Drobo 5N NAS

I spent over a decade building and rebuilding my gigantic Linux-based rack-mounted home RAID file server. It constantly broke down and required endless maintenance, but it did its job: providing a LAN-based file storage facility for my millions of photos, TV shows, home videos, and movies.

The Drobo revolutionized the home NAS (network-attached storage). I complained about the Drobo when I first tried it because it was buggy. But the bugs are ironed out and it’s been running beautifully for years now. I’ve got mine fully-loaded with Western Digital 4TB Red drives. This is definitely the drive you’ll want to use with any NAS (based on personal experience, you don’t want to use the WD Green drives).

The drawback of going with Drobo is proprietary RAID. After some thought, I came to the understanding that one day the Drobo hardware will fail. When it does, I won’t be able to access any of my data until I purchase a replacement unit and transfer the drives over. This is because Drobo uses a proprietary RAID system that only their hardware can interpret. I have always used standard RAID and Greyhole systems in the past with the comfort of knowing that I can get at my data in many other ways if the hardware fails. Not so with Drobo. With Drobo, the choice is to keep a spare Drobo on hand in anticipation, or be without my data while scrambling to get a replacement unit. Let’s just hope Drobo still makes the 5N or a compatible unit when this dreaded day comes, and sure as the sun will rise, the day will come when the Drobo hardware fails.

And keep in mind that NAS disk redundancy is no excuse for not backing up your data! A fire, flood, or thief can kill your NAS data instantly.

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