Drobo S and Drobo Elite pricing revealed as Data Robotics takes on Iomega, NetApp and Dell

Data Robotics' two new Drobo models will shortly go on sale in Australia. We reveal the prices in this piece, plus Drobo's plans to take on EMC, NetApp and Dell for low-end storage.

Data Robotics' new Drobo S and Drobo Elite will sell for $1195 and $4995 respectively in Australia, with shipments of the new device expected to reach our shores soon.

The two new products, released by Data Robotics in November, are targeted at "small businesses or large businesses with small offices," according to Philippe Cazaubon, Data Robotics' Senior Director for APAC Sales.

The new Drobo Elite certainly seems capable of serving the latter group, as it is an ISCI SAN with eight drive bays, a capacity of 16 terabytes, dual iSCSI ports and thin provisioning. Data Robotics is also pitching the Elite as suitable for video editing, as its transfer rates are sufficient to satisfy users of such applications.

Cazaubon therefore expects the Drobo elite to take business from enterprise storage vendors' bottom-end products, as its price means it competes with the cheapest arrays from the likes of EMC and its Iomega subsidiary, NetApp and Dell. Data Robotics' strategy is to design devices that can be operated without any technical training, and Cazaubon therefore believes Drobo can become a viable remote office NAS as local users can operate the machine without the need for regular attention from head office, a plan given credence by the inclusion of enterprise-class features like VMware integration that make it easier to integrate a Drobo into an enterprise storage regime.

The Drobo S is aimed at smaller businesses, boasts five drive bays, 10 terbayte capacity, a single eSATA port plus FireWire and USB connections.

Robert Gatto, Managing Director of Kayell, one of Data Robotics' two Australian distributors, told SearchStorage ANZ that Drobos are currently selling strongly in Australia, with students and creative professionals among the early adopters. The latter group, he said, generally relies on external disk drives for backup and are largely unaware of RAID and other more advanced data protection methods. Drobo devices provide RAID-like protection without requiring users to understand any storage management concepts or confront a technical interface and Gatto said the very concept of RAID is immediately powerful.

"Photographers know they can recover a crashed disk but do not understand they will receive a list of files they have to re-name and reclassify," he said. Simple RAID devices like the Drobo, he believes, therefore have a fertile market in Australia.

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