NAS Wars 2017: We test the Drobo 5N2 RAID


Welcome to ZDNet’s Do-it-yourself-IT job lab, where by I’m stress-screening RAID units for your entertainment and edification. In this report, we will be on the lookout at the initially of seven NAS products to see how it performs.

Let’s put this job into context. The whole goal of a RAID is that if a travel fails, you can recuperate with no info decline. In this sequence, I’m pounding on every NAS to see how (or if) it recovers.

Extra terrific job tips

Do-it-yourself-IT Challenge Manual

Up to date: If you are working on a Do-it-yourself job of your have, this thorough information to tech jobs is a great location to start.

Go through Extra

Practically all the NAS opinions out there just converse about adding storage, and the many apps that occur with the units. I have not witnessed any that stress the machines to the point of failure and again to restoration, which is the whole point of these units.

I have subjected every candidate machine to a sequence of torture exams. Further than that, I glance at effectiveness, apps, person interface, and so much far more. This job has been substantial. Really accomplishing real screening at the storage degree has been unbelievably time consuming. There was a point where by I was anxious I might by no means, at any time end. But in this article we are.

The benchmark circumstance for all seven RAIDs is Drobo. When a travel goes undesirable with a Drobo, a significant pink light turns on. It really is doable, from across the area, to see the standing of the machine at a look.

Considering the fact that 2009, I have bought 4 Drobos, three that are directly attached to my principal pc, and one Drobo 5N NAS, the predecessor to the unit we are screening right now. The ability to see the standing of my Drobos just by walking into the area has proven a must have.

In my isolated study/publish exams, the new Drobo 5N2 writes 24 p.c a lot quicker than the 5N, and reads nearly 10 p.c a lot quicker. The 5N2 also provides a next Ethernet port. The initial 5N I bought in 2014 only experienced one Ethernet port.

By distinction, all of our 2017 exam candidates now occur with two Ethernet ports. Drives are also tremendous uncomplicated to install. They you should not involve any trays, brackets, or screws. They just slide suitable in.

My effective activities detecting and recovering from reasonably exceptional travel failures with my more mature Drobos is my benchmark for this aspect of the exam, so it will come as no surprise that the 5N2 passed equally the failure discovery and notification exams with flying hues.

All the other NAS packing containers took at minimum 6 minutes to detect the undesirable travel, and one failed totally. By distinction, the Drobo 5N2 took much less than a moment to detect the undesirable travel, and flashed a large pink LED.

The Drobo has large LEDs you can see from across the area. You can also see, at a look, all round array capacity because of to the row of blue lights alongside the bottom of the unit. Drobo takes advantage of its have services for e mail notification, so you you should not need to have to combat your ISP’s SMTP forwarding procedures.

Following a alternative travel was inserted, the Drobo did an automatic rebuild of the alternative travel and reallocated storage to make it possible for growth over time. Advancement-over-time is a essential exam that not all the NAS packing containers passed. The Drobo performed flawlessly.

For RAID effectiveness and info safety, the Drobo gained a excellent 5 out of 5 stars.

It really is tricky to assess selling prices on our seven NAS packing containers because I was sent machines ranging from 2 to 8 bays. I resolved to use a cost-per-bay metric to decide how every machine compared to all the other folks.

Presented the substantial top quality match and end of the Drobo, I was astonished to discover that it experienced the cheapest cost per bay, at nearly exactly $100 every.

Other than the velocity enhance and the included Ethernet port, the new Drobo 5N2 is quite much indistinguishable from the Drobo 5N I bought from Amazon again in 2014. While Drobos are quite nicely created models, the truth that the style and design hasn’t changed much provides a trouble.

Compared with every single other NAS I analyzed, the Drobo does not offer a world-wide-web interface. You have to install an application on your machine (which must be a Mac or Windows machine — Linux users need to have not implement).

You even have to reboot your pc soon after setting up the dashboard, which I suppose helps make sense for the direct-attached Drobos but is fully avoidable to converse to a network unit.

The Drobo dashboard offers far fewer bells and whistles than the other storage arrays. For instance, you are unable to do nearly anything with shares other than make them and assign permissions. Period. The Drobo also misplaced points because it does not give a network recycle bin. If you delete a file on the Drobo NAS, it really is absent.

In terms of apps, the Drobo is in the center of pack. It has far more apps than some of our contenders, but far fewer than Synology and QNAP. Also, some of the apps are alternatively odd to use.

For instance, to use CrashPlan, you have to also install a CrashPlan controller app on another machine and hand edit its ini file to point to the Drobo. Each individual time CrashPlan updates, you have to go again in and re-edit that ini file. It really is hideous, frustrating, inconvenient, and unreliable.

As I mentioned previously, study/publish effectiveness on the 5N2 was vastly superior to the previously 5N. But compared to all the other NAS packing containers I analyzed, it was near the bottom of the pack.

So where by does that go away us? On one hand, match and end and the actual physical make is approximately excellent. On the other hand, the deficiency of a present day world-wide-web interface, the deficiency of a network recycle bin, and the reasonably low comparative effectiveness resulted in a mediocre usability and effectiveness rating of only three out of 5 stars.

That said, if you want a competitively-priced storage equipment where by all you do is slide in drives and documents are served, the Drobo is a win. All round, the Drobo gained a 4 out of 5 stars.

Which is it for right now. Continue to be tuned. We have 6 far more NAS opinions coming, as well as a wrap-up where by I will just take you driving the scenes to focus on methodology and assess all seven units facet-by-facet.

You can stick to my working day-to-working day job updates on social media. Be sure to stick to me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz, on Fb at, on Instagram at, and on YouTube at

Resource connection


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here