Rise of the storage robot

Company launches world's first storage "robot" that automatically sense and configures hard drives without user intervention.

A storage company has launched a new hard drive enclosure that automatically formats new drives and moves data around them.

Billed as the world's first storage robot, the Drobo from Data Robotics can automatically detect and format up to four 3.5-inch Sata drives of any capacity. Intelligent software looks after all the data management, disk swapping, redundancy and data corruption repair.

"Drobo is the world's first storage robot, providing fully automated, infinitely expandable storage that safeguards against drive failure and data corruption," according to a statement from the company. "Drobo is self-healing; when a hard drive fails, it reconfigures data to ensure it is once again protected - all without any human intervention."

When the "robot" is connected to a PC or Mac via a USB 2.0 connection, the computer sees the unit as one drive (The appliance will automatically partition drives at 2TB). LED lights of different colours tell the user the status of each drive: green is ok, yellow indicates a drive low on space, while a red flashing light warns of disk failure. Lights at the bottom tell the user how much overall storage is left in the enclosure.

According to the website's configuration page installing four 1TB disk drives will give users 3.6TB of usable storage. The enclosure (without any hard drives) is set to retail at $699 (350).

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