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“Storage robot” gains community-built apps

Oct 23, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Data Robotics has announced a new “Linux Dashboard” and other community-developed “DroboApps” for its Linux-based DroboShare network-storage device. The company is also shipping a more powerful, Firewire-equipped version of the SOHO-targeted Drobo “storage robot,” which is network-enabled by… the DroboShare companion.

(Click for larger view of new Drobo for Firewire 800 sitting atop the Linux-based DroboShare networking device)

Introduced in 2007, the Drobo storage system runs VxWorks, as does the new Firewire-enabled Drobo for Firewire 800. In January, however, Data Robotics announced a Linux-based DroboShare device that acts as a network companion and gateway to the Drobo, turning the combo into the equivalent of a network-attached storage device.

Drobo for Firewire 800

At the same time, the company announced a Linux-based software development kit (SDK) for the DroboShare. Data Robotics formally released the SDK in July 2008, opening it up to the developers. The DroboApps SDK was developed in-house, after starting out with the Linux BSP (board support package) supplied by Marvell for its PXA-series processors. Other ported software included Samba file sharing programs.

When the SDK and DroboShare were announced, Data Robotics also offered a $2,000 bounty for a port of its “Dashboard” Drobo configuration application to Linux. A Drobo Developer Community (DDC) member named “Philobyte” apparently won the bounty, and has now released his “Linux Dashboard” app, which is said to open up greater control of the Drobo device for Linux developers, providing many of the functions offered to Windows and OS X users.

The DroboApps SDK has now been used to create or port some 20 DroboApps that control the DroboShare and Drobo. Applications include an iTunes music server, a port of the rsync local file-copying server, UPnP and DLNA media streaming, BitTorrent downloading, web server functionality, and a remote access app that uses the “Yoics” client.

The Linux-based DroboShare networking companion is a 6.0 x 1.75 x 10.7-inch device that sits underneath the Drobo. Based on a Marvell 5182 processor, it offers 128MB RAM, a gigabit Ethernet port, and two USB 2.0 ports. For more on the DroboShare, please see our previous coverage.

The new “Drobo for Firewire 800,” meanwhile, is intended to eventually replace the original, now discounted, Drobo. Features are said to include redundant data protection, hot expansion up to 16TB, mixed drive capacities, dual FireWire 800 ports, and a faster version 2.0 USB port.


The full list of DroboApps should be found here. The Drobo developer page should be here, and a description of the Linux Dashboard application, with a link to a direct download page, may be found here. The DroboShare is available for $200, and the new Drobo for Firewire 800 is available for $500, or $900 for a 2TB version and $1,300 for a 4TB version, says Data Robotics.

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