The Drobo Plus Droboshare is like the Mac of NAS devices - very easy to use, as long as you follow its way of working.

The Drobo is a USB 2.0 hard drive with a RAID technology all of its own, while the DroboShare is an add-on that allows you to connect it to a network.

The Drobo Plus Droboshare's big selling point is its ability to mix and match drive sizes. You can slot any combination of SATA drives into the chassis as, unlike with the competition, you don't need to screw the drives into cradles.

The device then sorts them into its own version of RAID 5, resulting in a combined storage space of around two-thirds to three-quarters of the total capacity.

Connecting a Drobo drive via USB 2.0 involves the Drobo Dashboard utility, which is also used to administrate the Drobo Plus Droboshare over a network. This automatically sets up the Drobo as a virtual drive.

The Drobo Plus Droboshare doesn't offer a web interface, and there's no way to sort out access passwords, users, groups or quotas. Flexibility has
been discounted in favour of ease of use, although you can use the Drobo as an external hard drive. The Drobo is rather slow, too - but it has much to offer.

As we completed this review, Data Robotics launched a Drobo with a faster processor and two FireWire 800 ports.

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Drobo Plus Droboshare: Specs

  • Compatible platforms: Mac OS X 10.4, Windows 2000/XP/Vista
  • Capacity options: 80GB-16TB
  • SATA
  • removable drives
  • proprietary Raid configuration
  • 7,200rpm drives supplied
  • gigabit ethernet, USB 2.0 (for another Drobo only)
  • DHCP client
  • SMB/CFIS media server
  • 152x160x272mm
  • 3.4kg
  • 1 year warranty
  • Drobo Dashboard software
  • Compatible platforms: Mac OS X 10.4, Windows 2000/XP/Vista
  • Capacity options: 80GB-16TB
  • SATA
  • removable drives
  • proprietary Raid configuration
  • 7,200rpm drives supplied
  • gigabit ethernet, USB 2.0 (for another Drobo only)
  • DHCP client
  • SMB/CFIS media server
  • 152x160x272mm
  • 3.4kg
  • 1 year warranty
  • Drobo Dashboard software

OUR VERDICT

Comprising an innovative RAID system that's not reliant on same-sized drives, and with no drive trays the Drobo Plus Droboshare is easy to set up. But it's not the quickest, and there are no security controls.

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