Today Drobo has unveiled two new products that feature both dual Thunderbolt ports and USB3 making them equally enticing for both Mac and PC users. Thunderbolt storage arrays have been a bit thin on the ground since its launch but everyone has had their eye on Drobo waiting to see what they were working on. It wasn’t a case of if but when and that when is today.
Drobo have unveiled two new models, the 5D and the 5D mini. At first glance the 5D will look familiar, sharing a design with the previous eSata version of the Drobo, apart from an extra SSD slot in the base. The 5D mini is an all new design though and I think this is going to grab all the headlines. It’s only 7″ x 7″ x 2″ but it will take 4 x 2.5″ drives (HDD or SSD) and also features a 5th slot in the base for a further low profile SSD. Designed for portability, the 5D mini has a rubberized ‘rugged’ exterior and also has an option carry case. This is big storage on the go.
Both 5D and 5D mini ship with custom 1m thunderbolt cables (thank god!) and we will hear more about shipping dates in July.
As I sit here writing this I’m away on a long photo trip myself. For this trip I totally underestimated how much storage space I would need and that meant that yesterday I ended up in the local computer store buying an ’emergency’ 1TB drive. Wish I’d had one of these Minis with me really. I like the fact that they have designed this for the pro on the go, it makes sense as few photographers or videographers create in the own back yard.
Thankfully both products have dual Thunderbolt ports. There have been FAR too many Thunderbolt enabled products launched with just one port. All of them saying it will have to be at ‘the end of the chain’ which totally defeats half the purpose. Drobo have done it right though, so you can still plug in two separate drive into one port on the computer. This is important because most pros will want to split another backup up and travel with it in a second location. I don’t like to travel with all my eggs in my laptop bag even if that is a redundant solution within itself. Putting a further copy in your checked baggage is a good idea.
Drobo 5D will start under $850
Drobo 5D Mini will start under $650
These prices will of course NOT include drives so don’t forget to factor that into your calculations. Both will take either HDD or SSD.