Despite the many advantages of cloud storage, there are certain situations where a small business, or other professional with large storage capacity needs, will require onsite storage that is fast and reliable. There are many onsite storage solutions to choose from, but few can match the simplicity and compactness of the single box networked attached storage (NAS) device.

Drobo 5N2

The latest device from Drobo designed to be used in the home and small to midsize business (SMB) office is the 5N2. The Drobo 5N2 can accommodate up to five standard mechanical or solid state (SSD) hard drives. To keep things simple, you can mix and match the drives without worrying about capacity or type.

The Drobo 5N2 can also take advantage of a mSATA solid state drive, which is placed in the Drobo Accelerator Bay. The mSATA drive will increase reading and transfer performance, especially if you take advantage of the two Gigabit Ethernet ports operating in bonded mode.

The Drobo 5N2 employs proprietary technology called BeyondRAID, which allows the device to provide typical enterprise features like hot-swapping drives, single or dual disk redundancies, and instant expansion. The device also allows for secure remote access and lets you configure your own private cloud.

SEE: Increase capacity the easy way with the Drobo B800i


Although about the size of the proverbial breadbox, the Drobo 5N2 has many sophisticated features once reserved for expensive enterprise devices.

Feature Description
  • Width: 5.9 in (150.3 mm)
  • Height: 7.3 in (185.4 mm)
  • Depth: 10.3 in (262.3 mm)
  • Weight: 8.5 lb (3.9 kg) without hard drives
  • 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Connection failover and adaptive link bonding
  • Jumbo frames (up to 9,000 bytes MTU)
Hard Drives
  • Up to five (5) 3.5″ SATA II/III hard disk drives or solid state drives
  • One (1) mSATA solid state drive in the Drobo Accelerator Bay for increased performance
  • Drives of any manufacturer, capacity, spindle speed, and/or cache can be used. No carriers or tools required.
  • Expandable by adding drives or hot-swapping drives with larger ones
Supported Operating Systems
  • Apple MacOS X 10.10 and higher
  • Microsoft Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7
BeyondRAID features
  • Thin provisioning
  • Instant expansion
  • Mixed drive size utilization
  • Automatic protection levels
  • Single or dual disk redundancy
  • Virtual hot spare
  • Data aware
  • Drive re-ordering
  • 64TB filesystem support

Specifications provided by Drobo.

Where to get it

The Drobo 5N2 went on sale March 21, 2017, with an MSRP of $499.00. You can order the device directly from the Drobo Store or you can shop around other retailers like Amazon and Newegg. If you search the Drobo 5N2 on Amazon for example, you can purchase the device pre-stocked with hard drives in various configurations.

SEE: Video: Network attached storage … in less than two minutes

Filling a niche

If you are a professional analyzing or manipulating databases, developing multimedia content, or otherwise working with large files, it may be in your best interest to have onsite storage capacity of significant size. Likewise, many small businesses may need more than just a cloud storage solution. The simple, yet sophisticated feature set of the Drobo 5N2 may be able to fill that specific niche. It is easy to set up, not too expensive, and it just may be the best way to add storage capacity to your network.

Also read…

Your thoughts

Could you use some extra storage capacity on your network? Share your thoughts and opinions with your peers at TechRepublic in the discussion thread below.