SFX RAID - Drobo or Sans Digital? Thoughts Welcome


I'm going to be the market soon to finally shift the SFX library to a RAID, and I'd love to hear some thoughts/personal usage regarding these two:

Sans Digital TR4UTBPN

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(source: newegg.com)


Drobo DR04DD10 (or possibly the Drobo S 5-drive array @ $600)

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The intention here is run a hardware RAID 5, not really any performance-demanding writing to be done (e.g. Copy/Paste), mostly reading/spotting files via Soundminer. I don't mind USB 2.0 speeds either - faster is great, but it's not the deal breaker as both of these are capable of USB 2.0 or greater.

Really just after personal thoughts and experiences on reliability, portability (in terms of being able to move it between systems on the fly without anything more than Plug n Play), modular scalability (it seems that the Drobo excels at this on paper), customer/tech support solidarity, and day to day usage of the device.

I will of course have an offline backup of whats on this RAID on regular external drives for safety - simply seeking something more robust though for being my online (not internet-wise) SFX database. Any and all thoughts about these models and/or track record with these companies, good and bad, are welcome - no holds barred. I'd love top be more informed.



Posted 2011-11-05T22:32:14.200

Reputation: 6 616



Hi @Stavrosound,

I have a Drobo 4-bay.

I'm a big fan of it. It's incredibly simple to use and has worked without problems so far.


  • ease of use - Very simple to get up and running. Add or remove drives on the fly without powering down. Just remove the magnetically-attached front faceplate and add/remove drives
  • construction - well made. Solid jacks, drive bays and case
  • aesthetics - it looks incredibly slick. Design is top notch. Thoughtfully made


  • I have the drive on my desk. When being used consistently (i.e a large copy) the fan kicks in and it is a bit loud. Too loud for sound editing in my opinion. However when it is accessed casually, as you need for spotting, it is quiet
  • while the Drobo can add any configuration of drives, using mismatched drive sizes results in unusual total capacities. Use their capacity calculator to gauge things accurately
  • I wouldn't exactly say it is portable. In theory you could but it is short and squat and long and doesn't seem easily portable. The Drobo Dashboard software does allow you to put the device in "Standby" which I believe parks the drive heads which is better for travel

Let us know which you choose!

Paul Virostek

Paul Virostek

Posted 2011-11-05T22:32:14.200

Reputation: 741



I've been looking into this as well. I was thinking about a Qnap setup, which is a SAN/server and not just a harddisk set in raid5. I will also use it for Timemachine backups, so that's my reasoning for the network part. But i've decided to wait for a bit, because prices of Harddrives are sky high due to the flooding of the Bangkok area. Sources say it will at least take at least untill January for prices to settle at there normal level, but this is in the Netherlands. Don't know how this compares to other countries.

Arnoud Traa

Posted 2011-11-05T22:32:14.200

Reputation: 2 886