Getting Serious about Storage – An Experiential Look at the Drobo 5N2

This post provides insight into my own personal use of Drobo storage units, most recently, the Drobo 5N2 NAS system.

As a professional travel blogger who produces both video and photographic content, my storage needs are quite significant. Up until three years ago, when I took the plunge and got my first Drobo unit, my data storage was a mess. I must have had a dozen different hard drives with video footage, photos and files strewn across them like a desk full of papers. It was not sustainable, nor was it prudent.

Drobo 5N2 front and back

One day (about three years ago) I was talking with a technology friend of mine about recovering data from a corrupted hard drive. After asking me a few questions about the situation, he began to scold me for not using a RAID system. He told me he highly recommended Drobo and that I needed to set up a system right away. He went on to say that I had a lot of very valuable content that needed protecting. While I’m fairly savvy with technology, I’m no data expert, and the term RAID was fairly foreign to me at the time.

Heeding my friend’s advice, I acquired an entry level Drobo 5C, along with five 3-terabyte drives. It was quite an investment, but I knew I needed to do it. I couldn’t believe how easy the Drobo was to set up. I soon had essentially one hard drive with 12 free terabytes of storage (3 terabytes reserved for data protection) in which I could transfer all of my data. Rather than plugging and unplugging drives to access various files, I now had everything in one easy-to-access place.

Before Drobo and after Drobo | photo by: Mike Shubic

It’s hard to explain how much moving to a Drobo has helped me. Whether I’m writing a blog post and need access to a 5 year old photo, or am editing a video, I now have everything at my fingertips. Sort of.  

Fast-forward three years, I now have two 10-terabye drives and three 6-terabyte drives in my Drobo 5C. After three years everything still works like a charm. The only thing I’ve had to do is occasional upgrade my drives to larger capacity as I add more data. Because I travel so much, one of my frustrations is not having access to my files when abroad. So, I have recently added a second Drobo to my data storage solutions, the Drobo 5N2.

Drobo 5n2 with Drobo 5c next to computer

The Drobo 5N2 is a NAS networked drive, so it allows me to up/download files over the network, or the web, wirelessly. Essentially, this is like having my own personal cloud solution. I am so excited about this because it will help my workflow while traveling. In the past, I would often have to wait until I got back to my home base to complete a project as I would not have access to necessary files. In hindsight, I wish I had gone the 5N2 route to begin with.

At the moment, the Drobo 5N2 will act as a secondary drive and a remote backup. While I’m in the field traveling, I can now upload my video and photo files to the 5N2 so I have a safely stored copy.

When I set up my Drobo 5N2 I didn’t even have to buy any new hard drives, I just used my old ones that I had replaced with the 5C. Currently I’m running two 6 terabyte drives with three 3-terabye drives.

I have the Drobo Dashboard installed on both my desktop computer, as well as my laptop and I can control both units from the same dashboard. When I’m not on the network, I can login through a web-based browser (with private url) to access my 5N2 files. I can also set up various usernames and allow individuals to access particular areas/files of the hard drive, which is really slick when working with freelancers.

Drobo Dashboard with 2 connected Drobos

I’ve only had my Drob 5N2 for a week or so, and while everything has gone very smoothly; I haven’t had much time to really use the unit. That said, I’m about to head off to Europe for a 2-month trip, and will be using the 5N2 extensively from remote locations. I am going to revisit and update this post with my findings and experience.

In the meantime, if you ready to get serious about your storage solutions, from my experience, Drobo is the way to go. Their systems are super easy to set up, stable (with exception to a couple of minor hiccups) and well worth the investment.

If you have any questions about the Drobo 5N2, or RAID/NAS systems in general, please leave a comment below and I’ll try to help. To get all of the specs for the Drobo 5N2, click here.

Mike Shubic

Mike Shubic is a seasoned road trip travel video blogger, traversing the byways of the world looking for those hidden gems of the road. From unique destinations, unexpected discoveries, creative cuisine, intriguing inns to exciting attractions…the road is his page. The experiences are his ink. And every 300 miles, a new chapter begins. Whether you live vicariously or by example, Mike will do the exploring so you can have an adventure.