Storage

Drobo Dashboard makes storage provisioning easy

The Data Robotics management console has received a major facelift. Rick Vanover explains how provisioning storage for Windows servers could not be easier this new console.

If you have followed all of my ramblings on Twitter and checked out my home lab, you may have noticed that I use a Data Robotics Drobo device for iSCSI storage. The Drobo series has a number of products for direct-attached and network-attached applications. Further, the newest devices have options to provide file share capabilities directly. I find myself using the iSCSI options most, as that fits my lab requirements.

The Drobo series is targeted for small business use cases and features a number of advanced storage options for Windows server as well as other operating systems. One of the coolest aspects of the Drobo series is its dynamic RAID technology, BeyondRAID. (Read Scott Lowe's TechRepublic review of the BeyondRAID technology.)

Data Robotics has issued a major facelift to the storage administration tool with the new Drobo Dashboard. The tool is now even more easy to use, and it has a slick interface to boot. Figure A shows the main splash screen of the new Drobo Dashboard. Figure A

Click the image to enlarge.
This console improves the look and feel and makes it simpler to provision storage. Previously, the options were almost always buried in the utility's "advanced" screens. That was counter-intuitive, as the only real reason to go into the tool was to perform advanced tasks, unless of course you like making the lights on the device blink. The actual provisioning interface couldn't be more straightforward. Figure B below shows the screen to provision storage resources on the Drobo devices: Figure B

Click the image to enlarge.

My only critique is that the iSCSI devices (through the DroboPro and DroboElite series) don't support iSCSI zoning. The Drobo series of products are targeted to small to midsize organizations, and is also very popular with creative media professionals for the easy scale out capabilities as larger hard drives become available.

To see the console in action, watch this video overview of Drobo Dashboard 2.0:

Do you use the Drobo for small storage requirements, lab or business environments? If so, what do you think of the new interface? Share your thoughts in the discussion.

About

Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

3 comments
ImaginaryFriend
ImaginaryFriend

and I love it, couldn't be happier. I replaced my iOmega NAS Box when I ran out of space because... I couldn't increase the space with traditional raid technology as it would waste the extra space on large drives if I had the raid rebuild with larger drives in an attempt to increase space (e.g. 4 500gb HDD replaced with 4 1tb HDD one at a time would replicate the data, but also the partition size). However I wish they would have told me that it reset some of the settings for the Drobo Apps I have installed with the new firmware that released at the same time as the new DashBoard, I know they officially don't officially support Drobo Apps, but they still list them and should have told their consumers.

Dzmitry Z
Dzmitry Z

I looked at drobos for a long time, but in the end went with new iomega PX series. We're a small business, and for what Drobo is asking for their Pro or Elite products, there are a lot of options out there. Iomegas are not as flexible (all HDDs have to be the same size/RPMs in a pool), but they definitely are faster and had more features for the money.

oterrya
oterrya

I recently acquired a Drobo FS configured to provide me a 4.5 TB storage space double redundant, I use it for a daily backup of all of my data files and documents. Right now I implemented a Robocopy mirror backup system. Shortly, I will augment with something more sophisticated but I wanted a few weeks tofigure out the best approach. I am still using Dashboard 1.8 -- I did not know there was a 2.0 (yes I am registered). So far, I like the device a lot -- especially for its drive flexibility. When one of my drives fail, as I am sure it will someday, I can replace them all, one-at-a-time, with the then current SATA drive sizes and the box will take care of the reshuffling with out my help. I like the sound of it. I need to look at the 2.0 dashboard to see if I can get it and what it will do. . . . . T.

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