At the 11th Annual San Francisco SuperMeet, Justin Russo of Drobo, showed off the new Drobo B800i, 8 Bay, iSCSI SAN storage. This unit is optimized for small businesses to provide reliable and high-performance storage to servers running applications like file services, data protection, email, and server virtualization.
According to Russo, Drobo has taken RAID and expanded it to what they call "Beyond Raid". The B800i alows you to mix and match hard drive sizes. With a keen understanding of the needs of their customers, Drobo allows you to acquire storage at the rate you need it, instead of making you buy storage you don't need. Here's more from the Drobo site:
A Drobo B800i iSCSI array can hold up to 24TB of raw storage and beyond. To add capacity, simply insert a new hard drive or replace your smallest drive with a larger one, even when all drive bays are full. Unlike traditional RAID systems, the BeyondRAID technology in Drobo enables you to leverage different drive capacities, allowing for continuous expansion as larger drives become available. With Drobo, expansion is automatic and instantaneous and access to data is always maintained.
Drobo can protect from single or dual drive failures and has a virtual hot spare capability - ensuring all drives are used at all times.
About iSCSI SANs
Unfamiliar with iSCSI? It's a high-performance protocol that's become extremely popular storage networking technology in IT environments, but it can often be complex to manage. Drobo B800i changes that by introducing zero-click iSCSI configuration for both Windows and Mac OS X servers. iSCSI can be used to connect storage directly to servers using a high-speed connection, or it can be used to create a Storage Area Network (SAN) with to 2, 5, or 10 plus servers.
With an iSCSI SAN, centralized storage is provided to each server over a high-speed network and storage can be allocated or expanded instantaneously. Also, any single server does not tie up free space and there are fewer storage devices to maintain.
What is iSCSI?
iSCSI (pronounced "i-scuzzy") is an Internet Protocol (IP)-based storage networking standard for connecting storage arrays to computers, using high performance Ethernet. iSCSI is an industry-standard protocol, allowing organizations to consolidate and centralize storage while providing servers with the illusion of locally-attached disks. Unlike traditional Fibre Channel storage, which requires special-purpose cabling, iSCSI can be run over the existing Ethernet network infrastructure.
iSCSI as Easy as USB for Windows and Mac
Drobo supports zero-click iSCSI connections on both Windows and Mac OS X. Once Drobo Dashboard is installed, access to the iSCSI storage over an Ethernet cable happens automatically. For Windows, Drobo Dashboard uses Microsoft's iSCSI software ("initiator"). As Mac OS X does not natively contain iSCSI support, Drobo Dashboard includes the necessary iSCSI software initiator for Mac OS X - free of charge.
For more information about Drobo, go to their website at: www.droboworks.com
For more information about the next SuperMeet, their website is: supermeet.com
FTC Disclosure: I have no material ties to Drobo.