Is Drobo still alive?

Drobo is a data storage company that makes network attached storage (NAS) devices for consumers and businesses. The company was founded in 2005 and had early success with their unique “BeyondRAID” storage technology that simplified redundant storage for the average user. However, Drobo has faced challenges in recent years and their current status is uncertain.

What is Drobo?

Drobo is a NAS (network attached storage) provider that was founded in 2005 by Geoff Barrall. Their key product is the Drobo storage device, which is aimed at small businesses and consumers who want simple, expandable data storage.

Some key things to know about Drobo:

  • Drobo’s main differentiation is their “BeyondRAID” technology which abstracts away much of the complexity of traditional RAID setups. It presents expandable, redundant storage to the user without requiring them to understand RAID configurations.
  • Drobo devices support mixing and matching of different drive sizes and allow for storage expansion by just adding more drives to empty bays.
  • Data is protected against up to two simultaneous drive failures when using BeyondRAID.
  • Drobo devices have a simple dashboard interface for monitoring status and capacity.
  • In addition to standalone NAS units, Drobo has produced external direct-attached storage products.

Drobo positioned themselves as an easier to use, more flexible solution than traditional RAID for SMBs and consumers. Their products were generally well received and helped pioneer the concept of scalable network storage for non-enterprise environments.

What happened to Drobo? Are they still in business?

Drobo is still in business as of 2023, however their current status is uncertain. Here is a brief history of what happened to Drobo over the past decade:

  • Drobo was founded in 2005 and saw early success with their unique BeyondRAID technology.
  • The company took venture capital funding in 2007 and experienced rapid growth.
  • In 2009, Drobo was acquired by data storage firm Connected Data.
  • Connected Data and Drobo operated independently until 2012 when Connected Data began integrating Drobo into their product portfolio.
  • In 2014, Connected Data was acquired by NXT Capital and merged with another company, Nexsan, to form Nexsan Technologies.
  • Under Nexsan, Drobo operated as a separate division still producing NAS devices.
  • In 2015, Drobo released the Drobo 5N, their first new NAS in several years. However, reviews were mixed due to performance issues.
  • No new Drobo NAS devices have been released since 2015.

So in summary – yes, Drobo is still technically an active company owned by Nexsan Technologies. However, they have not released any new products in over 5 years. Their existing NAS devices are still sold and supported, but have mediocre reviews. The future direction of the Drobo brand under Nexsan is unclear.

Why did Drobo decline? What went wrong?

Drobo was a pioneer in simple, flexible, consumer-focused network attached storage. But their momentum slowed down and the company lost its way due to a few key factors:

  • Inability to keep pace with trends like SSD caching and support for flash storage. Competitors began offering NAS units with SSD cache and all-flash options to improve performance. Drobo trailing in adding these features to their products.
  • Management and strategy changes after acquisitions. Drobo’s vision seemed to get diluted after being acquired first by Connected Data and then Nexsan. There was less focus on their unique BeyondRAID capabilities.
  • Not keeping up with software enhancements. Drobo’s software capabilities like remote access and backup integrations lagged competitors. Issues like lack of Mac Time Machine support annoyed Apple users.
  • Hardware quality declines. Later Drobo devices had a reputation for being loud, running hot, and having reliability issues. This contradicted their early focus on simple, quality storage.
  • Increased competition. Companies like Synology and QNAP improved their interfaces over time and offered strong OS features, negating Drobo’s ease-of-use advantage.

In summary, Drobo failed to keep their product capabilities and hardware quality up to pace in a rapidly maturing consumer/SMB NAS market. Their acquisition and management changes also seemed to cause them to lose their way. They ceded market leadership to other competing brands as a result.

What is Drobo’s current status and product lineup?

Drobo’s current status is in a holding pattern under the ownership of Nexsan Technologies. Here is an overview of their current product lineup as of late 2022:

  • Drobo 5N2 – Their latest NAS storage device released in 2015. Provides up to 5 drive bays with BeyondRAID. Reviews were mediocre.
  • Drobo 5D3 – An older 5-bay NAS unit with support for optional SSD caching.
  • Drobo 5C – A legacy 5-bay NAS first launched in 2013.
  • Drobo B810n – An 8-bay NAS for larger storage needs. Over 5 years old.
  • Drobo B800FS – An 8-bay desktop direct attached storage device with Thunderbolt connectivity. Hasn’t been updated since 2014.

So in summary, all of Drobo’s products are aging 5+ year old designs. The company has not released any new storage devices since 2015. Their lineup is stale compared to faster-iterating competitors.

Drobo still provides warranty coverage, spare parts, and support for current owners of Drobo NAS products. But the future direction of the company and the Drobo brand remain uncertain under ownership of Nexsan Technologies. New product development appears to have halted.

How does Drobo’s current technology stack up vs. competitors?

Drobo’s storage technology is dated compared to current competitors like Synology, QNAP, and others. Here’s how Drobo stacks up on some key fronts:


  • Drobo devices lack modern features like SSD caching, SSD volumes, and 10Gbe network support. Performance is mediocre as a result.
  • Competitors offer SSD caching or all-flash options for much higher performance.
  • The latest Synology and QNAP NAS models outperform Drobo products significantly in benchmarks.

Capacity and Scalability

  • Drobo NAS units max out at 5 or 8 drive bays. Synology, QNAP and others offer options up to 20+ bays for enterprise use cases.
  • Drobo’s BeyondRAID is limited to a maximum of 180 TB raw capacity. Synology and competitors support much larger volumes.

Data Protection

  • Drobo offers dual drive redundancy with BeyondRAID, on par with competitors for consumer use.
  • Drobo lacks advanced business features like snapshots or replication tools that Synology provides.

Software and Features

  • Drobo’s OS features and app ecosystem lag behind alternatives. Weak areas include backups, security, virtualization, and DevOps support.
  • Competitors offer modern platforms like Synology DSM that are updated frequently with new apps and core features.

In summary, nearly all aspects of Drobo’s storage technology are outdated compared to current market-leading NAS providers. Their hardware, software, capabilities and ecosystem don’t match competitors focused on performance and enterprise features.

Should I buy a Drobo device in 2022/2023?

In most cases, we don’t recommend buying a new Drobo NAS device given the current state of the company and their outdated technology compared to alternatives.

Reasons we suggest considering other options:

  • No new models have been released by Drobo since 2015, so you’re getting very old technology.
  • Performance, capacity, and features are subpar versus current Synology/QNAP models.
  • Future OS and software updates are uncertain given Drobo’s status.
  • More robust ecosystems of apps and support from competitors.
  • Concerning lack of innovation and development from Drobo in recent years.

The only reasons you may want to still consider Drobo are:

  • You specifically want BeyondRAID’s unique flexibility for drive expansion/reduction.
  • You find a significant discount on their older NAS models.
  • You have an existing relationship with Drobo support and prefer to stick with their platform.

For most home or business users though, we think you’ll be better served investing in a modern NAS from Synology, QNAP, ASUS, or other brands focused on driving new innovations.

What are good alternatives to Drobo NAS for home or business use?

If you’re looking for alternatives to Drobo’s outdated NAS devices, here are some top options we recommend considering for home or business use:

For Home/SOHO Use:

  • Synology DS220+ – Excellent mid-range 2-bay NAS with good performance and Synology’s DSM software ecosystem.
  • QNAP TS-253D – Comparable 2-bay NAS from QNAP with SSD caching support.
  • Synology DS920+ – A good quad-bay NAS for expandable storage and Plex support.
  • QNAP TS-453D – Quad-bay NAS from QNAP with 10GbE and SSD caching options.

For SMB/Enterprise Use:

  • Synology DS1621+ – Powerful mid-range NAS with up to 16 bays for business storage.
  • QNAP TS-1677X – High performance 16-bay NAS from QNAP.
  • QNAP TS-h2490FU – Top-of-the-line ZFS-based 24-bay NAS ideal for virtualization.
  • Synology FS3600 – All-flash NVMe NAS optimized for high performance.

Key advantages these recommended alternatives have over Drobo products include:

  • Newer and more powerful hardware configurations.
  • SSD caching or all-flash options for better performance.
  • More drive bays with room to expand capacity.
  • Stronger OS features like snapshots, replication, and virtualization support.
  • Large ecosystems of first and third-party apps for added functionality.
  • More options for connectivity and enterprise integration.

While Drobo pioneered simple NAS storage originally, competitors like Synology and QNAP have since matured their offerings significantly and we recommend them over Drobo systems for most use cases today.

Will Drobo go out of business or get acquired again?

It’s unlikely Drobo completely goes away given their existing customer base and installed products in the field. However, their future direction and viability as an independent company are questionable.

Some likely possibilities for Drobo’s future ownership include:

  • Continued operation as a division of Nexsan – Nexsan seems committed to keeping Drobo alive in a limited fashion for the time being to serve existing customers.
  • Spin off or sell Drobo brand – Nexsan could decide to sell Drobo’s brand, software assets, and IP to another storage vendor who wants to revive the consumer/SMB NAS space.
  • Shut down and liquidate assets – If Drobo continues to decline, Nexsan may decide to shut the company down and sell off any valuable technology assets and IP.
  • Acquired for patents by non-storage firm – Drobo’s BeyondRAID technologies have value and could attract acquisition by a company just seeking their patent portfolio.

Given the Drobo brand retains some customer loyalty, a spin-off or sale to another vendor interested in the SMB storage space seems like the most likely path forward if Nexsan decides to unload them. But continued slow decline under Nexsan is also quite possible given their lack of strategic direction lately.


In summary, Drobo is still technically in business but their future is uncertain. The company pioneered dead simple NAS storage with their BeyondRAID technology, but was subsequently passed by in both technology and market share. Drobo has not released any new products in years, while competitors like Synology and QNAP have flourished.

Drobo’s current storage devices are outdated, with limited performance, capacity and features compared to current NAS offerings. We generally recommend that home or business users consider other alternatives like Synology or QNAP. While the Drobo brand still has some loyal followers, their lack of innovation and active development make them hard to recommend for most use cases today.

How Nexsan chooses to manage the Drobo brand going forward remains to be seen. But a spin-off or sale to another vendor seems like the most likely path, versus Nexsan continuing to operate Drobo as a stagnant division long-term while its technology becomes increasingly dated in a fast moving market.