Data Robotics' DroboElite Adds iSCSI SAN Capability


Data Robotics, manufacturer of the Drobo series of SMB storage appliances, on Monday unveiled its first iSCSI SAN model and enhancements to its channel program to go with it.

Data Robotics' new DroboElite is the company's first appliance to support iSCSI SANs, enabling SMB customers to build a storage network that can be accessed by multiple servers, said Jim Sherhart, senior director of marketing for the Santa Clara, Calif.-based storage vendor.

The DroboElite makes it easy to consolidate the storage for SMBs with two or more servers, Sherhart said.

"For SMBs with one or two IT people who don't really want to become storage experts or who don't really understand iSCSI, this is ideal," he said.

The DroboElite is a follow-on to Data Robotics' DroboPro appliance, which the company introduced in April.

While the DroboPro had iSCSI connectivity, the DroboElite adds LUN masking so that a server host can lock a LUN to prevent other servers from accessing data it has stored on space it has reserved, Sherhart said.

The DroboElite also offers to ability to create up to 255 storage volumes and work with up to 16 hosts, Sherhart said.

The company has also added a second Gbit Ethernet port for redundancy and to ease the management of the iSCSI SAN, he said.

Data Robotics on Monday also unveiled the Drobo S, a new entry-level storage appliance with eSATA connectivity and capacity for up to five 2-TB hard drives.

With the introduction of the DroboElite, Data Robotics is also enhancing its channel program by offering its solution provider partners at the certified level up to 30 points of margins for registered opportunities on the DroboElite and up to 25 points for registered opportunities on the DroboPro and Drobo S, said Malissa King, vice president of sales for the company.

Data Robotics is also limiting direct market reseller sales to those companies such as CDW, PC Connection, and PC Mall with their own sales force, with the rest of sales going strictly through solution providers, King said.

With the release of the DroboElite, the company is also asking partners to sign an agreement on minimum advertised pricing, or MAP. "Partners need to agree to the MAP," she said. "This eliminates the problem of using Price Grabber or Biz Rate for comparison shopping."

The DroboElite is priced starting at $3,499 with no drives, or about $5,899 with eight 2-TB Western Digital 7,200-rpm RAID edition hard drives. The Drobo Pro starts at $1,499 with no drives. The Drobo S with no drives is priced at $799. All are available through Synnex, Bell Micro, and Ingram Micro.