BeyondRAID: Storage Without Limitations

BeyondRAID technology, built into every Drobo, delivers all of the benefits of traditional RAID, while providing much more and leaving many of the limitations behind. This next-generation of redundant storage technology brings together enhanced protection, reliability, expandability, and ease-of-use.

Drobos, based on BeyondRAID, interact with computing systems in the same manner as storage arrays using traditional RAID, so installing a Drobo allows you to maintain your current operating system and file system. This eliminates the challenges and costs when moving to a new storage technology.

Raid graphic

Problems with Traditional RAID

RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) was developed in the 1980s to pool disk drives for increased capacity and reliability for data storage. Since then, RAID has been a huge success, preventing single disk drive failures from causing data loss, and has been used in almost every enterprise data center.

Unfortunately, the complexity of RAID has made it challenging for small businesses and consumers to effectively use the technology. RAID has a high learning curve with many options. There's RAID levels 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, and 60 along with unfamiliar terminology like striping, mirroring, and parity.

Aside from complexity, these are the primary challenges with traditional RAID:

  • Lock-in of RAID levels. To change RAID levels, most storage arrays require the data to be moved off of it, reconfigured, and then moved back on. If you want to move to RAID 6 from RAID 5 for protection against two drive failures, it's a reinitialize and start over.
  • Lack of expandability. Once drives are configured into a RAID pool, that is it. If you want to add more storage capacity, the solution is to create a new RAID pool, leaving you with another chunk of storage to manage - or you can just reinitialize and start over.
  • Debilitated state after a drive failure. When a drive fails, most RAID implementations enter a state where data loss will occur if another drive falters before the user replaces the failed drive. Also, performance is hampered when in this debilitated state.

Moving Beyond RAID

Drobo's BeyondRAID technology solves these fundamental issues with traditional RAID while delivering much more. Built on an advanced virtualization platform, BeyondRAID chooses the correct protection algorithm based on data availability needs at any given moment.Since the technology works at the block level, it can write blocks of data that alternate between data protection approaches.

If you need to add storage capacity to a Drobo, simply insert additional disk drives or replace the smallest disks with larger ones - no need to change RAID levels, purchase a new storage array or go through the complex administration of pooling RAID groups. The BeyondRAID feature even allows IT managers to switch from single to dual disk redundancy with a single click, thereby ensuring enterprise-level dual parity data protection if required. If a drive happens to fail, Drobo will automatically re-layout the data to return to a protected state without any user interaction.

BeyondRAID vs Traditional RAID

Supports Two Drives X

Supports Three Drives
Supports Four Drives or More
Single Disk Redundancy X X X X
Dual Disk Redundancy

Thin Provisioning

Instant Expansion

Smart Volumes

Mixed Drive Utilization

Automatic Protection Levels

Virtual Hot Spare

Data Aware

Drive Re-ordering