Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Drobo v. ReadyNAS II: Obvious Differences

Yes, I am talking about ReadyNAS (from Netgear) and Drobo (from Drobo). 

But which one should I get? Well, my previous post laid out what I was looking for. This leaves the question of which of these two products best fits my needs.

First, what they have in common:
  1. Both use multiple drive so that if a single drive fails, you don't lose any data.
  2. Both can be expanded more or less on the fly, simply by replacing smaller drives with larger drives.
  3. Both are fairly easy to set up.
  4. Both start under $1000.
  5. They are about the same size, each about 5" wide and 6" tall and 9" deep. (Drobo a little deeper and wider, ReadyNAS a little taller.)  
There are some important obvious differences, however.

First, ReadyNAS looks like it is geared more towards pros at home (i.e. real techies), whereas Drobo is aimed more at advanced users. ReadyNAS does more, has more features, is more powerful. Drobo is simpler. To me, ReadyNAS just looks like a windows product, both in terms of specs and appearance. Drobo seems more like an Apple product, both in appearance and simplicity.

Second, ReadyNAS is more expensive. The basic unit, without drives, is over $900. Drobo is around $450, plus $200 for DroboShare -- which you need if you want to hook it with Ethernet, as opposed to via USB. To be fair, though, it is only marginally more expensive to get a ReadyNAS unit with 1TB of storage in it, though this only lessens the price difference, and does not actually wipe it out. 

So, on the surface, if you want more features and power, get ReadyNAS. But if you want a prettier and easier to use solution, or you want to save money, get Drobo.

But that's not the end of the story. 

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