Like every other website on the planet, SmallNetBuilder uses cookies. Our cookies track login status, but we only allow admins to log in anyway, so those don't apply to you. Any other cookies you pick up during your visit come from advertisers, which we don't control.
If you continue to use the site, you agree to tolerate our use of cookies. Thank you!

Router Charts

Click for Router Charts

Router Ranker

Click for Router Ranker

NAS Charts

Click for NAS Charts

NAS Ranker

Click for NAS Ranker

More Tools

Click for More Tools

NAS Reviews

Performance

Firmware version 4.0.0[13.13.89501] was loaded onto the 5N2 and performance tests were run using the Revision 5 NAS test process. All tests were run using Western Digital Red 1 TB WD10EFRX (x4 SNB supplied). Although the sample 5N2 Drobo provided had an mSATA SSD installed, that's not the stock configuration. So I removed it for most testing.

Since Drobo doesn't allow direct control of RAID levels, I can't fairly directly compare it to other NASes in the charts. In fact, I created a new "Auto" class so the NAS Ranker wouldn't mix it in with RAID5 class products. But since the 5N2's default mode is single disk redundancy and a four-drive volume was used, results are posted in the NAS Charts as RAID5.

The benchmark summary below show performance typical of today's NASes, i.e. file copy of large continuous files pretty much max out the capacity of a Gigabit Ethernet connection. The main exception is NASPT File Copy to NAS (write), which is about 10 MB/s low compared to the other File Copy results.

Benchmark summary

Benchmark summary

For comparison, I chose a typical mid-range NAS, Synology's DS416. It costs around $350 vs. the 5N2's $499 and is powered by a dual-core Annapurna Labs Alpine AL-212 vs. the 5N2's quad-core Marvell Armada XP. The comparison shows only one other benchmark where the Drobo's performance significantly lags: NASPT Directory Copy to NAS.

Benchmark summary comparison

Benchmark summary comparison

I also rans tests in the following modes shown in the chart below to see how performance varied:

  • 1 Drive, No Cache: This is the data entered into the NAS Charts, taken with default single drive redundancy and no SSD cache. It would be the default performance for a stock 5N2 with four drives.
  • 1 Drive, w/ Cache: Same as above, but with SSD cache installed.
  • 2 Drive, No Cache: SSD cache removed, dual-drive redundancy enabled and volume resync completed.
  • Volume Build: Test was run while volume was being changed from single to dual-drive redundancy.

Drobo 5N2 - Performance vs. modes

Drobo 5N2 - Performance vs. modes

SSD cache doesn't provide any benefit in these tests because the benchmarks are designed to defeat cache effects. The results also show no performance penalty (or advantage) when using dual-drive redundancy. The only price paid there is lots of storage capacity.

There is a significant read hit when volumes are being rebuilt, but that's to be expected.

Closing Thoughts

There may be many reasons you would not choose a Drobo as your NAS, but performance is no longer one of them. Sure, you'll pay a price premium for the benefit of being able to painlessly expand storage capacity and use whatever 3.5" drives you have lying around. But Drobo will move those large media files around as well as most any other NAS you can buy.

I'd really like to see Drobo provide more options for backing up its files. Backup via standard rsync would be a minimum; backup via SMB and FTP like NETGEAR ReadyNAS has would nice additions, too. As robust as Drobo is, hardware failures do happen, as do fire and theft.

If you want to easiest and surest way of expanding storage if and when you need it and don't mind paying more, then you should check out Drobo's 5N2.

More NAS

Wi-Fi System Tools
Check out our Wi-Fi System Charts, Ranker and Finder!

Support Us!

If you like what we do and want to thank us, just buy something on Amazon. We'll get a small commission on anything you buy. Thanks!

Over In The Forums

Hi,I just flashed 384_10 (factory reset done as well) on a friends AC86U and although 5GHz radio is broadcasting fine, NO DEVICE can connect to 5GHz w...
Howdy.HW:1 x TD-W9970 TPLink1 x TG-789 Technicolor1 x R7000 with Merlin + AB-Solution/Diversion + 2 x VPN2 x Asus Blue Cave40 2.4Ghz devices... Sonoff...
move if needed i’ll be purchasing another r7000 or ac68u and running asuswrt merlin on whatever one i get. i posted it in this forum because you guys...
Hey allSo I have a 2 floor 4800 sq foot house and a gigabit cable connection.Cable for service comes out at one side of the house and I have RJ 47 run...
Does anyone know what this log entry is identifying and should I be concerned? Any info is greatly appreciated. ThanksAlso this shows right above that...

Don't Miss These

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3