If you’re considering an in-house storage solution for personal or business use, Californian external storage manufacturer Drobo’s range of smart and compact NAS is well worth considering. In particular, the Drobo B810n 8-bay NAS delivers the capacity, speed, and performance a growing small business requires without the heavy maintenance or troubleshooting that could leach productivity.
In this article, we review the Drobo B810n 8-bay NAS (DR-B810N-5A21) to help you decide if it can fulfill your needs. We’ll delve into need-to-know features and performance factors, along with the best prices online for this popular NAS.
- Highly scalable network storage array for small and medium business
- Gigabit Ethernet connectivity x2. Ethernet port bonding
- Holds up to 8x 3.5” SATA HDDs or SSDs solid state drives. SSD support allowing Data Aware Tiering and Hot Data Cache. Expandable by adding drives or hot-swapping existing drives with larger...
- Award-winning BeyondRAID automated data protection. DroboDR disaster recovery support and built in internal power supply
- Jumbo frames (up to 9000 bytes MTU)
The Drobo D810n is a personal NAS that delivers enterprise-level performance with future-forward features like hybrid storage and automated volume management. It is an ideal choice for individuals and SMEs that want in-house storage that is easy to integrate and use on their existing network. The D810n includes:
- 8-Bay NAS which can accommodate up to eight 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch SATA hard disk drives or solid-state drives (SSDs),
- two Gigabit Ethernet ports,
- 64 TB filesystem support (maximum system capacity),
- status lights,
- a capacity gauge,
- Drobo Dashboard version 2.7 or later,
- Desktop or 3U Rackmount,
- operating system support for macOS: 12.x, 11.x, 10.15.x,
- Windows 11, 10, 8/8.1,
- Windows Server 2016 and 2012.
This 8 Bay network attached NAS by Drobo is a step up for small and medium-sized businesses that want to take back control of their data with high-utility in-house storage.
The B810n is an ideal storage solution for server applications, media, email, and data protection. Its dual Ethernet ports make it easy to integrate the NAS into your TCP/IP network infrastructure where it provides hybrid storage which network-approved devices can access securely.
Drobo is a California-based manufacturer of NAS and DAS devices. It was founded in San Jose in 2005 as Data Robotics, with a subsequent name change and acquisition by an investment group with tech expertise.
Drobo’s external storage solutions target the “prosumer” (a person who both consumes and produces), as well as the small business market. In addition, Drobo has designed its storage to be easy to integrate and use with a local area network. Most NAS produced by Drobo accommodates 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch SATA hard disk drives with devices carrying up to 12 bays available.
Some devices are SSD-compatible. The hard drives are easy to add or remove, and Drobo’s proprietary RAID and volume management pools control the storage capacity for optimal performance.
You can manage Drobo NAS and DAS devices via its proprietary software Drobo Dashboard. This easy-to-use management application configures and provides status updates on a single or multiple NAS in a single window. You can run Drobo Dashboard on Windows or Mac OS X. Drobo Dashboard provides the following features:
- automatic discovery of all Drobo devices in your network,
- easy navigation of the Dashboard to get status updates including available storage for all Drobo devices in the network,
- the configuring of drives,
- tools for naming each NAS and updating the firmware,
- email alerts for each Drobo NAS in your network,
- the running and sharing of diagnostic data with support remotely.
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Drobo B810n 8-bay NAS (DR-B810N-5A21): Overview
Release date and price
Drobo launched this desktop NAS on the 25th of October 2015. The development of this 8-bay small business NAS provided Drobo with the opportunity to introduce new features alongside the ease of use that Drobo has built its reputation on.
Drobo NAS is generally cost-effective, and the B810n delivers value for money because the manufacturer has included some of its best features, like fast self-healing, Data-Aware Tiering, and Data Aware Caching.
- Highly scalable direct attached storage array with 2 x Thunderbolt 3 ports
- Holds up to 8 x 3. 5" Sate HDDs. Optional SSD boosts performance. Expandable by adding drives or hot-swapping drives with larger ones. On-line and instant capacity expansion
- Intelligent volume management for flexibility & Convenience. Ideal for data-intensive workflows, creative professionals, and small to medium businesses with 128TB volume support
- Drobo 8D PC perspective gold award recipient. Award-winning Beyond automated data protection. Internal battery backup protects data against power interruptions
- Designed and created for macOS. Includes 20Gbps Thunderbolt 3 cable. *Units with hard drives include Seagate barracuda Pro HDDs. Internal Power Supply - AC Input – 100-240VAC~3.5A, 50-60Hz. DC...
A more recent but related model is the Drobo 8D DAS (released in November 2018). This 8-bay device is direct attached storage (DAS), rather than a NAS, and requires a direct connection to the device accessing data from it. The specifications of these two storage solutions are very similar, but the 8D does not have the remote access, updates, and file-sharing capabilities of the B810n NAS.
So what makes this 8-bay NAS a bestseller? Here are the notable features of the Drobo B810n 8-bay NAS:
1. Easy setup and low maintenance
Drobo has put in the hard work so you can have a hassle-free experience with this performance NAS. There is almost no setup and few ongoing maintenance needs. All you need to do to get this NAS up and running is:
- Install Drobo Dashboard on your hardware,
- Insert the SSD and hard disk drives you require,
- Connect your network cables,
- Switch on the NAS,
- Set your administrator username and password.
Yes, it really is that simple!
2. Data-Aware Tiering and Data Aware Caching
The Drobo B810n 8-bay NAS benefits from some great technologies taken from other NAS models. This NAS uses the Data Aware Tiering that was first introduced in the 12-bay Drobo B1200i.
This feature automatically detects and configures SSDs that are added to the NAS, creating a new tier that accelerates the NAS performance. In addition, Data-Aware Caching automatically speeds up the reads of your most commonly accessed data.
3. Dual Gigabit Ethernet ports
The B810n carries twin gigabit Ethernet ports you can use individually to connect to different subnetworks or bond for doubled read/ write performance. The paired ports can also function in active/ passive mode, meaning that one port can take over from the other if it fails.
4. Enterprise-level disaster recovery
The Drobo B810n secures your data with its integrated disaster recovery solution, DroboDR. It not only backs up your data but also the settings and configuration of NAS and the user account. This means that in the event of a power outage or drive failure, you can recover and run a saved replica of your original B810n.
You can securely access data held on your Drobo via a secure end-to-end connection using the myDrobo feature. As an administrator for this NAS, you’ll receive a mydrobo.com address for public Internet access and use of Drobo’s suite of practical applications known as DroboApps.
You can use these apps to remotely manage WordPress files, upload media from remote devices, and use the services of third-party vendors like ElephantDrive or Resilio Sync & Plex for additional backups, syncing, and data protection.
6. LDAP compatible
The Drobo B810n is also compatible with the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). This is a mature and widely adopted and supported standard for directory servers. You can set up an active directory with LDAP to use the NAS for applications like user authentication. Simply update the firmware via the DroboDashboard.
7. Smart power solutions that protect your data
Drobo protects every device from data loss and corruption by adding an in-built battery that has adequate power to back up the data in memory or cache. The integrated battery continually keeps itself topped up so that your NAS stays protected.
|Model||B810n 8-bay NAS (DR-B810N-5A21)|
|Form Factor||Desktop or r 3U rackmount Form Factor (requires separate rack mount kit)|
|Processor||Marvell Armada XP Quad-core processor|
|Bays||8 x 3.5-inch SATA or solid-state drives |
can accommodate 2.5-inch drives tool free
|10GbE Connectivity||2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports|
|Power Supply Unit||Internal power supply: AC Input – 100/240 Volts, 1.8/0.75 Amps, 50/60 Hz frequency|
|Dimensions||12.7 in x 5.46 in x 14.1 in (309 mm x 139 mm x 358 mm)|
|Weight||16 lb 3 oz (7.4 kg) – excluding hard drives and power supply|
|Warranty||1-year standard manufacturer’s warranty|
Drobo B810n 8-bay NAS (DR-B810N-5A21): Review
The B810n is a reliable NAS that is built for the NAS novice. Its strengths are its simplicity and ease of use rather than performance and technical specifications. This simple NAS is also fast, so it should satisfy most small business users.
However, businesses that are growing fast or have greater technical requirements are likely to want to move on from this NAS quickly as it does little more than store your data.
Excellent build quality
Drobo has not skimped on the quality of this NAS. It has a robust metal chassis with a magnetically attached front cover. A removable cover hides the drive bays and has windows through which you can check the amount of free space that is available, as well as the status LEDs.
Adding storage is simplified by the removal of the drive sled – just slide the hard disk drives directly into the bays. Installing 2.5-inch drives is a little more challenging but everything is 100% tool free.
Could do with more ports
The chassis and cover are vented to keep things cool and the entire unit sits on 4 rubberized feet. This maximizes the cooling from the paired fans in this NAS. At the back, there are two ports for Gigabit Ethernet and an AC power socket. Though these ports offer fast connectivity, it would have been great if there were other types of ports, like USB, available for data transfer.
Intuitive software interface
Drobo has designed the DroboDashboard with a novice user in mind. It looks like the home screen of an iPhone, a design feature that is likely to be deliberate. For a performance user, this interface is likely to be a little thin as it only has a few pages and it actively minimizes user interaction.
Most operations are one-click, like switching from single- to double-disk redundancy. You can also use the dashboard to map the folders to your local PC rather than building the shares in Windows.
DroboApps is the best software feature and has the potential to extend the longevity of this NAS by providing software solutions from third-party developers. At the time of writing, Drobo has 47 apps, which is less than its competitors, but as the range of apps grows, so does the utility of this NAS.
Help is not always at hand
Despite having in-built help and support links in its Dashboard software, some Drobo B810n customers have struggled to get timely help with problems. This matters because the warranty for this NAS is unusually short, at only one year. It is worth extending the warranty with a DroboCare package, but be prepared to pay several hundred dollars for the privilege!
Not only is the B810n not a cheap NAS, but it also lacks several performance and software features that customers would expect at this price point. However, this NAS is not targeting the sophisticated NAS user, so this stripped-back approach is likely to prove lucrative for Drobo.
Drobo B810n 8-bay NAS (DR-B810N-5A21): Pros and Cons
- Quick and easy assembly that’s 100% tool-free.
- Hard disk drives just slip in.
- Can accommodate SSD drives.
- Easy setup and integration into an existing network.
- Hardware is easy to handle.
- Strong metal chassis with detachable magnet front panel.
- Easy-to-use dashboard and app-based interface.
- Some enterprise-level features like SSD cache and DroboDR.
- This is a predominantly SATA-based NAS which is slower than flash-based memory.
- Despite being high-capacity, this system is not very sophisticated.
- Too few ports limit options and convenience for data transfer.
- Multiple reviewers of this NAS have often found it hard to get customer support.
- Low RAM and CPU spec for the storage capacity of the NAS.
- The hard drive is embedded and cannot be upgraded.
- Cannot upgrade the hard drive.
- The one-year warranty is extremely short.
Drobo B810n 8-bay NAS (DR-B810N-5A21): Is It a Buy?
This is a high-capacity NAS that is easy to install, set up, and run. Drobo has done the hard stuff for you with DroboDR and smart power solutions. However, for the capacity, this Drobo NAS is a little light in the technology department as there isn’t a serious attempt at robust volume management.
Buy it if…
You are new to the NAS market, or you’re a photographer or creative who needs a mature storage option for backing up your work. You’ll be able to access your data quickly and add media from your camera or other devices using myDrobo. Small business and enterprise users are likely to outgrow this 8-bay NAS, though it provides a great user-friendly introduction to working with external storage.
Don’t buy it if…
You are an SME that is looking to scale its storage. Drobo’s prosumer focus means that its simplicity may chafe if you require more technical management of your business data.
This respectable build from Drobo is a great package for NAS newbies and the DroboApps provide some room for growth. But if you’re a NAS expert, this NAS is going to be too simple and unable to perform the acrobatics a pro expects!
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