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Drobo Announces B1200i Hybrid Storage Array

By - Source: Drobo

Drobo has announced enhancements to its 12-bay rack-mountable B1200i hybrid storage array designed for SMB applications. Drobo is now a subsidiary of Connected Data, perhaps best known for its line of Transporter products, but it continues to operate as a separate company and brand. One of the positive aspects of the merger is that Drobo has gained access to Connected Data's global network of 21 distributors and 7,600 resellers. 

The standard B1200i configuration features normal HDDs for storage, but adding SSDs creates a hybrid array that merges the best aspects of cheap and capacious HDD storage with the speed and agility of SSDs. The hybrid configuration automatically places hot data into the SSD tier, thus boosting the performance of commonly accessed files. Drobo protects user data by maintaining a redundant copy of all data on the HDDs when it is promoted to the acceleration tier. SSDs added for tiering are dedicated entirely to performance acceleration and will not expand the actual capacity of the storage pool.

Drobo utilizes its proprietary BeyondRAID to provide protection for up to two drive failures, and enhancements have boosted rebuild performance by 800 percent. BeyondRAID expands the capabilities of standard RAID implementations by allowing users to select disks with varying capacities and aggregate them into the same storage pool. SAS and SATA drives can also be mixed into the same pool.

Users configure a storage pool and thin-provision capacity from the dashboard. Storage pool capacity has been expanded to 128 TB, a 400 percent increase. Drobo supports 6 TB Seagate Enterprise Capacity HDDs, but the 128 TB maximum capacity of the storage pool outstrips what is possible with 6 TB drives, signalling support for 8 TB and 10 TB drives in the future.

"These enhancements easily make the B1200i the most expandable and highest performing Drobo in history. Our highly scalable, centralized storage system coupled with our innovative data tiering provides business users with impressive workload throughput for transaction-based applications," said Tony Hampel, Senior Director of Product Marketing, Drobo. "When configured with Seagate Enterprise Capacity SATA drives, users will have a high capacity, reliable, and intelligent hybrid storage array that seamlessly integrates into any organization's network and application infrastructure."

Drobo also expanded the maximum capacity per volume to 64 TB (up from 16 TB), and users can create up to 255 volumes. The B1200i accepts both SAS and SATA drives, but 12 Gbps SAS drives will only operate at 6 Gbps speed.

The rear of the B1200i reveals three 1 Gbe connections used for iSCSI connections. There is also a dedicated management port. This is the first Drobo product with serviceable modular components. The controller card is removable, and the dual-redundant PSUs and system fans are hot-swappable. A Cavium 8-core processor and 2 GB of RAM power the storage array. The B1200i is certified for VMware vSphere, Symantec Backup Exec and Veeam backup Environments.

The new Drobo 1200i configurations will be available from authorized partners in February 2015. A model with no disks has an MSRP of $3,999. The 1200i with 72 TB of HDD storage has an MSRP of $13,790, and two preconfigured hybrid packages are available. 48 TB of HDD storage with 720 GB of SSD storage is $12,599, and 36 TB of HDD storage with 720 GB of SSD storage is $8,499.