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My Drobo FS arrived after much anticipation.  I unboxed it and the device is a beauty with all black, solid enclosure and LED lights that give it an awesome appearance.  The reason why I purchased it was for the simplicity and data security that the device provides along with network sharing support out of the box.  Not only did I want redundant storage space, network attached storage, I also wanted it to run some basic services, such as a BitTorrent client, UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) media server including access to a shared iTunes library, FTP support, and I am awaiting the promised Oxygen Cloud service that is included with the device that allows secure remote access.  Oxygen Cloud will provide an easy interface to get to my files fast and securely over the web.

All in all, the device looks to be performing as promised although as many reviewers have noted it is not the fastest despite it’s gigabit ethernet connection and boosted specifications over the lesser Drobos.  The simplicity is not to be under-estimated.  It literally is plug and play where the hard-drives just slide right in and it goes to work.  It really is the storage robot.  My only complaint is the whine/buzz from the power transformer, but hopefully that will be resolved by a replacement from Data Robotics.

As anybody who has looked into higher-end NAS devices, they are not cheap and the Drobo FS is no different.  I was able to call up J&R and talk the sales consultant to get it to me for $618 shipped which is the cheapest anywhere was currently selling it. If anyone has hook ups, let me know.  I have 30 days to use it and return it for a full-return, but at this point I anticipate on keeping it with my growing collection of high-resolution photos from my dSLR, high-definition movies, high-bitrate encoded archived music and in general a digital lifestyle.

Although a cheaper alternative that would have added some more features is building your own or having a setup, such as a Mac Mini and Drobo attached to it would accomplish similar things.  There is something about having a device that sits on the network that just does it thing without having multiple attachments other than power and ethernet is completely appealing for its simplicity along with streamlined setup.

More information on the device can be found on the Data Robotics website:

http://www.drobo.com/products/drobo-fs.php

In the future when I have more money I would like to get something like the Synology DS1010+:

http://www.synology.com/enu/products/DS1010+/index.php

For prices around $1,000 though it is way out of my budget.

I know some may say that they can build their own for a lot cheaper, but a solution like this is dead-simple and tested.  I do not and cannot jeopardize some of these files because some are not possible to recreate.  I’ve built my own Windows Home Server and used solutions like unRAID, Openfiler, FreeNAS, but they do not provide the ease nor safe of mind for me and that alone is worth paying the slight difference.  As always, evaluate your needs, do your shopping around, and decide whether you really need it and go from there.

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