This is a “Paid” review meaning that I received the product for free in return for the review. As with all reviews I make sure to point out any failures with the product while highlighting the benefits so that you receive my honest opinion. In most cases, I do not provide a review for a product that doesn’t meet my standards so the equipment is what I like, and use, is what I review.
My photography business faced concerns with storing and backing up the growing amount of data I generate. Using piles of individual hard drives to archive my work was laborious, difficult to organize and made it near impossible to locate specific files. In the end, my local HD was full, which slowed my system down and I knew in the back of my mind that my image collection wasn’t safe. If all my files were lost it would be devastating.
I heard and read positive feedback about Drobo through friends and a popular podcast, This Week in Photography. I checked out online reviews and compared Drobo with other systems but in the end, I always came back to Drobo. After using the 5N for almost 5 years no I can honestly say It does what I need, it’s easy to use and looks really nice on my desk. Affordability is usually a concern for most people so after researching the cost-analysis of individual drives compared to the Drobo solution I realized Drobo would actually save me money by providing expand-ability. If I need more space I just add another HD, when I fill the slots in the bay I just get a bigger HD… In the end, there is no perfect solution, it's going to cost money so having a system that grows as I do seems the best way to go.
I feel secure because I know the Drobo protects my data from hard drive failures, ensuring my files are safe. Drobo also provides a simple solution for organizing and storing the data. By showing up as one drive on my computer I can organise everything into folders just as if it was stored locally on my desktop.
My friend Francois and I have collaborated on many projects, Francois has the Drobo 5N NAS and with it we are able to archive projects, easily access data throughout a network connection and expand without complications. In addition, we are able to access, upload and share files with each other remotely using the secure and encrypted app, “DroboAccess”. Using Thunderbolt and an mSATA card in the Accelerator Bay, 5D provides amazing performance. The Accelerator Bay improves the cache speed when opening recently viewed projects. Basically, It’s a breeze to share large volumes of data, such as time-lapse sequences, with a friend
I use a Nikon D800 and the files are quite big, when I shoot a star trail I can create up to 1300 images in one night and need GB’s of storage for 1 night of shooting. Because of this type of work my storage needs grow weekly, it makes me happy knowing that I can just drop in a larger size HD if I start to get close to my capacity. The Drobo will integrate the new drive and back up my files automatically, it's quite simple. I'm not the techiest person when it comes to HD’s but I found the Drobo pretty easy to use, the desktop interface is simple and effective
I do a fair bit of corporate work and the occasional wedding, the responsibility I have of protecting people’s images is something I take seriously. When I load the images onto my computer after a wedding I back them up straight away onto my Drobo and there's always a moment of relief knowing they are safe. In saying all this there is still a disclaimer to say that no system I know of is completely safe. If its digital then it can be lost but that’s the same with anything in life so I guess you need to make a decision based on the knowledge that no matter what you do there is no fail safe, instead choose the best solution for your needs with the highest level of security you can achieve.
The Drobo I have has worked seamlessly for years and I highly recommend them. They have upgraded a little since I first started but the new models aren’t all that much different which makes me feel like they have a good product that actually works well. Drobo designs storage systems which are easy to set up, highly flexible and highly expandable with reasonable performance. You can get systems which are faster, but you can’t find a system which is easier to set up or use.
You shouldn't buy a Drobo solely for performance – though its performance isn’t bad; instead, you buy it for ease of setup, ease of operation, flexibility in accommodating drives of different sizes allowing you to add drives at any time without sacrificing data or performance, and its reliability for sitting quietly in a corner, keeping all your files backed up and safe.
Check the 5D & 5DT here: