Drobo- A First-Hand Experience from a Satisfied Drobo User

Drobo provides a first hand experience from Joshua Ochs’ post in the Drobo Forum, explaining why he decided to stay with his Drobo 5N rather than switch to Synology. A few editorial comments have been added for clarity.


The Synology DS1512+ has arrived; I’m just finishing up a backup of the Drobo 5N before trying it out. I’m going to try to tweak the DroboApps.sh install script to make absolutely sure it will still load my apps from a “5N” diskpack.

So Josh had been using a Drobo 5N, but wanted to try a Synology. He goes on to praise the Synology equipment.

The physical design of the Synology is quite interesting. It’s not as elegant as the Drobo (I don’t miss drive caddies one bit), but it sure has the ports and features. Half a dozen USB ports to direct connect hard drives (would make backup a LOT easier), 2 eSATA ports for expansion, and 2 Ethernet ports for link aggregation and better speed. And no worrying about apps. Ever. At the same time, the 5N is simple, quiet, and the SSD cache is very intriguing.

Drobo Experience

What Josh finds intriguing is the solid state disk (SSD) cache of the Drobo 5N. He has also noticed the effort that went into designing a simple, quiet, and elegant machine.

Sorry to disappoint, but I won’t be able to post Synology experiences. I’ve decided to keep the 5N and return the Synology. Several reasons:

° The performance of the Drobo 5N has been excellent, and has never been the bottleneck. Any additional performance from the Synology ends up purely theoretical.

° The SSD accelerator for the Drobo 5N should help with I/O contention, which is a common issue I face. Synology doesn’t have anything similar.

° I already have a Mac Mini as a 24×7 server, so the numerous features on the Synology for this (web server, file downloads, media streaming) just don’t apply to me. Others will love those features; they just aren’t for me.

°I have no interest in anything other than a flexible and expandable RAID, so all the non-SHR RAID options are kind of moot.

° With DroboApps confirmed to work on my unit (and improved support coming later in the year) the Synology loses its edge there.

° If I were to “borrow” the disks from the 5N to use the Synology, when I put them back in the 5N I’d have to format them as a new diskpack – and then I won’t be able to re-enable apps.

° The Synology is a very interesting product, and a lot of people will find value in it. It just happens that it doesn’t overlap with my usage scenario that well, but the Drobo does.

We want to thank Josh for sharing his analysis with us at Drobo. Josh found a Drobo was the best solution in his case, and we believe you will, too. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google+.

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