Drobo Delivers for Simpler Storage Needs

As management of video, audio, and other related assets for sports entities —teams, leagues, networks, even athletes —  becomes increasingly important, managing those assets becomes increasingly complex, and many staff members can find themselves overwhelmed when it comes to storing and accessing the content needed to complete their job. That is where storage companies like Drobo come in.

Drobo’s storage devices range from four to 12 drive bays, and, while the company does not put its energy into building the hard-disk and solid-state drives at the core of its products, it does put its energy into ensuring that the system’s user interface and file management are intuitive and simple.

“We shipped our first products in 2007 and provide good storage options to people who know nothing about storage,” says Drobo CEO Tom Buiocchi. “They are extremely easy to use, set up, and are incredibly automated. They are also intuitive in terms of storage and management.”

Sports entities like ESPN, the NFL, the PGA, and the New York Yankees are among Drobo clients.

“And athletic departments use more video than ever and are typically budget-constrained and have a staff that is IT generalists, not experts,” says Buiocchi. “So that is why folks like B&H are some of our biggest distributors.”

Products like the Drobo mini, which weighs only 2.2 lb. and measures 1.8 in. tall and 7.3 in. wide, offer flexibility to a sports-editing workforce that, increasingly, is on the move and working on laptops.

“Our products have evolved and offer much higher performance so that they can be used for editing as well as storage,” adds Buiocchi. “And we have a unique technology that allows hard drives and solid-state drives to coexist in the same Drobo. So, when you need to do something that requires fast performance, you can use the solid-state drives or the hard drives for bulk storage. And that makes the Drobo like a hybrid car, where it can run on electrical power when you need to or gas when you need to.”

Drobo also works with off-the-shelf drives, enabling users to go to any online or retail outlet to choose the drives that best suit their storage needs. Solid-state drives, for example, offer faster access to data but do not have the storage capacity of spinning disks. So the hybrid approach offers the best of both worlds.

The company is also becoming more closely aligned with cloud-based storage offerings, viewing those services as a complement rather than a threat to local-storage needs. The Drobo 5N, for example, can be connected to Barracuda Network’s copy.com cloud service to allow folders to be synchronized so that files can be dragged from one to the other. Relationships with other cloud-based providers are also in the works.

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