You don’t hear as much about Drobo boxes as you used to, especially on sites like Ars Technica. We now have some news, but it’s not good.
StorCentric, the holding company for the Drobo and Retrospect brands, He filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in late June 2022. now, Insider reports that, based on an email sent by StorCentric, the bankruptcy shifted from Chapter 11 focused on reorganization to Chapter 7 focused on liquidation in late April.
Drobo’s writing was on the wall, or at least on its website. The text at the top of the homepage indicates that as of January 27, 2023, Drobo products and support are no longer available. “Drobo support has moved to a self-service model,” the site reads. “Thank you for being a Drobo customer and entrusting us with your data.”
Drobo started in 2005 as Data Robotics and catapulted into the tech consciousness with the original Drobo, the “storage robot”. The marquee feature was able to quickly swap between drives of almost any size without paging data. In our review of the $500 Initial Drobo, we liked its low management requirements, flexible data protection systems, and “quiet, sleek, and attractive” body (please remember the 2007 date).
Technology Editor Lee Hutchinson’s first front-page Ars feature was a two-part in-depth look at Drobo FS (here’s part 2) back in 2011. Drobo wasn’t the fastest or the most secure, and it didn’t have elegant software. But it was “efficient, powerful, expandable and above all simple easy.”
We mention the Drobo option—less adoption, more usability—in our periodic reviews and periodic reports for the Network Attached Storage (NAS) market. But cloud storage, media streaming, and a general trend away from “huge piles of local files” for all but the most specialized hobbies and professions seem to have faded into Drobo over time. A NAS that wasn’t quite a full-fledged NAS but wasn’t as easy to use as, say, Backblaze or one of the many vendors’ S3 is designed to make a tough proposition for most people considering a consumer data storage device.
We’ve reached out to Drobo/StorCentric for comment and will update this post if we hear back.
Listing photo by Lee Hutchinson
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