2022-Data storage solutions manufacturer Drobo files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in California: Digital Photography Review


Drobo Bankruptcy

Storage system producer Drobo has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy alongside its dad or mum firm, StorCentric, in California’s Northern Bankruptcy Court. Whereas chapter doesn’t essentially imply the corporate will dissolve, it does indicate it’s in its present type unsustainable as a enterprise, which may complicate issues for photographers and videographers alike who use Drobo’s line of exterior storage merchandise.

Drobo was based in San Jose, California again in Could 2005 beneath the identify Information Robotics. Through the years, its line of Drobo merchandise took maintain within the knowledge storage market, providing easy options for anybody needing to retailer and again up their digital knowledge. In contrast to lots of its rivals, Drobo succeeded in simplicity, with a proprietary expertise that allowed customers to hot-swap laborious drives with out the necessity to manually migrate knowledge. Ought to one of many drives in a Drobo product fail, merely come out the damaged drive, throw in a brand new one, and carry in your approach.

Drobo 2
Drobo’s present line of merchandise, though you may be hard-pressed to search out these accessible as new at any retailer.

After half a decade of success with its Drobo model, Information Robotics renamed itself to Drobo, Inc. in 2011. Two years later, it might go on to merge with Related Information, Inc. in the summertime of 2013, turning into an impartial subsidiary of the corporate.

As detailed by Mike Tomkins in Popular Photography, Drobo was off to a rosy begin as an organization. At a time when RAID options weren’t essentially commonplace within the shopper world, Drobo supplied a lifeline to creatives who needed a easy answer to conserving their knowledge secure. Issues began taking a flip, nonetheless, on the flip of the last decade, with a number of notable names within the pictures trade publicly asserting they had been not utilizing Drobo merchandise because of their unreliability and sluggish speeds.

Particularly, each Trey Ratcliff and Scott Kelby shared articles detailing why they had been leaving Drobo within the mud. In his 2011 update to his authentic Drobo evaluation, Ratcliff stated he discovered his Drobo merchandise to be ‘less expensive and far slower, and many individuals consider much less dependable, than different merchandise in the marketplace. In 2012, Kelby wrote an article titled ‘I’m Done with Drobo,’ whereby he states that ‘for the fourth time one among [his] Drobos is a brick.’ That, regardless of the drives inside nonetheless being practical, he was unable to entry any of his pictures – ‘not a one.’ He even shared a 54-second video displaying his five-bay Drobo on the fritz, as its lights blinked and drives spun:

Ultimately, the Drobo model was acquired by an ‘Funding Group Comprised of Seasoned Tech Executives’ in Could 2015. Through the years beneath this possession, Drobo launch new merchandise on an annual foundation, however began to really feel the warmth because the likes of Buffalo, Lacie, Promise Expertise, QNAP, Synology, Western Digitals and others improved their simplicity and expanded their respective product strains at a worth beneath what Drobo’s proprietary expertise got here in at.

Three years later in August 2018, Drobo would once again be sold, this time to StorCentric, a ‘newly fashioned buyer centric storage options firm.’ Drobo, alongside Nexsan, who StorCentric bought on the identical time, remained an impartial division beneath the StorCentric group. After that announcement, nonetheless, Drobo has been pretty quiet on the information entrance. As seen on its Press Release page on its web site, far fewer bulletins had been made every year and just one new product was introduced, the Drobo 8D in 2018. Except for that announcement, the remainder of the press releases are both advertising materials or bulletins about different acquisitions and enterprise strikes from its StorCentric dad or mum firm.

Drobo 1
One in all Drobo’s stand-out options was its intelligent use of lights to let customers know the present capability and stability of the drives contained in the bays.

Since its final announcement in 2018, the state of affairs seems to have solely gotten worse for Drobo. Primarily based on product listings, each on Drobo’s personal web site and retailers, almost its whole lineup of merchandise, each consumer- and commercial-facing, have been discontinued and have confirmed tough to return by. COVID-19 and the ensuing international provide chain points seems to have additionally performed a task, with StorCentric CEO, Mihir Shah, posting this letter titled ‘CEO Letter – Keeping You in Mind As We Move Forward’ to a devoted url on the corporate’s web site in Could 2020. In it, he says the corporate is ‘attempting to mitigate the influence of any delay within the provide chain.’ It doesn’t seem as if provide has elevated because the begin of the pandemic, nonetheless, and no additional replace has been supplied.

Contemplating this chapter submitting is the primary main information from the corporate in over three years, it paints a bleak image for the model, its staff and the end-users who depend on Drobo {hardware} to maintain their knowledge secure.

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The Drobo Mini used 2.5″ HDDs or SSDs, making it one among their extra compact choices.

Chapter 11 chapter doesn’t essentially imply an finish to the corporate, model and/or its merchandise. Its goal is to assign a trustee from the Department of Justice’s U.S. Trustee Program who will then work to reorganize the corporate and settle any money owed it’s incurred in an effort to maintain the corporate working with out additional money owed and losses. Whereas it’s potential for an organization to make it by way of a Chapter 11 submitting intact, Drobo’s state of affairs is sort of dire. Not solely does Drobo and StorCentric have current debt, it additionally doesn’t seem to have any provide readily available to promote to shoppers, leaving virtually no significant approach of bringing in income.

Drobo’s first court docket look is scheduled for tomorrow and collectors have till October 17, 2022 to make claims to money owed they’re owed. This implies Drobo will at the least have its fingers full all through the rest of the 12 months and can seemingly see this influence its operation by way of 2023 and past.


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