Someone I know recently indicated that he had a Drobo and had very good things to say about the device. A quick review of the site indeed confirms that it looks to be a very cool product. Basically, it is a box that allows you to plugin up to 4 hard drives and it handles copying your data between the hard drives to protect your information. The coolest thing is that it allows drives of all sizes to work together in the same box. You can dynamically add or remove drives which allows you to use drives of different sizes or geometries. Very cool.
A word of caution, the product is prohibitively expensive at $499 for just the enclosure! This does not include any hard drives and so those will cost extra. The real deal killer in my opinion is that it does not support Linux. As I have posted before, I am a Linux guy and use Linux as my primary OS for my servers. It is frustrating to me that a device like that doesn’t Linux. Additionally, the high cost makes it tough to justify the investment when you can buy a USB 2 enclosure for <$100 and thus can have a full software RAID system including drives for less than the cost of an empty Drobo.
This is not to say that the Drobo is not a cool product, but rather that it is missing key functionality (e.g. Linux support) and is over priced. It would be killer if these two issues were resolved and since this is rev 1 of the product, I am hoping that they fix this in future revisions.
If you are a less sophisticated with a key focus on Windows and a bit of a storage budget, this would be a great solution.