It was inevitable, really. First comes the business-oriented DroboPro, then comes the network-savvy Drobo FS. Mash the two together, and out pops the DroboPro FS. Design wise, it's the same 3U form factor that DroboPro users will recognize, but internally, Data Robotics has bumped the CPU speed from 800MHz in the Drobo FS to 1GHz here. There are eight total bays within, and a pair of gigabit Ethernet jacks around back; by default, the second port is used to connect to a different subnet (possibly for offsite file replication), while users can opt for a protection mode during setup if they'd rather it act as a fail-safe (in case the primary port kicks the bucket). More important than all of that, though, is the new Drobo Sync feature, which will be exclusive to the DroboPro FS for at least the time being. During setup, users simply input the IP address of another DroboPro FS; once that's plugged in, they can schedule automatic offsite backups as often as each hour or as infrequently as once per day.

Here's the thing: this automatic offsite sync only works with a pair of DroboPro FS devices, so you'll need to pick up two from the start and have 'em shipped to different addresses if you're interested in taking advantage. The good news, however, is that an intelligent syncing system specifically scans for minute file changes, so if you only change two cells in a 105MB Excel chart, only a few chunks of data will have to fly over your network rather than resending and overwriting the entire 105MB file. As for pricing? Given that these are meant for small biz, it's up there -- the empty base unit goes for $1,999, while at 8TB model (2TB x 4) lists for $2,699 and a 16TB behemoth (2TB x 8) sells for $3,299. The company also has plans to sell a two-device bundle (16TB x 2 units) for $6,399, aiming this at folks who want an offsite solution from the get-go. The box itself is available today from CDW, B&H and a few other e-tailers, and even if you're not feeling spendy, you can hit that More Coverage link for a chance to win yourself a gratis Drobo FS. It's a win-win, we tell ya.
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DroboPro FS press photos and data sheet

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DATA ROBOTICS CONTINUES INNOVATION FOR SMALL BUSINESS WITH BREAKTHROUGH FILE SHARING AND OFFSITE BACKUP SOLUTION

New DroboPro FS Leverages Proven BeyondRAID Technology and Drobo Sync Backup Application to Deliver Unprecedented Ease, Affordability, and Data Safety

SANTA CLARA, CA – October 5, 2010 – Data Robotics, Inc. ("Drobo"), the company that is changing the way the world stores and protects digital content, today introduced DroboPro FS, the newest member of the Drobo family of automated storage products. Building on the success of the award-winning Drobo FS (introduced in April, 2010), the DroboPro FS with the newly integrated Drobo Sync application is tailored to enable small businesses to deploy network storage and offsite backup without complexity. DroboPro FS is ideal for any small office environment that requires a simple, safe, and affordable device for sharing and backing up files over the network.

"There is a significant need for simple, expandable storage solutions that address the relentless data growth happening within personal and small to medium business markets," said Liz Conner, Senior Research Analyst, Storage Systems and Personal Storage at IDC. "Data Robotics has had success in addressing the personal and SOHO storage market with its Drobo FS. The company is aiming to meet the increasingly rigid requirements for data availability with its DroboPro FS by enabling off-site backups while preserving its simple-to-use nature that can scale with the capacity needs of its users."

"We are reinventing storage solutions that meet the specific requirements of small business owners," said Tom Buiocchi, chief executive officer, Data Robotics. "Your typical small business needs data storage and protection, but has limited budget and technical resources. We provide the smart alternative to the overly complex and expensive solutions being offered. The DroboPro FS delivers ease of use, functionality, and affordability that many small businesses did not know could exist in a single solution."

DroboPro FS Features and Benefits

BeyondRAID Technology for The Best Storage Experience Ever: Like all Drobo products, the new DroboPro FS is based on patented BeyondRAID technology, which provides unprecedented and unmatched ease of use, affordability, self-healing data protection, and expandability.

Pay-as-you-Grow Storage Capacity – Small businesses with growing storage requirements can easily and affordably add data capacity by simply inserting a new SATA hard drive or by replacing the smallest drive with a larger one, even when all eight drive bays of the DroboPro FS are full.

Network File Sharing: The DroboPro FS connects directly to any Gigabit Ethernet network for a true plug in and share set-up experience, supporting Microsoft, Apple, and Linux computer systems.

Automated Backup: Every DroboPro FS includes the new Drobo Sync application that will automatically backup (locally or remotely) all data to another DroboPro FS. Drobo Sync is both efficient and flexible, only transmitting portions of files that have changed and allowing backups to be conveniently scheduled.

Redundant Network Connections for High Availability: DroboPro FS provides two Gigabit Ethernet ports with network protection mode to ensure the highest data availability over the network.

Automated and Continuous Thin Provisioning: Unlike any competitive storage system in the market, the new DroboPro FS provides automated and perpetual thin provisioning to customers, allowing users to further stretch their storage investment and utilization.

"Our SMB customers are looking for a cost-effective storage product like the DroboPro FS that combines key features including instant expansion, self-healing technology, and offsite backup and recovery. Data Robotics clearly understands the needs of SMBs and we're excited to be the preferred launch partner for the DroboPro FS".

Pricing and Availability

DroboPro FS is currently available from select partners worldwide, including preferred launch partner CDW (www.cdw.com) at a starting price of $1,999 MSRP and multiple configurations to $3,299 MSRP for a 16TB bundle. For a complete list of partners, please visit www.drobo.com/where_to_buy.

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