Kevin Epstein, vice president of marketing for Drobo (, says:
Every IT manager today is wrestling with three storage-related challenges: data protection, capacity planning, and application optimization.
In other words, no-one wants to lose data, no-one wants to risk running out of storage space or overspending, and no-one likes trying to calculate which applications to assign to how much of what kind of storage.

Designed for business applications like VMware, Microsoft Exchange, and backup, the Drobo SAN storage for business model B1200i addresses all three challenges in a uniquely automated, application-driven, and affordable way.

Specifically, the B1200i contains:

  • Patented BeyondRAID technology for the world’s most automated data protection. Customers can choose any mix of disk drives (SATA / SAS / SSD), from any manufacturer, of any capacities, and the B1200i ensures customers still have access to data even in the face of two simultaneous drive failures. Rebuild is fast, and access is never blocked.
  • Thin Provisioning / Reclamation, to ensure capacity planning isn’t an issue. Instead of having to purchase capacity one chassis at a time, and/or constantly reconfigure attached applications, Drobo enables customers to configure apps once to the full potential capacity of the Drobo… but add real capacity one drive at a time, or hot-swap for higher capacity drives.
  • Automated Data-Aware Tiering technology. This breakthrough innovation enables Drobo to automatically optimize performance over a mix of SATA, SAS and SSD drives within a single chassis. Performance levels adapt to your varied (and varying) workloads in real time at a block level (no knobs, no tuning, no deliberations over which apps to assign, no waiting), making it truly application-driven, not admin-driven!

Given that VMware has made iSCSI SAN the backbone of server virtualization, we’d submit that it’s crucial to have a stable, reliable, sophisticated, VMware-certified, and yet affordable iSCSI SAN solution. Prior to Drobo, a customer was faced between buying “cheap” (de-featured, non-performant, unreliable) storage, or “Traditional” (expensive, complex, challenging to manage) storage.

The B1200i provides customers with the affordability a company needs and the sophistication of an Enterprise solution, without the complexity. Drobo delivers innovative solutions to data protection, capacity, and tuning challenges, via advanced technology, in the world’s easiest and most affordable SAN product.

In fact, a cost comparison showed that to build a similar SAN solution for VMware, incorporating redundant disk arrays, thin provisioning, and tiering would cost more than 5x as much as a Drobo… and the Drobo can be completely set up in less than an hour. In short, the two most precious commodities for an IT administrator are time and cash – and the Drobo B1200i enables the best use of both. The top concern for all storage is obviously data protection — because all else is meaningless if you lose data.

That said, not all RAID is created equal — be sure you have dual-disk redundancy, as you might have more than one drive fail at the same time. Be sure you have a carrierless design, and can use any drive type, so you don’t get locked in. Be sure you can hot-swap drives, and move them between chassis in any order, so maintenance and failure recovery are fast. In short, don’t trust the marketing label of “RAID” — go see who has the most awards from independent analysts and publications, and why, and buy that.

As 175,000 total customers (and over 25,000 business customers) know, Drobo represents a unique blend of sophisticated storage technologies, affordability, and ease of use. We’ve been called “what would happen if the iPhone designers built a SAN” – and our VMware and other partnerships are one result. If you’re in a small or medium business, or department of a larger enterprise, and considering a server virtualization project, Drobo’s VMware-certified offerings may be an excellent choice for your storage.