Drobo B1200i Combines SSDs, High-Capacity Drives

A Drobo B1200i iSCSI array can hold up to 36TB of raw storage and carries VMware vSphere 5.0 certification.

Small-business storage solutions specialist Drobo announced the latest refresh of its flagship Drobo B1200i storage appliance, which combines solid-state drive (SSD) technology alongside traditional hard-disk drives (SAS or Serial ATA). The upgrade is available as a free download to existing B1200i customers and is geared toward Tier 2 storage and backup for departments in larger organizations, and can support up to 250 users, and the appliance has also attained VMware Ready status with vSphere 5.0 certification.

In addition to vSphere, Drobo technology has been certified for Citrix XenServer, Symantec Backup Exec and Veeam Backup environments. With an iSCSI storage-area network (SAN), centralized storage is provided to each server over a high-speed Ethernet network, and storage can be allocated or expanded.

"The Drobo B1200i SSD is simple, cost-effective, and it works," Dan Long, MIS director at Branch Manufacturing in Minnesota, said in a press statement. "Drobo storage has all of the things I look for, and for a small business, it was easy to assemble and tune plus was a cost-effective solution for my environment."

A Drobo B1200i iSCSI array can hold up to 36TB of raw storage, and to add capacity, IT specialists just insert a new hard drive or replace the smallest drive with a larger one, even if all drive bays are full. Automated Data-Aware Tiering leverages high-capacity hard-disk drives (HDDs) paired with SSDs to deliver application-optimized storage that requires no manual tuning, while Smart Volume management technology with Thin Provisioning integrated into the B1200i allows volumes to pull storage from the common pool of disks rather than a specific physical disk allocation.

In an evaluation and testing of the B1200i's ability to support real-world SMB applications, IT analytics firm Enterprise Strategy Group noted that the appliance is capable of scaling to more than 1,200 Microsoft Exchange mailboxes and achieved "exceptional response time results for mixed, real-world workloads, including email plus file serving plus online transaction processing (OLTP), and proved strong streaming performance of nearly 300MB per second for data protection, video on demand, and other capacity-oriented applications."

In June, the company 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 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.