I'm hooked on network attached storage and need a fix. You see, I've been testing outthis week, and I quickly grew accustomed to having a simple, always connected backup device and a stash of mixed media freely available on my home network. As I boxed up my and DroboShare loaners this morning to send back to Data Robotics, I began debating whether I could justify dropping $700 for a networked storage device, which would also involve me purchasing at least two high-capacity hard drives.
My current backup situation is not what you would call elegant. I have a pile of external hard drives that I occasionally dig out of a desk drawer and connect to my PC or laptop. I use one drive to back up my iTunes library, another to back up my digital photos, and another where I keep backups of home videos. I then have a larger Western Digital drive where I keep backup copies up everything. It may take a while to get there, but it does qualify as redundant storage.
For $500 (plus the cost of two, three, or four hard drives), Drobo gives me redundant storage without having to think about it. For another $200, the DroboShare companion piece lets me put my Drobo volume on my network. And I really like being able to access my entire music library and digital photos from any PC in the house.
The Drobo and DroboShare duo is certainly superior in every way to my current system, but do its benefits add up to $700? I'm not so sure. Drobo's automated and flexible RAID-like technology is tempting, and its storage expansion is as simple as popping in a new hard drive. DroboShare's ridiculously simple setup and maintenance puts other NAS products to shame. And the product design is excellent, even down to the packaging. No other NAS product comes close to matching Drobo's offerings, which is why Data Robotics can set the price where it sees fit. If Drobo itself included an Ethernet jack and, perhaps, threw in a 500GB hard drive to get me started, I could probably come up with around $400 and feel good about purchasing it.
Any Drobo users out there? If so, are you also using DroboShare? Can you help me find a justification for dropping $700 on the pair? Any other would-be Drobo users sitting on the fence? Are you waiting for a price drop or features to get added before taking the plunge, or did you go with another NAS product? I welcome you to comment below.