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.