Comparing Drobo and DroboShare to an OpenSolaris storage server

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8 Responses to Comparing Drobo and DroboShare to an OpenSolaris storage server

  1. joe perro says:

    Very nice article Nathan Fiedler. Why would anyone expect a Sun employee to say anything about Drobo that isn’t negative? Nicely written. Are you really an engineer because it flows, has good grammar, and correct spelling.

    You make a lot of incorrect or arbitrary statements — Drobo isn’t limited to 2TB, my 2 Drobos will grow to 16TB. Did Congress pass a law requiring all storage to be shared on a network? I own two Drobos — one is connected to a Mac, the other is on a DroboShare.

    Your prose idolizing ZFS is nice (I think your a PR troll, not a true engineer) “First of all, ZFS is the most amazing file system on the planet.”

    You sound like fucking Walt Mossberg proclaiming what is good or not based on no facts, or logic.

    I’ve slammed you pretty hard. Let me be serious. Today I can buy a Drobo ad 4 1TB drives for $849 — it is simple and easy to use. Where on earth can I match that with your beloved ZFS.

    Please don’t insult your readers intelligence by not answering. Where on earth can you buy a ZFS solution that doesn’t require hours of time to set up.

    Tell us, Nathan, tell us.

    • nlfiedler says:

      First off, you should know that there are plenty of people in Sun who use non-Sun products at home (and some at work, too). There are many Mac users, and I’m sure quite a few Drobo users. I was one of them for a year. And yes, I am an engineer; reading even just one or two of my earlier posts should demonstrate that quite clearly.

      I mentioned that the Drobo has a weird “limit” of 2TB (note the quotes), something to do with how USB 2.0 works. This is described in the Drobo documentation. What it means I really don’t know since if you add more than 2TB of storage, how does the computer handle that? With a DroboShare does that become a non-issue? I don’t know, I wasn’t fortunate enough to have that “problem”. Regardless, with NAS there is no limit. That is the point I was making.

      If you don’t want your storage connected to a network, so be it. That’s not what I was writing about here. I am comparing a Drobo and DroboShare to a storage server running OpenSolaris and ZFS, not advocating one way of using storage over another.

      As for price, I think you’d be a fool to believe that $849 is cheap. A case with PSU can be had for $50, plus MB, CPU, RAM for another $250. Assume the MB has built-in video and NIC and you’re ready to add disks. Yes, it’s more work and consumes more power, but that’s the trade off, as stated above.

      But, if building your own box, installing an OS, and running a few commands is too much work, you can always turn to either Nexenta or Sun to provide you with pre-built systems running OpenSolaris and ZFS. However, those are aimed at businesses rather than consumers, hence, I was comparing a home-built server to a Drobo, a consumer grade storage unit.

      Hopefully that clears things up.

    • nlfiedler says:

      Joe: I just ran a quick web search for “drobo joe perro” and it’s pretty obvious you are a Drobo shill. You seem to do nothing other than post comments on blogs, and reviews on Amazon, about how terrific the Drobo is for consumers. If anyone is trying to mislead readers, it’s you.

      • Rudd-O says:

        Joe Perro (Perro is Spanish for “dog”, which is the exact translation for “shill” in Spanish) is indeed a shill for Drobo.

        Disregard what this motherfucker says. Too obvious a FUD-feeder and troller to even pay attention to him.

    • mike says:

      l2fs, noob. Hands down, ZFS *IS* the most amazing file system on the planet. The folks at Sun went back to the drawing board with ZFS and said “let’s make something incredible so that we never have to worry about filesystems again.”

      Disclaimer: I am not a Sun employee nor do I use OpenSolaris or ZFS. I’m a Linux and Mac user. However, I’ve read a lot about ZFS and I’ve had the privilege of using a pair of Sun Storage 7110 appliances in a co-location environment. Fantastic user interface. Fantastic file system. I highly recommend them for high-availability NAS applications.

  2. Armand says:


    First of all thank you for this article as i was already thinking about a ZFS server as my Storage is growing, with two Mac’s, PC, multi-media server and several external disk its time for a better solution.

    I think that Joe doesn’t follow your goal, yes a Drobo is like you also say in your article easier to setup, so Joe why making that remark, if you are happy with your Drobo then fine for you. Its true that any appliance is slow and does not have much extendability.
    For those who are looking for more this is a great article and i hope to see more of how and what.

    I am thinking myself in making a server with OpenSolaris and of course ZFS and share it wireless, so i need to figure out if OpenSolaris supports good wireless N and which drivers it has.
    I had found this info already

    – An OpenSolaris 2008.11 goal is to support at least 50% of the currently supported wireless drivers should be able to support 802.11n WiFi. With that, there should be OpenSolaris network drivers for at least half of the top 10 popular (both wired and wireless) network devices.

  3. bob says:

    Thanks Nathan for the good article. I am thinking about a zfs solution at home as well. Redundant data, ease of zfs administration and above all: safe data!

    I can’t share Joe’s remarks. What ‘no facts’?!
    -zfs can be administrated! moreover it’s open source. according to the article you can’t even enter into the drobo. ZFS is easy to use, 2 commands actually. I’d prefer to rely on that rather than some mysterious black box, that requires (paid) vendor support
    -end-to-end data integrity, so no data corruption (if more – search zfs merkle tree in google)
    -timemachine-like functions like snapshots are built-in
    -flexible expansion of disks and raid configurations

    This is all mentioned in the article, so why do you say there are no facts?

  4. Armand says:

    You can also instead of OpenSolaris look at FreeNas, soon with ZFS too

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