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back to article VCs take a nasty cold bath on Drobo deal, leave Barrall 'delighted'

So here on the El Reg storage desk, people talk of little else but the Drobo-Connected Data merger at the moment. Just what exactly is the story there? It's interesting stuff. Take a look at our little timeline here: Drobo timeline - 2005 - Data Robotics founded - October 2005 - $6 million A-round funding - July 2006 - $12 …

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Gold badge
FAIL

Sounds like the VCs got tucked up and the management cleaned up.

Being a VC has a high failure rate but do you get the feeling they all paid over the odds?

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It's too expensive for what it is. That's why people won't buy it. It was the same in 2006. It was never going to fly as the product was always stupidly valued.

A nice idea to hook VC's though - just the type of crap they go for.

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Anonymous Coward

Not a chance I'd buy one

They have a reputation for being unreliable. They're expensive. If the unit goes wrong you can't retrieve your data from the drives unless you buy another Drobo.

Much better to buy (~= £100 if you catch a cashback deal) or build a microserver and bung FreeNAS or Nas4Free on it. If the server goes wrong then a replacement is cheap and you can retrieve your data no problem.

Drobo is too expensive for Mr. Public and anyone who knows what they're doing is more likely to go with a build-your-own or buy a QNAP or Synology instead.

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Bronze badge

Re: Not a chance I'd buy one

Upvoted with the following reservations:

- Building your own is not for everyone, not even for many.

- FreeNAS, now NAS4Free, is not trivial to set up, especially if you want to use ZFS.

- NAS4Free documentation, as of my last upgrade about a year ago, left a lot to the imagination.

That said, it provides iSCSI (unlike many of the comercial offerings), performs well and reliably, and if set up with redundancy will continue to perform through disk failure and recover data with little interruption (none, if the disks are hot pluggable).

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Foresight

Any time a company enters an equity based C-round of funding you know something is very wrong. It is pretty amazing they were able do get D and E rounds, it doesn't take a genius to see there was going to be nothing left.

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Always wondered how they had such market foothold the product is not that great, the competition has been around longer and has better offerings, but I guess appealing to the ask-no-questions iCrowd costs... a lot.

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Bronze badge
FAIL

- October 2005 - $6 million A-round funding

- July 2006 - $12 million B-round funding

- September 2009 - $10 million C-round funding

- February 2008 - $15 million D-round funding

- November 2009 - $10 million E-round funding

Alphabetic/Time linearity fail.

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Thumb Up

drobos actually do work fine

hi drobo's actually do work fine.

it's always a bit sad to hear if othes had some problems, but ive got 3 myself and they are great.

the original drobo units came down to about £300 with extras too but very hard to find now

try not to be put off by a tiny amout of negatives though, because all products by any maker can have some issues from time to time, and usually it's mainly the users experiencing problems (unfortunately) who make more effort to comment about their not-so-good experiences.

best results for drobos seem to be with the usb direct attached units (and windows) because apple o/s updates seem to keep breaking devices/drivers etc, but there are lots of happy mac users too.

more info: search for Raoul Pop (drobo reviews) and more pics/vids, and drobospace forums for comments, questions and answers etc, especially if you have one - were a good bunch at heart. :o)

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I have been a user and fan of Drobo for many years. I have a Drobo FS that literally has not had a single issue in the 3+ years I have used it as my primary storage device. I go for months forgetting that the darn thing is even around which is *exactly* what I want from a storage device. I don't need a gazillion megabytes of performance to stream HD around my house or do Time Machine backups of our Macs. What I need is something that is easy to use and just works. That is exactly what Drobo delivers. My understanding is their newer products deliver some pretty outstanding performance to boot.

Because I was a Drobo fan, I was very curious about the new Transporter product from the same team after I heard about it on one of the podcasts I follow. I was burning CDs to share kid photos with my tech-phobia parents, so I rolled the dice on a Transporter to see if this might get me out of the CD burning business. Not only did it work for that, but I'm just starting to see the potential for this thing with their Version 2 software.

To date, I have had no compelling reason to update my Drobo since it "just works", but if they come out with a product that is a viable replacement for my FS that also has the Transporter goodness, then sign me up.

And Ben - regarding your comment on why he might have left and VCs, I don't think you understand the big VC game my friend. These guys don't get excited about anything that doesn't have a B in the exit price tag, so I am sure that disagreement on direction and VC greed played pretty significant roles in the CEO's decision to leave (if it even was his decision).

Kerry

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And on the plus side

I bought my first Drobo, some years ago. Yes it was a bit pricy. But, The design was superb, the appearance wa superb.the concept was superb, the build was superb. And not least, the packaging was out-of-this-world. I've never regretted it. I bought the Drobo Share to get the thing nework wide and added a second unit. It's gone though the years, taking two disc drive failures in it's stride with not a loss of a byte of data. I've now semi retired it and bought the Drobo FS, which looks as if it's going to follow in it's predecessors footsteps. Innovation at Data Robotics did seem to cease when Barrall left. Perhaps his return will once more light the spark

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A relationship without a KISS.

I've looked at Drobo and think the concept it great. Except they should have sold Drobo PCI cards,

The external boxes are nice, but I don't need another box, I need a fool proof (me being a fool), low cost, easy to maintain drive storage system in my PC.

KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)

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