Over the years, we have reviewed several Drobo units, including the Drobo 5D Directed Attached Storage device and the 5N Network Attached Storage device. We also covered some of their corporate events concerning mergers and acquisitions. (you can find all of our Drobo coverage here.)
One of the areas where Drobo shined was in support of photographers and photo storage. In that arena, Drobo was often the go-to source for local and network attached storage devices. They were also one of the earliest companies to offer Network Attached Storage for the home user.
Drobo, was in fact, the platform we used to build our first local area network. The hardware and software was easy setup and use. Unfortunately, as our needs grew, we started to see shortcomings in the Drobo Dashboard software. This was especially evident in remote access and file sharing. While off-site users could reach the network, their ability to download files was spotty at best and uploads were near impossible. As our network needs increased, so did our frustration until we finally abandoned the Drobo platform completely.
Also, although one of the pioneers of NAS devices, over the years they have seen stiff competition from other NAS manufacturers, like AUSUTOR, QNAP, Western Digital and especially Synology, whom we have covered closely and, who we believe may have the best NAS hardware and software available today.
With all of that as background, we weren’t all that surprised to learn that Drobo and its parent company StorCentric filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in California’s Northern Bankruptcy Court (San Jose), in June 2022.
While the company has pledged continuing support for its customers and says it is not closing its doors, it has issued a statement that pretty much ends its future use by the Apple community.
Drobo’s Notice to Customer
Here is the email that we received from Drobo recently.
Dear Valued Drobo Customer,
Thank you for entrusting Drobo with your critical data. We have found that the upcoming macOS Ventura update is currently incompatible with Drobo. We cannot guarantee compatibility with future OS updates. Therefore, if you are planning on upgrading your macOS we highly recommend backing up data that resides on your Drobo to mitigate any unknown impacts of incompatibility. Furthermore, the Drobo should be shut down prior to performing the OS update.
Before any major computer update, have a backup plan in place. Experts agree having 3 copies of your data is optimal, 2 copies onsite on different media types and one off-site copy. For further reading please visit https://www.drobo.com/homeoffice/.
You can also visit the Support Knowledge Base for the below resources:
Do I need to disconnect my Drobo storage device before performing operating system upgrades?
What Best Practices should I follow when using my Drobo?
Drobo Support Management
Questions? Visit the Drobo Support portal.
What’s Next for Mac Users?
While it’s not uncommon for companies to work through a Chapter 11 filing and return to the marketplace as strong, or even stronger than before, it seems that Drobo is making it clear that, if they do recover, it will not be a company that will serve Mac users in the future.
This may not be much of a surprise given that like many of you, with recent updates to macOS, we have received warning that our Drobo software will not be compatible with future version of macOS.
Even though we deleted our Drobo Desktop software long ago, we still apparently have some configuration files deep inside macOS that we haven’t been able to find or delete, and continue to receive warnings about it.
The Bottom Line
On some level, it’s sad to see this happening to Drobo. They started out with some great innovative hardware and software. For some reason, that all came to a halt as we haven’t seen any new hardware released in years.
For those in the photography arena, this will probably be a big loss. For everyone else, who hasn’t yet transitioned to a newer platform, this will obviously cause an unexpected expense to replace your hardware. But on the bright side, if you move to a platform like Synology, you will be amazed at how much more your new NAS can do.
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What would be the best software alternative for mac to use with my drobo, that will work with future versions of osx?