What is Drobo data protection?

Drobo data protection refers to the solutions offered by Drobo, a company that specializes in data storage and backup devices. Drobo aims to provide simple, safe, and smart storage solutions for consumers and businesses of all sizes.

What does Drobo do?

Drobo manufactures network attached storage (NAS) devices and storage arrays that are designed to protect and secure data. Some key features of Drobo devices include:

  • BeyondRAID data protection: Drobo uses a proprietary technology called BeyondRAID that eliminates the need for traditional RAID management. BeyondRAID protects data against multiple drive failures without requiring any user configuration.
  • Data deduplication: Drobo devices can detect duplicate data and prevent redundant copies from being stored. This allows more efficient use of disk capacity.
  • Automated data tiering: Data is automatically moved between solid state drives (SSDs) and hard disk drives (HDDs) to optimize performance and lower costs.
  • Thin provisioning: Drobo only uses disk capacity as needed, avoiding over-provisioning and wasted space.
  • Self-healing: The devices monitor themselves and can repair problems automatically, reducing admin time.

Together, these features provide an easy-to-use, self-managing storage solution that protects data against loss and outages.

What types of Drobo devices are available?

Drobo offers a range of storage devices to meet different needs:

Drobo for desktops and small offices

  • Drobo: Entry-level 4-bay desktop storage device for individuals and small groups.
  • Drobo 5C: 5-bay desktop NAS with integrated drives ideal for small offices.
  • Drobo 5N2: Networked desktop NAS supporting up to 10 drives for small businesses.

Drobo for medium and large businesses

  • Drobo B810n: High capacity 8-bay rackmount NAS for midsize businesses.
  • Drobo B810i: iSCSI SAN solution with 8 bays for business-critical apps.
  • Drobo B1200i: 12-bay iSCSI SAN for high capacity storage and VMware support.

Drobo direct-attached storage

  • Drobo 5D3: Direct attached storage with Thunderbolt 3 connectivity.
  • Drobo 5D3 Professional: Supports dual-controller clustering and nondisruptive capacity expansion.

What are the key Drobo data protection technologies?

Drobo employs several proprietary technologies to protect data from loss and corruption:


BeyondRAID is Drobo’s alternative to traditional RAID that simplifies setup and management. Key features include:

  • Protects against multiple drive failures without complex RAID config.
  • Uses mathematical principles to recreate data after a failure.
  • Virtual Hot Spare feature automatically repairs problems.
  • Drives can be added or hot-swapped easily.


To extend HDD life, Drobo DriveSpinDown technology manages drive spin speeds.

  • Identifies redundant data strips and puts corresponding drives into sleep mode.
  • Spun down drives consume up to 97% less power when not in active use.
  • Drives automatically wake during read/write operations.

Smart Volumes

Smart Volumes technology adds an extra layer of data protection and flexibility.

  • Allows a volume to span multiple Drobo devices on a network.
  • Enables non-disruptive capacity expansion, hardware upgrades.
  • Simplifies data management across multiple Drobo units.

Thin Provisioning

Thin provisioning maximizes storage utilization and eliminates overprovisioning.

  • Uses disk space on an as-needed basis only.
  • Reduces acquisition costs since more capacity can be purchased later.
  • Simplifies capacity planning.

How does Drobo prevent data loss?

Drobo uses a combination of software, hardware technologies, and redundant components to provide protection against data loss scenarios:

Disk Failure

  • BeyondRAID allows hot swapping of failed drives without downtime.
  • Dual disk redundancy means the system can withstand two disk failures.
  • Automated background rebuilding of data parity.

Outages and Connectivity Loss

  • Battery backup on NAS devices maintains system operation if power is lost.
  • Storage Clustering provides high availability during network interruptions.
  • DroboAccess software allows remote, browser-based access if onsite access is not possible.

Disaster Recovery

  • Backups can be scheduled to external hard drives or cloud services.
  • Drobo snapshots facilitate point-in-time backup to protect from malware or errors.
  • DroboDR for automated disaster recovery to remote Drobo devices.

Human Errors

  • Data aware tiering identifies “hot” data and stores it on SSDs to improve performance.
  • DroboAccess allows remote administration to recover from admin errors.
  • DroboDash monitoring provides alerts for potential issues before they cause downtime.

What are the advantages of Drobo data protection?

Some of the key advantages of Drobo’s solutions include:

  • Ease of use – Drobo devices self-manage and automatically protect data without complex RAID or volume management.
  • Scalability – Capacity can be increased simply by adding more drives or devices non-disruptively.
  • Flexibility – Mixed drive types can be combined and added on-the-fly.
  • Cost savings – Thin provisioning and deduplication optimize storage utilization.
  • Reliability – Redundant components and automated self-healing maximize uptime.
  • Performance – SSD caching and tiering boost speed for critical applications.
  • Security – Encryption, access controls, and data wiping protect sensitive data.

For these reasons, Drobo is trusted by small businesses, large enterprises, and even government agencies to protect critical data.

What are some sample customer use cases?

Here are some examples of how real Drobo customers are using the devices:

Law Firm

  • Drobo B810n NAS with 64 TB capacity protects litigation documents.
  • BeyondRAID ensures no data loss if multiple drives fail.
  • Drobo snapshotting facilitates disaster recovery.
  • Self-encryption of sensitive client data meets compliance needs.

Digital Media Company

  • Animators use Drobo 5D3 direct attached storage for fast access to active projects.
  • Archived media libraries are stored on Drobo NAS devices.
  • DroboDR replicates data to an offsite NAS in case of catastrophe.

Healthcare Organization

  • Doctors access patient records stored on Drobo B1200i iSCSI SAN.
  • VMware support allows VMs to use Drobo storage via iSCSI.
  • SSD caching provides fast performance for electronic medical records.
  • HIPAA-compliant encryption protects personal data.

What are some typical steps for deploying Drobo storage?

A typical workflow for deploying Drobo data protection is:

  1. Evaluate data storage needs – Assess amount of capacity required, performance needs, growth expectations, and backup requirements.
  2. Select Drobo model – Choose the right Drobo product based on capacity, network connectivity, and form factor needs.
  3. Install device – Rackmount the Drobo if needed. Connect power and network cables.
  4. Configure initial settings – Run setup wizard to configure network IP address and administrator credentials.
  5. Install drives – Add drives to available drive bays. Combination of HDDs and SSDs can be used.
  6. Create volumes – Use the management interface to create volumes mapped to drive capacity.
  7. Map volumes to servers – Connect servers/clients to Drobo volumes using iSCSI, CIFS, NFS, etc.
  8. Set backups – Configure backup jobs to protect Drobo data.
  9. Monitor health – Use tools like DroboDash to monitor status and receive alerts.

The Drobo devices are self-managing so no RAID or complex storage configuration is necessary.

What types of drives does Drobo support?

One of the advantages of Drobo storage is flexibility in drive selection. Supported drive types include:

  • Hard disk drives (HDDs) – High capacity magnetic drives for bulk storage. All Drobo models support HDDs of various speeds and form factors.
  • Solid state drives (SSDs) – Flash memory-based drives for cache/tiering. Drobo supports mSATA, 2.5″ or 3.5″ SATA SSDs depending on model.
  • NVMe SSDs – For max performance on platforms like Drobo 5N2 and B810n. Requires NVMe adapter.
  • Hybrid drives – Combine HDD capacity with SSD caching. Some Drobos can tier hot data across HDD and SSD storage.

Mixing drive technologies allows optimizing for cost and performance. For example, using a small amount of SSD for caching while bulk data resides on cheaper high capacity HDDs.

How does Drobo work with public cloud storage?

While Drobo devices provide primary on-premise storage, many customers also use public cloud storage for backups, archiving, disaster recovery and collaboration. Drobo offers some integration features for major public cloud providers:

Microsoft Azure

  • Azure Blob storage support for cloud backups directly from Drobo devices.
  • DroboAccess allows management of Drobos from the Azure portal.
  • Azure Monitor integration provides cloud-based analytics.

Amazon AWS

  • Back up VM snapshots, S3 buckets, and other AWS data to Drobo.
  • Use AWS Snowball to migrate data to/from Drobo NAS solutions.
  • Script AWS services using Drobo’s RESTful API.

Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

  • Back up GCP VM disks using snapshot replication to Drobo.
  • Store backups of Google Drive or other services on Drobo NAS.
  • Use Drobo file synchronization to make data accessible across GCP and on-premise.

This hybrid cloud model allows organizations to get the benefits of public cloud while still maintaining full control of critical data using Drobo devices.

How does Drobo’s technology compare to competitors?

Drobo pioneered many storage technologies that competitors now try to emulate. Some key differences include:

Drobo Competitors
Data protection BeyondRAID – hardware + software redundancy, no configuration Primarily RAID, requires planning and management
Expandability Capacity can be increased on the fly, no reconfiguration needed Difficult to expand capacity for many systems
Mixed drive types HDDs, SSDs, NVMe, etc. can be combined easily Typically more limited drive support
Management Self-monitoring and repairing. Simple interface. Often requires dedicated storage admins

While competitors offer compelling features, Drobo’s storage solutions are designed from the ground up to be easy-to-use, flexible, and provide worry-free data protection.

What support and services exist for Drobo products?

Drobo offers technical support, professional services, and training to help customers get the most from their storage investment including:

  • DroboCare – Optional support packages provide 24x7x365 phone/email support and advanced replacement warranty.
  • DroboPro – Professional services for design, implementation, data migration, and onboarding.
  • Knowledge Base – Searchable library containing setup guides, user manuals, troubleshooting tips.
  • Product training – Self-paced interactive courses on Drobo administration and best practices.
  • Drobo dashboard apps – Management tools like DroboAccess and DroboDR simplify administration.
  • Free software upgrades – Existing customers get access to the latest Drobo OS enhancements.

Taking advantage of Drobo support options helps organizations optimize reliability while lightening the load on in-house IT staff.


For over 15 years, Drobo has been pioneering innovative approaches to data protection. Their BeyondRAID technology simplifies storage provisioning while still safeguarding against all types of failures. With their self-managing, self-healing devices, even small IT teams can rest assured critical data is protected and recoverable in the event of disasters or outages. If you are looking for battle-tested, easy-to-use data protection suitable for businesses of any size, Drobo’s solutions warrant strong consideration.