Drobo unveils biggest Drobo yet for business

eChannelLine Aug 22, 2011 Back to press

This week, Drobo is releasing its latest SMB solution, the Drobo B1200i, a 12 bay offering which becomes the company's biggest and most powerful top of the line entry. The B1200i, which was announced back in February for delivery later this year, now becomes the companys new flagship product.

Drobo -- the company has finally officially changed its name from Data Robotics, because the product, not the company had the brand recognition -- is steadily deepening its presence in the SMB space.

"When we started, our product was 100% prosumer," said Kevin Epstein, VP of Marketing at Drobo. "Now it's 50-50 between prosumer and SMB. We have over 25,000 businesses, and that goes up 2,500 a quarter."

The new 12-bay Drobo is intended to accelerate that shift. Drobo is marketing it as uniquely automated, application-driven, and affordable, with new automated data-aware tiering, which the company calls a major technology breakthrough, leading the way. That tiering solves performance tuning issues that have traditionally taken storage administrators weeks or months to address.

"You can now throw in SATA or SAS or SSD or any mix of them, and it will automatically tune in real time against your block applications," Epstein said. The Drobo B1200i also allows customers to incrementally add SSD drives in the same box and in the same storage pool as conventional disk drives to accelerate the most demanding operations. This is done automatically, based on application workload and on I/O at a block level, and requires no testing or tuning.

"This makes this a fantastic comprehensive solution for an SMB," Epstein said.

While the Drobo B1200i has datacenter features with the tiering and provisioning, its target market remains the same as their previous business models -- the 50-250 person company.

"This is not a solution for the data center, but instead for the company that uses a storage closet," Epstein said.

The company also sees the price as a winner. Epstein said the street price will be under $10,000 for 12 TB of SAS storage

"To build a similarly capable traditional storage system with RAID, Tiering, and Thin Provisioning would cost around $55,000," he said. Adding SSD drives to the Drobo would still put in under $20,000, he added, which would make it even a better value when the cost of those drives are added to competitive products.

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