Drobo has positioned itself in the market as a known player for Hybrid Raid technology. The best feature of their OS is based on BeyondRAID technology. This technology protects your data even if there is multiple drive failure. Drobo wants its users to experience easy and painless configuration and administration of their devices. Based on what I saw with Drobo, I think they have accomplished that. My experience with Drobo Dashboard was a pleasant one as I found no issues with setting up and administering the appliance.
Performance of 5N was pretty much up to par however, some of the test didn’t score well. Since Drobo 5N has a set RAID system (BeyondRAID) we performed a single test and compared it to Hybrid type RAID. Judging from scores I have obtained from running Intel NAS Performance Toolkit, I can clearly say that this device would perform better in retrieving content than creating it.
Drobo has been gradually expanding its Drobo Apps features and they do have a number of great apps like Plex and ownCloud but I feel that Drobo can benefit from expanding that category and offer users more for their buck. Adding support for some of the demanding apps like Asterisk and CCTV capabilities would require a different design of the processor and these applications are very CPU/Memory intensive.
What I found useful was the scalability with in Drobo 5N. Unlike in traditional RAID you need identical disks in 5N you can use any size of a disk and OS will allocate best possible size of the drive to the volume. This can be done pretty much on the fly and requires no downtime. Mix and match hard drives and scale your storage based on your demand. Great feature.
Power and operation of 5N is very well designed. When system in the idle state, hard drives spin down and 5N goes in to quiet mode. Cooling with in 5N is sufficient for a five bay enclosure.
Currently Drobo 5N retails for about $ 489 USD. Comparing to some of the other NAS devices on the market the price is very competitive. However comparing features, I think Drobo can do better as far as offering users a better variety of apps to use and perhaps include a second network connection for either load balancing or redundancy.
If you are looking for a file storage device that provides great data protection and ability to run some supported apps, then Drobo 5N should be considered. I am very much satisfied with performance of 5N in the span of my evaluation.