Has Drobo gone out of business?

Drobo is a data storage company that was founded in 2005 under the name Data Robotics. The company first launched the Drobo device, which was a unique “storage robot” that provided users with expandable and self-managing RAID storage.

In 2007, Drobo launched the DroboPro and DroboElite products for small to medium businesses. And in 2009 they launched the Drobo S and Drobo FS products. Drobo later changed its name to Drobo in 2011 as the Drobo brand became more well-known than Data Robotics.

Throughout the late 2000s and early 2010s, Drobo found success selling NAS devices and storage robots predominantly aimed at prosumers and SMBs. Their products provided flexible, expandable storage with automated data protection and expansion features aimed at making data storage simple for the average user.

Recent Changes at Drobo

In May 2022, Drobo co-founder and CEO Mihir Shah announced he was stepping down as CEO, though he would remain involved as a board member and advisor.[https://www.drobo.com/ceo-letter/] Geoff Barrall, founder of Drobo’s parent company StorCentric, took over as CEO of Drobo. This leadership change came amidst wider layoffs and restructurings at Drobo aimed at “rightsizing” the company.[https://www.drobo.com/news/]

Later in 2022, further staff reductions of up to 70% were reported across the company, including engineers and support staff. This raised concerns about Drobo’s ability to continue operations and support existing customers. However, the company stated the layoffs were necessary to “ensure Drobo’s sustainability” amidst financial difficulties.

Financial Difficulties

One of the main reasons behind Drobo’s bankruptcy filing are the lawsuits from vendors over unpaid debts. According to ElephantDrive NAS partner Drobo files for bankruptcy, Drobo had been facing financial problems for some time. The COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain issues exacerbated these problems and made it difficult for Drobo to pay its vendors and suppliers.

There were several lawsuits filed against Drobo by vendors claiming the company owed substantial debts. For example, in 2021 Drobo was sued by vendor Promise Technology for over $3 million in unpaid invoices. Other vendors like Magstor, a supplier of Drobo’s storage products, also filed lawsuits over unpaid debts.

These vendor lawsuits highlighted the financial struggles Drobo was facing. The company was unable to keep up with payments to key suppliers, leading to shortages in components needed to manufacture their products. With mounting debts and legal troubles, Drobo’s bankruptcy filing in June 2022 was the culmination of long-standing financial issues.

Lack of New Product Releases

Drobo has not announced any major new products in recent years. The last major product launch was the Drobo 8D in November 2018. Since then, there have been no new product announcements despite rapid advances in storage technology and competitive pressure.

This lack of innovation from Drobo has led some experts to speculate that the company may be struggling. Without new products that take advantage of the latest technology, it’s difficult for a company like Drobo to keep up with customer needs.

The lack of new Drobo products in 4+ years, despite major advances in storage, suggests Drobo has not invested in research and development recently. This opens the door for competitors to release more advanced and feature-rich products.

Drobo Responds

In January 2023, Drobo announced on their website that as of January 27th, 2023, Drobo support and products would no longer be available. Drobo stated that support would transition to a self-service model going forward (Wikipedia).

This announcement from Drobo confirmed that the company would cease active support and new product development. The statement acknowledged changes were coming in the company’s operations and support model. However, it stopped short of declaring bankruptcy or confirming a complete shutdown.

Expert Analysis

Despite recent challenges, industry analysts still see value in Drobo’s products and technology. Storage Switzerland, a leading analyst firm focused on data storage, noted the strong performance and ease of use of Drobo’s solutions in several reports (https://www.drobo.com/drobo-resources/analyst-reports/). In particular, they highlighted how Drobo allows SMBs to get enterprise-class features without complexity or high cost (https://www.drobo.com/resource-analyst-report/). While the market has evolved, Drobo’s commitment to making sophisticated storage simple and accessible still resonates.

However, the lack of new product releases has caused some analysts to be concerned. Without fresh innovation, Drobo risks falling behind competitors. While their existing products maintain loyal followings, analysts caution the company needs to demonstrate continued technological leadership.

Overall, experts see Drobo as retaining core strengths around usability and value. With the right strategy and execution, Drobo can leverage its strong heritage. But analysts emphasize Drobo must adapt to market changes to fully deliver on the promise of simplified storage solutions.

The Future of Drobo

Drobo’s future remains uncertain after their acquisition by StorCentric in 2018. While StorCentric has stated their intention to continue supporting and innovating Drobo products, the company has faced some challenges.

Drobo has not released any major new products since the acquisition. This lack of innovation has led some to question the company’s viability long-term. However, StorCentric has said they are working on new Drobo products and updates to existing product lines (1).

Some experts predict Drobo will refocus on their core base of small business and prosumer users, rather than trying to compete with larger storage vendors. They may streamline their product catalog and focus on reliability and ease-of-use rather than cutting-edge specs (2).

Overall, while Drobo’s future is uncertain, experts are cautiously optimistic that StorCentric can revive the brand. However, Drobo may never regain the market share or reputation it had during its heyday in the late 2000s. Much depends on StorCentric’s strategic vision and execution over the next 1-2 years.

Impacts on Customers

Drobo’s uncertain future has led to significant concerns for current Drobo owners. With the company struggling financially and failing to release new products, many customers worry about long-term support and servicing of existing Drobo devices. This leaves Drobo owners with some difficult decisions to make.

For those relying on Drobo devices to store important data, the lack of active development from Drobo is worrisome. If a Drobo device fails down the line, customers may find it difficult to locate replacement parts or find a service provider able to repair the device. Some users have already reported issues getting support from Drobo on existing warranty claims and support requests (Kelby, 2022).

With Drobo’s future uncertain, many customers are choosing to migrate away from Drobo products to other storage solutions. This often requires purchasing new hardware, going through a complex data migration process, and learning an entirely new storage platform. Popular migration options include Synology, QNAP, and TerraMaster NAS devices which offer similar redundant storage capabilities. While migrating requires significant effort and cost, many are making the switch for long-term assurance their data will remain safe and accessible (Reddit, 2022).

For those who decide to stay with Drobo, it’s recommended to have a solid backup plan in place. Relying solely on a Drobo device, without another form of backup, leaves data vulnerable if the device can no longer be serviced or repaired down the line. Creating redundant backups protects against potential data loss if Drobo support completely disappears.

Competitor Options

For customers looking to purchase new storage solutions similar to Drobo’s offerings, there are several strong competitors on the market. Many experts recommend systems from OWC, such as the OWC ThunderBay 4 as an alternative to the Drobo 5D3 for direct attached storage. The ThunderBay 4 offers comparable drive bays, redundancy, and the ability to mix drive sizes while providing fast performance. Other competitors like Synology also offer networked storage systems similar to Drobo’s NAS solutions. While the interfaces and specific features differ across brands, competitors like OWC, Synology, QNAP, and TerraMaster offer robust DAS and NAS options for new purchases as alternatives to Drobo’s aging product lines.


In summary, recent events suggest Drobo has significantly scaled back its operations and is no longer actively innovating or releasing new products. The company has faced financial difficulties, laid off numerous employees, and discontinued some product lines in favor of focusing on existing customers.

However, Drobo maintains that they are still in business, providing ongoing support and software updates to current customers. While they appear to be a shadow of their former selves, and the future is uncertain, we cannot definitively conclude that Drobo has completely gone out of business at this time.

For customers invested in Drobo products, it is advisable to consider migrating to alternative solutions in the long run. Competitors like Synology and QNAP currently offer more competitive and innovative products in the network attached storage market.

In summary, while Drobo seems to be winding down as an active company, they have not officially closed their doors or declared bankruptcy. But the brand and products face an unclear future in the storage market.