Drobo B810n review

Drobo handles all RAID protection and recovery so you don’t have to

Price
£1,220
  • Remarkably simple deployment; Clever BeyondRAID technology; Quiet and well-built
  • Expensive; Low-end CPU; Limited features; NAS support only

Performance

Mapping a share to an HPE ProLiant DL380 Gen9 Windows rack server saw good speeds over a single Gigabit connection, with Iometer reporting fast sequential read and write rates of 113MB/sec and 112MB/sec. These translated to equally good real world speeds, with our 25GB drag and drop file copy returning read and write averages of 112.7MB/sec and 111.3MB/sec.

The B810n makes a great backup target as securing a 22.4GB test folder with 10,500 small files averaged a tidy 80MB/sec. The dual Gigabit ports can be used separately or bonded together but we found performance could not be improved much beyond our initial single port tests.

With two servers each mapped to their own shares over dedicated Gigabit ports, we saw cumulative Iometer read and write speeds of only 116MB/sec and 114MB/sec. With the ports bonded together, we ran the same test on both servers and saw no improvement in throughput.

Recovery

To test BeyondRAID's recovery processes, we pulled the 2TB drive from the appliance while it was being used. The Dashboard advised us not to remove any more drives and then recovered the array by rearranging data on the remaining drives.

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Redundancy was restored in only 11 minutes and during this time we had Iometer testing sequential read performance. Prior to removing the drive it reported 113MB/sec and during array recovery, this only dropped to 108MB/sec.

We then swapped from single-drive to dual-drive redundancy, which took just over an hour to complete and reduced usable capacity from 31.5TB down to 21.9TB. Our Iometer test was never interrupted during this process and reported similar speeds as seen during the earlier array recovery test.

Verdict

Our biggest issue with the B810n is its price, as similar 8-bay desktop appliances from Qnap and Synology are a lot cheaper and beat it for features and performance. They're also a better choice if you want combined NAS and IP SAN services, 10-Gigabit upgrade options and a more versatile range of on-board apps.

The B810n scores higher though, for its remarkable ease of use and simplified drive and data protection features. Non-technical users will find Drobo's BeyondRAID the perfect panacea to their RAID-related worries and for that, the B810n can't be faulted.

Verdict

Drobo’s user-friendly B810n makes light work of RAID configuration and provides extremely fast recovery procedures but development has been slow and it’s still a costly NAS option

Chassis: Desktop chassisCPU: 1.2GHz quad-core Marvell XP MV78460Memory: 2GB DDR3Storage: 8 x LFF SATA drive baysRAID: Drobo BeyondRAIDNetwork: 2 x GigabitManagement: Drobo DashboardWarranty: 2yrs RTBOptions: DroboCare, £399 per year

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