Drobo as a part of HT / Media Center / NAS setup

I’m about to move and I’m planning my future home theater setup. As for the combined media storage/serving and general NAS solution, I’m currently weighing between those two options:

[]Go the networked Drobo (5N) route, then try and cram as much of the functionality I need into this fella with the help of DroboApps. For starters, I’d need CrashPlan and some decent DLNA media server (with subtitle support, etc.)
]Keep the trusty old Drobo V2 I already have (with a possibility of future upgrade) and pair it with an always-on Intel NUC box.
Currently I’m leaning heavily towards 2. and here’s my reasoning:
[]Considering I couldn’t just directly use my current Drobo V2 diskpack with 5N and would had to shell out for some new HDDs, Intel NUC with an OS would cost me more or less the same.
]Latest generation NUC is a full-blown, USB 3.0-equipped PC that fits in your hand and by getting i3 or i5 one I’d be sure it’ll happily do whatever I throw at it for years to come, without me worrying about the limitations of DroboApps or Drobo’s hardware itself.
As you can probably see, I’m pretty much set for NUC as flexibility of a PC seems to have won me over the simplicity and “all-in-one-ness” of a networked Drobo. What do you guys think? Good idea or not? Can you see any obvious flaws in my reasoning?

That being said, the slowness of Drobo v2 begins to bug me more and more as of recently so I’m planning to upgrade it further down the road with another directly attached (assuming I choose the NUC path) model. My bonus question is, do you think getting a 5D and effectively relegating it to the NAS duties, throttling it down to Gigabit Ethernet speeds (assuming no “real work” would be done on the NUC itself) in the process would be a “waste” of this high-performing and expensive device? Would the Gigabit Ethernet bandwidth limitation and CIFS/SMB overhead make the deal not worth it anymore? So here we arrive at bonus question#2: anyone has a Drobo S v2 (USB 3.0) up for sale? :wink:

#2 is pretty much what I do.

The advantages being more apps to choose from and more ability to customize delivery.
It also abstracts your storage from your sharing, which means you could mix Drobo with something else, add more DAS Drobos, etc.

My HTPC pulls from the my Windows Home Server 2011 machine which has multiple Drobos attached (and pooled into a single drive letter by Drive Bender).
My Atom 330 WHS2011 server and attached Drobo v2’s are fast enough to handle Blu-ray ISO serving, though I haven’t done any real load testing on it. I rarely have more than one client pulling media, and my general files are Drobo S that’s on the same machine. Everything’s connected via USB 2.0, though I could/should probably connect one of the Drobo S units via eSATA (dang it, now I just came up with an excuse for another one).

In related news, I’m running MyMovies and they’re working on Chromecast support. If/when that gets released, it might make my HTPC redundant.

Hmm, no bonus points for me. I think GigE is fine for controlled use. Even BD transfer rate is just a drop in the bucket for GigE unless your network is saturated with other traffic.

Thank you, bhiga. What I now realized I wasn’t clear enough in my original post is that I’d like the said combo (Intel NUC + Drobo), besides doing media server duties, to double as my general purpose NAS for my everyday “computing” needs as well. So it would have to be good enough for RAW photo editing, some VM hosting once in a blue moon, etc. as well. That’s why I wondered if by hypothetically upgrading to 5D later on, I wouldn’t cripple it too much by plugging it via GbE. But anyway, if I managed with V2 up to now, the question is more of a “psychological” kind, I guess :wink: Or, to put it the other way, what bugs me is, first I’d have to pay a substantial extra for 5D over the 5N for not having the built-in NAS functionality and then throttling it down to GbE speeds.

Ahh, you’re going to use it as a general workstation and/or terminal server?

Yeah, if you’ve been okay with V2 up to now, the 5-series on any connection will be a speed jump.

I’m with you on the price difference… I guess it’s supply and demand - and probably Thunderbolt licensing. Yeah, I’m gonna blame the bolt. :slight_smile:

Recycle bin is another plus for direct-attach, especially for a general-use workstation, as network deletes are usually permanent.

Though I suppose if it really came down to better NUC + 5N versus lesser NUC + 5D, I would go for the better NUC + 5N and connect the 5N to a Gigabit USB 3.0 adapter for a dedicated storage bandwidth path.

hi just some thought…

if you have other family members who will need to access data from the drobo, one thing (sometimes overlooked) is that a little bit of upfront training on caching is going to help a lot.

i see nothing wrong with telling them to do a copy and paste to their local computer, before playing a movie clip etc from there.

but this way your streaming service can have all its main cpu cycles spent on streaming, and the copy and paste works in the background + they learn a bit more about patience.

that might mean that you dont need as speedy a setup as you might have needed, and save some money that way too.

(also, you could take your nuc box, and fill it up with episodes of your 3 stooges dvds, and turn it into a NYUC box :smiley:

jokes aside, i also feel that the thunderbolt connection on a Drobo was not necessary and also added to the cost (for all we know though, maybe the developers of thunderbolt paid drobo to include it to help increase it’s adoption - probably not, but you never know) :slight_smile: