For those out of the know, Drobos are data storage devices, that feature multiple hard drive bays and allow you to hot swap drives on the fly and features extensive automated data redundancy backup features. They’ve been extremely popular, despite mild critism about the transfer speeds and the lack of an Ethernet port (stopping you from using one as a self-contained NAS unit). Today, Drobo manufacture Data Robotics unveiled two new Drobo models, both serving different niches.

The first new Drobo is the high-end business DroboElite. The DroboElite has 8 hard drive bays, and with only 2 Ethernet connections, which pretty much orients it for the enterprise marketplace. The DroboElite can support unto 16 different hosts using data off of it with 255 different volumes onboard.

It’s a pretty impressive piece of computer hardware, but with the lack of a USB or Firewire port, and the hefty price tag of $3,500, that makes it clear that this one is for the Enterprise marketplaces.

The Drobo S is the new consumer-based model. Data Robotics addressed one of the key complaints with the original Drobo by improving the speed of the unit in the back end (with Engadget reporting 20 to 25% performance improvement). Where the original Drobo had 4 HDD bays, the new Drobo S adds a fifth, which allows for more data redundancy options when backing up your files on the Drobo. Like the first Drobo, the Drobo S features a USB and Firewire connection.

The smaller Drobo S will retail for $800. Drobos aren’t cheap, but they are fairly impressive for what they do. If you only need 4 hard drive bays, the original Drobo may be enough for you at only $400. Data Robitics also has various deals if you order a Drobo bundled with hard drives from them.

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