Drobo announces Thunderbolt-enabled storage devices

Drobo has been manufacturing easy-to-use BeyondRAID arrays for quite a few years, but one common complaint of users has been that the devices have been relatively slow in comparison with traditional arrays. Today the company is introducing the US$799 (empty) Drobo 5D with Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 ports to provide performance-hungry users with fast, reliable and expandable storage.

The new Drobo isn't available for purchase yet, but the company is letting potential buyers add their names to a notification list. The 5D has five drive bays and some new features that should keep users excited. First, the drive has dual Thunderbolt ports so that it can be daisy-chained with up to five other Drobo 5D arrays -- that's up to 96 TB of storage.

The new device also has a Drobo Accelerator Bay that allows the user to add an optional mSATA SSD to accelerate the performance of the storage array. Of course, each drive bay in the device can also be filled with SSDs for maximum performance.

Drobo has also built in a new battery that protects data on the way to the drive. In case of a power failure, the battery allows the data to be written to non-volatile storage where it's safe until the power is back on. The company has also added a tuned variable-speed cooling fan to make the Drobo 5D quieter than previous models.

Drobo announces Thunderboltenabled storage devices

The company also announced the new $599 (empty) Drobo Mini, which takes up to four 2.5" drives. This new device makes carrying up to 3 TB of protected storage a snap, perfect for road warriors with a need for storage. The Drobo Mini also uses Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 ports, and includes the other new features of the Drobo 5D. Both drives are scheduled to ship in mid-summer.