A few weeks ago I had something happen that I didn’t think nor expect would ever happen. One of my hard drives failed, deleting my last couple of years of personal data. I know what you are thinking, why didn’t you have a RAID setup? You see, once upon a time I used to have a Windows 2003 server setup as a file server complete with RAID 5. However, over the past few years I had not used it to its fully capacity like I had been. It had become a simple file server for me as technology improved and my system slowed. Because this server was so large and bulky, I wanted to get something smaller and easily upgrade-able. Also, the RAID system required the same drive sizes. Since I built up my server seven years ago, it seems that drive storage capacity increases by the week! I had my server installed with seven 750 GB drives. Today, the average consumer can buy 4 TB drives for the same price. It was too costly to keep up an outdated system with these space/storage and price differences.
The Drobo 5D
When I was researching a solution to my storage issues, I came across the Drobo 5D. This is the system that I ended up purchasing. There are a couple big selling points for me on this device. Firstly, I can use any drive interchangeably regardless of size or brand. This solved my issue with storage size upgrades and cost savings. Secondly, the Drobo is equipped with USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt ports which allows for quick and efficient access and processing of data. Lastly, it supports SATA III which generates more speed compared to the SATA II on my old RAID 5 setup.
Presently, I am using the Drobo on my Windows 8.1 system. With Windows, I’m running USB 3.0 to the device. If I was on a new Apple Mac Pro, I could easily be running via Thunderbolt which would even allow me to daisy chain multiple Drobo 5D’s together. Below you can find a video that I made about installing, setting up, and running my new Drobo 5D. Instead of utilizing the system as purely a backup or supplemental storage unit, I am using the Drobo 5D as my primary data bank. I’m storing all of my data on it except my programs (Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, etc) and OS (Windows 8.1). The only thing remaining on my computer is the SSD (Solid State Drive) along with the OS and programs, while all of my data lives on the Drobo 5D. One of the cool features of the Drobo 5D is that an mSATA port connection is available on the bottom of the device that can be used to keep cached files. If you use the mSATA drive in conjunction with other faster speed hard drives, you can have a pretty quick processing storage system in your hands. When I first began installing drives into my new Drobo 5D, I was using random drives found around the house. I combined a Black Caviar 640 GB, 500GB, and a Seagate 120 GB. I am now upgrading my setup to larger drives and you can find a list of the products I’m using to build up my system below.