable, one of the few photographers representing Team USA at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, said in prepared remarks. €œThe new Drobo Mini provides Thunderbolt performance and RAID protection in a compact package that is not much larger than a single external drive. I can€™t wait to get my hands on one.€

Earlier this year, Drobo teamed up with Acronis, a provider of disaster recovery and data protection solutions, to deliver a backup and recovery solution for small and midsize businesses. The joint solution incorporates Drobo€™s business storage arrays as well as backup and recovery solutions from Acronis. The combined solution from Acronis and Drobo is designed to help ease the IT management burden and accelerate data recovery following an unexpected failure.