Drobo

Just purchased FS

Hi all, well as a small business user with 5 macs, i have just purchased my FS and as a server it seems good.

As for the apps i am disappointed, i expected apps from the ‘Company’ with Gui or Web based easy to use interfaces, that need no programming ability.
(it seems this community is trying to fill that gap, but the apps are not easy to operate)

Even the advertised cloud to remotely serve my files, is not up and running.

The only way this App-idea will make it big, is for Drobo as a company to invest in the apps.

Realistically at least , FS needs a media server (to many various items- tv/ps3/appletv) / an iphone app / a remote access server (mb cloud) / torrent client.

All this is available except iphone I guess, browse forum, only way to get info on apps and how to, we all have your issue :slight_smile:

apps from the ‘Company’, i see none, just open source apps.

Read the disclaimer on their website, clearly states they are not responsible for any apps running on your FS albeit in small print :stuck_out_tongue:

As and as a company, that is exactly what Data Robotics needs to change. Firefly is a perfect example. They advertise it on their website even though it isn’t being currently developed and now doesn’t work with the latest iTunes. Data Robotics has to stop relying on “the community” to provide the apps and support for their products and take that in-house. While they obviously can’t take on all apps, they should be developing and supporting the core apps that customers want - media server, remote access, etc. Their failure to invest and commit to these basic features is a huge mistake which will no doubt cost them in the long run.

DroboApps is a platofrm like like Windows or Mac OS. I guess DRI could take on providing apps, but they would likely not be free.

You are right on terms, legally speaking. The issue they are facing here is that they are in a competitive market, the NAS market. When you launch a product you have no other choice than making a competitive study and then list the pros and cons of your offer.
To me, the hardware and low-level software is good as offering reliability and a simple-to-use product, when talking about the FS. (albeit improving the transfer speeds would be a plus)

But the competitors, albeit not offering a nice platform to futures development as DRI do (as you said it, rightly to me), offer core functions everyone expect nowadays when buying a NAS.
To me what DRI may not have clearly understand is that they moved from storage business to NAS business when they launched the FS. NAS is not only a secured storage device. It is a services platform build around a storage device, which is a pretty different way of thinking their product marketing.
I imagine they may not have a strong software development team yet, because storage business does not imply to.

From my humble point of view, the problem with their current strategy is that they are creating a bad buzz around the FS because of the lack of core functions available anywhere else.
Everyone know that the cheapeast commercial way to sell is buzz marketing. They may have a great marketing and communication, a good buzz remains the sine qua none condition to good sales in the medium/long run.

In my opinion, the best strategy they could adopt would be to licence and really kickly make the partner adapt a software NAS system UI (OEM partnership) to the FS, having from that moment a solid “software” side. There are really good ones available on the market. That done, they will have a good year or so to recruit and strenghten their own UI team and build from that OEM web UI (or from scratch) a better, home-made, version. Competition offer it free of charge by the way, as part of their services offer when buying a NAS, I don’t think DRI should make us pay for that, at least not the “standard” functions.

They can perfectly follow their “core functions focus for the mainstream and additional functions only if needed” strategy. They simply have to build a simple web UI out of the box and create a download section, with real new web UI sections (not just downloadable deamons as today) for those who need additional features.

You’re correct, many owners agree completely as do I.
Maybe theyll realise eventually that our issues with apps needs to be taken care of before everybody except the diehards abandon the FS.
Until now I faced several strange and frustrating issues but I’m patient, I bought it, if it does not improve in the next 6 months I might consider buying from another brand.

As a recent review noted, FS is network attached storage, not a network attached server.
I think that’s where the core of the disappointment lies. If you’re expecting a real network attached server and get an FS, you’ll be disappointed.

As balzanto and Ambrius say drobo relies on the community, whist selling the FS as app server as well as NAS server, they should as they say have core company apps (free of charge) that are easy to use, i feel i was misled when i made my purchase (especially with the cloud app).

@bhiga :
I totally agree : we bought a storage as we have been sold a NAS. But to me, NAS stands for Network attached Storage
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network-attached_storage)
Thus it is competing with every other NAS on the market (Syno and Co.), thus everything said until now remains valid, in my opinion.
The writer of that article came to the same conclusion as I (and many) did and unfortunately will do in the future, it is not a NAS, just a deluxe secured external HDD connected via a network plug, but NOT a NAS, as defined as what a NAS can/should be by the competition (not by me ;o) ) and by the functionalities they provide to theirs. :o)

The Synology units look quite kick-butt (and from what I’m told, are) but they do say “NAS server” - and the server part is what makes them shine.

Perhaps that’s why the FS pages don’t have the word “server” in them - except for the Showcase tab… which is where the DroboApps mention is, which of course brings us to this same point. :\

The “nuance” might be too subtle for me here :o)
In my opinion the FS competes in the same league as Syno and Co. If you listen to their promotional video, they make clear reference to other products “too complex for 99% of people”. They clearly refer to that kind of competition, to me.
When simplicity turns into destitution …

We should start a forum in which people can say “I did not buy the DroboFS because DroboApps is not as easy as they say and they do not support them whatsoever” :wink:

When we’d reach like 10 000 they’d make a quick calculation
10 000*600€ = Missed Extra Profit Z - (X developers + X Support engineers) = A lot of money = Next board meeting ~ Unhappy investors :stuck_out_tongue:

Are you listening ‘Drobo’ as a company ‘you’ could make this a killer product, if you would only follow the DroboApps through.

Put in a support ticket so your voice is counted. It won’t be counted the same just by posting here.

I only contacted them once, with a VERY angry mail on which I did not even get an answer :slight_smile:
No more support for me unless it is absolutely imperative.

@graviton What was your case number? I cannot find any cases opened under your email address.

The entire industry, not just Data Robotics, is trying to strike a balance regarding “apps”. Do you prefer the walled garden approach of Apple, or the anything goes approach if you “jail break” an iPhone/iPad/iPod and go to their alternate app communities? Or the open approach of Google toward its Android? Or the semi-closed approach of some Android licensees?

At the moment DroboApps are 100% open. As a result, there is a wide distribution in app quality. Have you sent feedback to the developer if you are not pleased? There is 100% freedom on where to get DroboApps. Some apps are hosted on drobo.com/droboapps for download. And there are other developers who are hosting apps on their own sites.

Drobo FS is a platform for file sharing (SMB and AFP). DroboApps come from the community. As a company we’ve tried diligently to clearly communicate this. We can’t control what information is blogged. If you believe our website sends a message that DRI supports the apps please let me know so that it can be clarified.

Mark,

If you want examples, you could start right on http://www.drobo.com/products/drobo-fs.php

“A Drobo as Unique as you Are
Select from a wide selection of free DroboApps designed to give you the freedom to configure and customize your Drobo FS to meet your own unique set of requirements. Our growing library of DroboApps² adds amazing functionality like media, web, and more!”

If you don’t read the footnote (and who does, it’s in half size font, in pale grey text on a blazing white background, so not exactly easy to read) then this says “these are OUR apps”, implication being that we made them and we will support them.

Changing that one paragraph to remove the footnote and say right there that these apps were made by someone else, that we don’t even check them out to see if they will eat your data or email it to Khazbekistan, and we give no warranties or support, would clarify things enormously. Of course, it would also not make a great marketing point…

Even on the http://www.drobo.com/droboapps/apps-for-drobofs.php page which is supposedly all about the apps, the warnings and disclaimers are buried at the bottom of the page in the half-height grey again, and this time they are not even referenced in the text. They are also after a long list of apps that most people will never read to the end. Once they start seeing Unfsd, etc. (things that consumers don’t understand) they will go to the next page.

Relying on a phrase like “community-created and community-supported” as used at the top of the page is really asking a lot of the “normal” user. Us techies and Linux geeks understand it, but my non-engineer colleagues wouldn’t. They would see the word “supported” and move on thinking they would be looked after.