We’ve been over the Drobo a few times, as well a couple of alternatives (I like this one), and I’ve always considered it a good product with one major drawback: it’s only USB 2.0. For people doing video editing or frequently copying super-big files, this meant unacceptable wait times, although for everyone else it was a jolly good backup system.
Well, Data Robotics heard that criticism and is coming out with the Drobo 2nd generation. It’s more of an evolutionary step but that step makes a big difference to who will buy this thing. The major difference is the addition of two FireWire 800 ports. This means you’ll be able to run data on and off this thing at twice the speed you could before (about 50MB/s read and 35MB/s write, comparable to those high-end flash drives). They’ve also done a few more under-the-hood changes, optimizations, and upgraded its processor as well as giving its little butt a new look. It was competitive with the other products at its price range before, but now they’re eating Drobo’s dust. It’s a direct replacement for the old Drobo so the price will be the same. Hit the link for more info and a bigger pic.
The old Drobos are on their way out, but as long as supplies last you’ll be able to pick one up for $349, or $749 with 2TB and $1075 for 4TB.