When I reviewed the Drobo SOHO disk array back in November, I noted that it had only to add a few features before I got really interested: NAS, EXT3, and eSATA. I also noted that only the first of these three would interest the majority of users. Well, apparently the company had the same idea, so today they introduced the DroboShare, a NAS gateway for one or two Drobo enclosures. It’s official – Drobo rocks! If you’re building a terabyte home, I suggest you run out and buy one!
What’s so great? Like most Apple products, it doesn’t do everything it could, but it does everything you need. It’s got gigabit Ethernet and (presumably) enough CPU power to use it, putting my NSLU2 (and Linksys’ embarrassing NAS200) to shame. It has two USB ports, supporting tons of storage from a pair of Drobos. It also natively supports all major PC filesystems (NTFS, FAT32, HFS+, and yes EXT3) so you don’t have to reformat to use it.
In fact, this last is a pretty interesting feature. You can just unplug your current Drobo from your PC or Mac and plug it into the DroboShare and all your data is preserved! Talk about easy migration! Not just that, but you can later unplug the Drobo again and plug it back into a PC or Mac if you need to! Very cool, and very much the kind of intuitive plug and play operation most end users will expect.
Interestingly, Drobo decided to introduce the DroboShare at Macworld instead of CES, where it would likely have been overlooked. Good move, I say! Now they just have to get these things into the brick-and-glass Apple Stores! Louis Gray and I were able to evangelize the Palo Alto Apple Store about the merits of Drobo in about five minutes – let’s hope the company can do the same!
Let’s hope Data Robotics repeats its $50 off promo from CES (“CES2008” at drobostore.com) at Macworld! Or, better still, how about a DroboShare promo code, too! Maybe I’ll even buy one sometime…