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11/23/2009
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Fredric Paul
Fredric Paul
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Storage, Storage, Storage: New Storage Devices In 3 Sizes

Data storage choices for SMBs just keep on coming as Data Robotics and Synology debut new storage solutions for prosumers, small businesses, and the midmarket.

Data storage choices for SMBs just keep on coming as Data Robotics and Synology debut new storage solutions for prosumers, small businesses, and the midmarket.Don't Miss: NEW! Storage How-To Center

Data Robotics today announced The DroboS and DroboElite for small business professionals and the midmarket, respectively.

The DroboElite is an 8-drive SAN (storage attached networking) unit that represents a move up in weight class for Data Robotics. It's aimed at SMBs with 250 to 500 employees and three to five servers.

According to Data Robotics senior director of marketing Jim Sherhart, these companies typically have 1-2 IT staffers, who may or may not be storage experts. The DroboElite, he said, is designed to make it easy to provision storage and backup without having to make difficult up-front choices -- but does allow storage experts to configure it as they like.

Unlike the existing DroboPro, the multi-host DroboElite can support up to 255 virtual storage volumes across multiple servers. Data Robotics' proprietary BeyondRAID virtualized storage platform lets you mix andmatch capacities, drive brands and speeds. And the DroboElite boasts a faster Marvell processor and dual-iSCSI interfaces to boost performance 150% compared to the company's earlier models.

Data Robotics CEO Geoff Barrall calls the DroboElite "the simplest iSCSI SAN experience available today." One reason is something called LUN Affinity. LUN (logical unit number) Affinity lets users see which LUNs are being used by which host, making it easier to avoid configuration error, and allowing users to configure the unit by simply clicking checkboxes. If IT guys "don't have to learn new skills everyday to to their job," Barral says, "that's a good thing."

The DroboElite does not replace the existing DroboPro (aimed at smaller offices with fewer than 100 offices and a single server), instead extending the line to larger businesses. Available through channel partners, pricing begins at $3,499, with a 16 TB (8 x 2 TB) configuration priced at $5,899.

DroboElite2 Front and rear views of the 8-bay DroboElite.

The new DroboS, meanwhile, adds a fifth bay and eSATA to the existing Drobo's FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 connections. Like that unit, it connects to Windows, Mac, and Linux systems and supports NTFS, HFS+, EXT3, and FAT32 file formats.

DroboS features a one-click toggle between single- and dual-drive redundancy. Drobo S supports on-the-fly drive additions and replacements , including adding drives of different sizes. Available only through the channel, the Drobo S starts at $799 and ranges up to $1,799 for a box pre-configured with five 2 TB drives. It too is an addition to the line, and does not replace the existing Drobo unit.

And last week at Interop New York, Synology America introduced the DS410j for busy home networks and entry-level businesses. The DS410j is a multi-drive NAS (network-attached storage) device available "diskless" or with two or four 1 TB drives pre-installed. The unit is designed to let users start with one or two drives and add more as their storage needs grow.

Like other Synology Disk Stations, the DS410j includes Disk Station Manager 2.2 software with automated backup features, remote file sharing, and multi-media streaming. Pricing starts at around $435 diskless, with pre-configured options holding two or four 1 TB drives. Heather Morford, Synology's director of North America marketing and PR, says the company plans to release a 2-bay version of the DS410j in a few weeks that will cost even less.

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