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Computer Accessories

Drobo: Automated data robot

Data storage is usually as dull as ditchwater, but our ears pricked up when we heard about Drobo -- the world's first storage robot

Data storage is usually as dull as ditchwater, but our ears pricked up when we heard about Drobo -- the world's first storage robot. Okay, so it's not in the same league as Asimo, but it's far more useful than that stupid Sony Aibo thing.

It's basically a whacking great USB storage device that accepts up to four separate 3.5-inch SATA hard disks. These are treated as a single large volume you can access with your Mac or PC. Because Drobo automatically backs up data from any one disk to all the others, you can replace drives without losing any files. When you remove a disk, you're not actually removing any files -- just reducing overall capacity. Obviously, adding a disk adds more capacity to the existing 'single' volume.

Users can remove and replace any disk at virtually any time -- even if the Drobo is powered up and you're accessing data. Think of it as a train you can add new carriages to -- even if it's in motion. Should you decide to remove one or two carriages mid-journey, all the passengers shuffle into the remaining carriages.

Come to think of it, it does sound rather dull, but we guarantee you'll be more excited if you actually tried one out. We'd recommend it to video-editing enthusiasts, torrent abusers, and anyone with heaps of large files they can't risk losing. Prices start from approximately $470 (£230). -Rory Reid

Update: Read our full Data Robotics Drobo review