Drobo B810N Review

9.2

Drobo is one of those popular names we haven’t heard for quite some time, so it’s nice to know that they are back with a brand new storage device for us.

This company was among the first to produce and introduce redundant storage devices to everyone’s home. Initially, they focused mainly on attached configurations. After noticing the success of network-attached devices from Infrant Technologies and Anthology Solutions, Drobo included the Ethernet to their specific products.

We all know that they’ve fallen hard at times and even altered hands more than a single time. Despite the situation, Drobo is rebooting and is aiming for a simple, more durable, and robust storage system for every professional.

So today, we’ll focus on the Drobo B810N, which is a fast and large NAS device that can be expanded up to 64TB, presenting itself as one large storage pool. If you combine two SSDs, it speeds up the access to commonly utilized hot data which is convenient for all.

The Drobo B810N is perfect for networks up to a hundred users; plus, it can share and store files with ease which is excellent for those who do this often. This NAS device can function as your primary storage for all essential documents and records. Or, it can work as a place for backing up files, projects, and it can even link computers on your network.

Sounds like a device that’s necessary for your daily tasks? If so, we’ve got you covered with all the details, specifications, features, and other pertinent information about this NAS device from Drobo.

Drobo B810N Review – What’s in the Box?

The Drobo B810N that we have comes in a sturdy brown cardboard box that is durable enough to ensure the NAS’ safety. The only thing you’ll see on the package is the name of the company since they opted to go for something straightforward and minimal.

Inside, you will see the storage device and its accessories stored in separate boxes. With that, you won’t have to worry about the Drobo B810N getting damaged or scratched during transit. For added protection, the NAS is enclosed by adequate numbers of closed-cell foam to add more security to it.

Aside from the NAS, you will find a few pieces of essential literature and a sticker as well.

All in all, the items that you’ll find in the package include the following: Drobo B810N itself wrapped in a black sleeve and the accessory box. You’ll also find the safety & warranty information, a quick start guide, a power cable, two Ethernet cables, and the Drobo warranty card.

The Product

Drobo B810N Review

When it comes to its exterior, the Drobo B810N is an impressive matte-black metallic box that has a solid build and premium look. It utilizes carrier-less bays, so we were able to remove the front panel easily. This setup allowed us to easily slip our hard disks in until the device’s lever in front was able to lock these in place.

The front portion of the Drobo B810N makes use of a removable cover that keeps the noise of the disk down. Simultaneously, it provides you with system status updates via LEDs. Without the cover, you will see all the lights, together with a legend for decoding these.

The disks slide right into the system but remember that there are no drive sleds available. If all your storage comes in a 3.5-inch form factor, then you won’t have any issues. However, 2.5-inch SSDs can be a bit of a challenge. Though we did manage to install a 2.5-inch drive for trying out the auto-tier function, it’s going to be a little tricky if you’re someone with large hands. Other than that, the Drobo B810N does a reasonably great job when it comes to ease of use.

When you utilize much larger NAS devices, mounting the drives to the sleds can be tricky. It is the reason why some companies went tool-less, but Drobo has their town solution to this.

The LED array located on the right side of the system informs you how much free space is present. Its front cover sports openings on either side, allowing enough air to pass through. These vents are 90-degrees from the air path, so the covers aid in muffling unnecessary noise. The Drobo B810N is technically quiet, so you don’t have to worry about irritating noises. If you plan to place the B810N on your desk, it’s better to look for a different spot since it’s a bit too large for such.

There are four rubber feet at the bottom of the device to help lessen the transfer of vibrations to shelves or cabinets. Also, two large fans located at the back moves air across the drives, as well as on other platform components. This setup adds more redundancy, so the Drobo B810N can and will function with just a single fan if ever one of these fails.

For its connectivity at the back, we can say that this is minimal. You will see two GbE ports, as well as a place to plug the power.

Product Features

The Solution to the Issue with NAS Systems

The performance of most NAS devices goes down when multiple users are simultaneously accessing it. When user requests come at the same time, it causes the recording mechanism of hard drives to move around the disk. As a result, the drive searches for data blocks instead of reading or writing data for users. With the Drobo B810N, you no longer have to deal with this problem.

Boosted Performance with Two SSDs

The Drobo B810N delivers smooth and stable performance to all users. When you add two SSDs, you can accelerate its performance for everyone accessing the NAS simultaneously. The new technology makes use of two techniques to speed up accessing your data:

  • Data Tiering: This technology reads wor writes transactional data or small pieces of data when storing it in the SSD. Subsequent read or writes to these blocks are rapid since there are no delays by a hard drive’s magnetic head. It stores hot or active data in an SSD tier of storage. When it cools, such as when access reduces, the B810N transfers the data to the hard drive level.
  • Hot Data Cache: This technique accelerates data reads for faster access and reduced waiting time. While the B810N is reading data from hard drives, it will prefetch close data that it predicts as read.

Dual Ethernet Ports for Bonding Together or Failover

The B810N features dual Gigabit Ethernet ports which you can bond together to provide around twice the read & write performance that a single port can deliver. Also, you can use these ports to provide a connection to two various subnets. Moreover, you can use these in active or passive mode so another port can take over when one fails.

Share Files with Windows, OS X, or Linux Users

With the Drobo 810n, you don’t have to worry about compatibility since it operates with computers that utilize Windows, OS X, or Linux. This NAS device makes use of the SMB sharing files. When you configure a share for Time Machine backup, the B810N utilizes Apple’s AFP protocol. Linux users select which file sharing method to use on their system.

Automatic Safety for All 

Designed and based on the top-notch BeyondRAID technology with single and dual-drive redundancy, the Drobo B810N safeguards your data without user interaction. You can add or replace drives on-the-go to expand your storage without downtime. If you’re running out of storage space, the lights on the B810N’s front will tell you what to do. Add a drive in one of the empty slots or replace a smaller drive with a larger one.

Configured for Time Machine Backups

Multiple computers on a single network can utilize the Drobo B810N to store their Time Machine backups. Create segregated shares for utilization via Time Machine then assign these a specific maximum size. With that, users can control how much space the Time Machine utilizes, and stops it from consuming overall storage on its backup target.

Keeping your Critical Data Protected from Power Outage

Drobo prevents data loss caused by a sudden power outage to protect directory structures. With that, you can ensure that the Drobo B810N will remount on your computer. This NAS device has a self-recharging battery that provides power to the RAM. In case a power outage happens, your data will be safe until power returns since it’s on a stable internal flash-based storage. The battery lasts for the life of the product.

DroboCare

DroboCare is a simple yet powerful program that provides full protection for your Drobo B810N. Like all products from Drobo, the B810N comes with the basic 2-year Drobocare warranty, with the first 90 days that includes Advanced Support. It includes email support and standard hardware replacement, if necessary.

Specifications

The Drobo B810N makes use of 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports for its connectivity. For its drives & expansion, these can reach up to 8 SATA / SSDs, or it can also go for a total of 3 SSDs. If you’re planning to use a 2.5-inch SSD carrier, you don’t need any tools to install this. In addition to this, the Drobo B810N also has 4KN disk support.

For the compatibility with operating systems, it supports the Apple macOS 10.11 or higher, Windows 10 – 32 & 64-bit, Windows 8/8.1 32 & 64-bit, Windows Server 2012 32 & 64-bit, and Windows Server 2008 R2 32 & 64-bit.

When it comes to power & cooling of the Drobo B810N, the storage device’s internal power supply AC input is 100/240V AC, 1.8 / 0.75-A, 50 / 60Hz. It goes for 13 Watts on standby (drive off), while its typical idle system is 25 Watts (drive spin-down mode, eight drives). Its conventional busy system (4 drives) is 82 Watts.

Also, Drobo included a two-year warranty for their Drobo B810N.

Using the Drobo 810N

Setup and install of the Drobo 810N is one of the simplest experiences that we have gone through thanks so the detailed setup guide. The setup guide walks you through every step of the setup process and provides visual materials to ensure that you are doing it all correctly. We can safely say that it takes zero technical experience to be able to get up and running.

The Drobo 810N is a powerhouse of a NAS thanks to its high storage capacity, it’s hybrid storage and tiering as well as caching. This all leads to fantastic performance that is suitable for pretty much any application you can think of.

Hybrid Storage and Tiering allow the Drobo 810N to automatically tunes storage arrays for different storage patterns that are common across multiple different applications that are making use of the NAS. It does this by prioritizing data that is frequently used against data that is seldom used. In addition to this, the 810N distinguishes between streaming data and transactional data and then sends streaming data directly to the SSD allowing it to deliver the data to you in the quickest time possible.

Hot data cache allows the Drobo 810N to read data at a faster rate by pre-fetching that needs to be read. This reduces the amount of time that is required to wait for access to your data.

We noticed that we were able to work directly from the NAS for tools such as Photoshop and thanks to the way it handles data there were no issues working with large Photoshop files. The NAS was quick and responsive and we noticed no performance issues such as freezing or lag in Photoshop.

When it comes to streaming media files directly from the NAS to systems such as Plex the Drobo was able to handle it without breaking a sweat. There were zero playback issues when using direct play in Plex and browsing the media library was very quick and playback was instantaneous.

Professional photographers have a long and rich history of utilizing Drobo, and a lot of them edit their work straight from their networked storage. Here, the Drobo B810N performs excellently, and it even fares better with the auto-tiering enabled. We assume that Drobo plays off their customer base by tuning their system for this specific type of workload.

Overall, the Drobo B810N performed well, and we are giving it a thumbs-up for this.

Drobo Dashboard

Drobo provides everyone with a simple and user-friendly interface that is similar to those on phones or tablets. This software from Drobo runs in your system tray since it isn’t a browser-based GUI. Also, there are only a couple of pages to navigate to keep it easy to use.

After moving through the status pages, we found a couple of buttons to click. On the software’s first page with an image, we switched from single to double-disk redundancy. It is a single-click operation, and while it takes a couple of minutes preparing the drives, restarting, and shuffling data, the process is generally quick.

On the second screen, you’ll get to build network shared folders. Other than that, you can also map folders to your local PC with two clicks to the software, and avoid establishing shares in Windows. Technically, it is possible to map the folder via Windows without the software, but it can be a bit of a problem for users who aren’t familiar with the task.

The operating environment prepares email setups, network settings, and system update tools. However, you can opt to change these manually when necessary. It’s a good thing that Drobo integrated the help and support links into their Dashboard software. With that, you can quickly request for assistance should you encounter an issue while using the Drobo B810N.

DroboDR

The B810N’s DroboDR is a disaster recovery feature and an updated version of the Drobo Sync. It allows you to pair up two B810N units to automatically create an offsite backup of your data. It’s easy to set up, and the remote B810N keeps all user account information to make the recovery process a breeze.

It doesn’t matter if the two devices are in the same physical location or not. Even if one unit is at home and another is in the office, you can still utilize the DroboDR. It’s an excellent feature for business-class users and enterprises with satellite offices. DroboDR is user-friendly and easy to configure, like every other feature in Drobo’s software.

Add Personalized Functionality with Drobo Apps

Recently, Drobo widened its capabilities to third-party developers to provide more capabilities and features for your NAS device. The company partnered with strategic solution providers and app vendors to improve your experience with Drobo’s devices. You can take advantage of cloud backup with Elephant Drive or Crashplan, stream video and music via Plex media server, and more. DroboApps are easy to manage, and you can install these within the Drobo Dashboard.

There are more than a hundred applications available in DroboApps. You can find a wide range of choices for entertainment, media collection, network, and system utilities. Below are the following applications that you can utilize with DroboApps:

  • myDrobo: The myDrobo platform grants complete secure access from the internet to services on your Drobo. To do this, you will be entering a user-chosen mydrobo.com address, which enables you to remotely and securely access a variety of services such as DroboAccess, WordPress, and Koken.
  • DroboAccess: This is an access feature that allows you to access your files on your Drobo via browser or a mobile device. With that, you can conveniently view media files and documents, or share files & folders with other users. You can also use this together with myDrobo to give remote access outside the Drobo B810N.
  • DroboPix: This app is one of the software applications in the myDrobo suite. It simplifies the management of relevant data. It allows B810N users to effortlessly and automatically upload and organize media files such as photos and videos within your local Wi-Fi network. Like the other apps from Drobo, DroboPix is easy to use since it recognizes the network, uploads new photos and videos by default. Geolocation verifies the network which adds another layer to the security of the app.

Conclusion

The Drobo B810N is an excellent device. It has a premium look, it’s easy to use, and it delivers superior performance. Technically, regular hard drives can do the job of storing your files. However, it doesn’t have data tiering, advanced data protection, as well as other unique technologies and innovations of the Drobo B810N.

These features make it easier to centralize and secure storage resources, which is essential for businesses to make sharing applications and files with all connected clients more convenient.

If keeping your data safe and secure is your top priority, we highly recommend the Drobo B810N. It’s a reliable storage device that has all the features that will surely safeguard all of your files to make sharing easier for you.

Where to Buy

If you want to have your own Drobo B810N, you can purchase this online from the company’s US Store or the Europe Store. For more shop options, check out Drobo’s store locator.

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