NAS systems, and in this case a SAN, utilize a combination of hardware and software to deliver a storage solution. Very little happens when the hardware doesn't provide enough power for the software, and vice versa. We haven't held back in our coverage of the Drobo devices we've tested over the last two years. The software is excellent and works as intended, but the hardware is under powered by today's standards, and that won't change with a firmware update.
|Category||Drobo B810i Feature|
|Operating System||Linux 3.2|
|BeyondRAID Features||Thin ProvisioningInstant ExpansionMixed Drive Size UtilizationBackground Data Integrity ScrubbingSingle or Dual RedundancyVirtual Hot SpareData AwareDrive Re-Ordering|
|Operating System Support||Mac OSX 10.9+Windows 10 32 and 64bitWindows 8/8.1 32 and 64bitWindows 7 32 and 64bit Windows Server 2012 32 and 64bitWindows Server 2008 R2 32 and 64bit|
|File System Support||Mac OSX HFS+Windows NTFTVMware VMFS|
|Network Protocol||iSCSICHAP AuthenticationMPIO Support|
|Ethernet Features||Jumbo Frames (up to 9000 bytes MTU)|
|Additional Features||Hybrid StorageAutomated Data-Aware TieringAutomated Hot Data cacheDrive Spin Down|
For most systems, we test the software management that comes with the NAS. Users need to log into the system and run a GUI. Drobo products like the B810i use a software utility that runs on both Windows and Mac OS X. The application controls system management, including the iSCSI SAN configuration.
The "Zero-Click iSCSI Configuration" is much simpler than the Windows setup process. The downside is you need to run the Drobo application on each connected system. If your task is to configure a backup for each desktop in your office, you will find the process redundant and may prefer just to use the Windows setup process to reduce configuration time. The Drobo software has to scan the network, and that adds time to each configuration.
Still, the Drobo process is the easiest way we've found to configure iSCSI in Windows. When the system arrived, I'd never setup an iSCSI connection on a Mac. I couldn't even tell you where to start. A friend came over with a MacBook Pro, and I used the Drobo software to setup a connection and build a volume in less than five minutes. I felt like a Mac pro! That's the system's value proposition.
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