Specifications, Pricing, And Warranty
The 5N is one of Drobo's most popular network-attached storage products. Drobo designed the 5N to bridge the gap between performance and affordability while keeping a small footprint that is ideal for desk placement. Advanced features keep the 5N from being an entry-level appliance, but it is a great system for beginners due to its focus on ease of use.
Since our review of the Drobo B810n 8-bay NAS appliance, the company stepped back to assess where it could make improvements to its products as a whole. Drobo expanded the software package that affects many of the company's network-attached products. In 2016, we've seen upgrades to the hardware, feature set, and software. Drobo is currently working on making well-rounded products and not resting on its laser-like focus on ease of use.
Even with the new features, Drobo network-attached products are still the easiest NAS to configure and get working in your home or office. The system doesn't present many choices for you during the initial set up because the hardware eliminates the need to truly understand the software. Once you put drives in the system, the hardware takes over and builds a default configuration that most people would use. The base configuration with BeyondRAID technology is very good right out of the box. It doesn't matter if your drives match, if you fill the entire system or even use just a single drive. What you get is what you want 95 percent of the time, and without any user interaction. The premise is simple; here is your storage volume, do with it what you will.
The Drobo 5N uses a low-power four-core Marvell Armada XP system-on-chip (SoC) processor. The processor is accompanied by 2 gigabytes of Sk Hynix DDR3 system memory. The Linux-based operating system rests on a NAND flash-based DOM from Apacer, so the files running the system do not reside on your storage array.
IO is limited to a single gigabit Ethernet port on the back of the system. The only other port is for the external power supply that feeds the system. The 5N features an internal battery that will flush any cached data to your storage system in the event of a power failure event.
There are five 3.5" tray-less drive bays that accept your drives without a carrier or any other mounting apparatus, like screws. The drives just slide in, and a tab on the appliance keeps them in place. A removable cover on the bottom of the system hides an mSATA port where users can install a solid-state drive for high-speed IO caching via Drobo's Data Aware Tiering. Your workload will determine the drive's effectiveness, as it doesn't cache all workloads at the same rate.
We found the Drobo 5N available at a number of popular online retailers for $489.99. The Drobo Store lists the 5N diskless model for $549 but allows users to configure the system with preinstalled disks. The store offers options that range from 2TB to 20TB in five different capacities.
The Drobo 5N ships in the United States with a limited 1-year warranty. That doubles to 2 years in the European Union. Users also gain 24/7 telephone support for the first 90 days of ownership. You can purchase an additional warranty through DroboCare in one year ($129) and three-year ($279) increments.