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I was recently introduced to the Drobo box. If you’re not familiar with it, simply put, it’s the ultimate home backup server.
For $400, you get a BeyondRAID array that can support up to 4 simultaneous drives, and caps at 16TB. Even cooler is the ability to swap out your drives with a single push of a button. Drobo will backup your files across each drive, so if one fails, your files are still safely stored on the others.
Drobo makes it apparent how easily it integrates with Time Machine right from the start. You can set the limit to how much Time Machine will backup on your Drobo drives, and with FireWire 800, or via your network, it’s hassle free backup just like Time Capsule.
To add a little envy to the product, DroboApps features an iTunes Media extension that allows you to share your iTunes library across your network. Keep in mind it costs extra for the FireWire and Network support as it’s a separate attachment. So not only will it back up your data, but now it can stream your iTunes content to your Apple TV or computers across your network.
Drobo may offer redundancy and media sharing, but let’s look at some other viable options. Correct me if I’m wrong, but if you were to hook up a secondary drive to your Apple Time Capsule as a NAS drive, wouldn’t it be the same thing? One drive for back up, and one for sharing media across your network?
I question Drobo, only because from the people I know who have experienced it, and based on Drobo’s Amazon customer reviews, the device doesn’t seem 100 percent reliable. However their customer service record looks to make up for it.
Also considering other alternatives, such as HP’s Media Smart Server, I’m left wondering which is the most effective, but ultimately cost effective device for my home. I guess it really comes down to what matters most to you. If you’ve had experience with any or all of these devices, please share in the comments.