The Data Robotics Drobo B800i is an 8-bay, iSCSI SAN storage device that's designed for small and medium business environments. TechRepublic's Mark Kaelin reviewed the B800i back in June, and I couldn't wait to crack it open.
As of this writing, the B800i costs $3,500 (US) without drives. The unit weighs just over 16 lbs. (without drives) and measures 12.17" (W) x 5.46" (H) x 14.10" (D).
The B800i has eight bays, which support 3.5" SATA I / SATA II drives. It can handle up to 24TB of raw storage, and Drobo's BeyondRAID technology lets you combine drives of different capacities. It has two 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet ports and a USB 2.0 port for management.
The B800i was a snap to crack open, and working on it was similar to working on a standard desktop or tower computer. But the proprietary internal hardware, such as the motherboard and drive interface board, make Data Robotics the primary source for replacement parts. Provided you can get the hardware, IT pros with previous hardware repair experience should be able to work on this box.
Cracking Open observations
- Easy-to-open case: After cracking open tablets for the past few weeks, I was glad to dissect something a bit bigger. After removing the external case screws, the B800i's outer cover slid right off.
- Standard screws: Data Robotics used standard Phillips screws both inside and outside the B800i. You won't need special tools to work on this box.
- Parts are easy to replace (if you can get them): As previously noted, the many of the components inside the B800i are proprietary, specifically the motherboard and driver interface card. Although repairing the unit shouldn't be a challenge for IT pros with basic hardware repair skills, you'll need to get replacement parts directly from Data Robotics.
Our Drobo B800i test unit had the following hardware components:
- FSP Group Model FSP180-1H01 power supply
- 2.0TB Western Digital WD2033FYYS SATA HDD (x6)
- National Semiconductor VM09AB 95234C1
- NXP PCA9555 16-bit I2C-bus and SMBus I/O port with interrupt
- ADDA AD0912UB-A70GL DC Brushless cooling fans (x2)
- 3.7V, 7500mAh Li-ion battery pack
- Marvell MV78200-A1 SoC (800 MHz and 1 GHZ operating speed)
- Hynix H5PS1G63EFR 1Gb DDR2 SDRAM (x4 - 512MB)
- Fairchild AA44AL FDD 8870
- ICS 0737971Y 1051 557G-05ALF
- Marvell 88E1121R-TFE1 F1P1481.2 0951 A0P TW
- Texas Instruments M430F2132 09K G4 CJN3B
- NXP LVC244A 2222806 SXG040G
- Marvell 88SX7041-BDU1 Q3A9791.1 1049 B0E TW
- Spansion S29GL512P11TFI01 048FF188 A
- Texas Instruments 07DN74K G4 ALVCH162260
- CR2032 system battery
Bill Detwiler has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. He was most recently Managing Editor for TechRepublic Pro. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the social research and energy industries. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Louisville, where he has also lectured on computer crime and crime prevention.