Drobo, having stopped sales and support, reportedly files Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Drobo, having stopped sales and support, reportedly files Chapter 7 bankruptcy
May 2023

You don't hear nearly as much about Drobo boxes as you used to, especially on sites like Ars Technica. We now have some news, but it isn't good.

StorCentric, the holding company for the Drobo and Retrospect brands, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in late June 2022. Now, AppleInsider reports that, based on an email sent by StorCentric, the bankruptcy shifted from reorganization-minded Chapter 11 to liquidation-focused Chapter 7 in late April.

The writing for Drobo was on the wall, or at least on its website. Text at the top of the homepage notes that, as of January 27, 2023, Drobo products and support for them are no longer available. "Drobo support has transitioned to a self-service model," the site reads. "We thank you for being a Drobo customer and entrusting us with your data."

Drobo began in 2005 as Data Robotics and launched into the tech consciousness with the original Drobo, a "storage robot." The marquee feature was being able to hot-swap drives of nearly any size without migrating data. In our review of the initial $500 Drobo, we liked its low management requirements, flexible data protection schemes, and "quiet, sleek, and attractive" body (please keep in mind the 2007 date).

Senior Technology Editor Lee Hutchinson's first front-page Ars feature was a two-part, in-depth look at the Drobo FS (here's part 2) in 2011. Drobo wasn't the fastest or most secure, nor did it sport elegant software. But it was "competent, powerful, extensible, and above all else just plain easy."

We'd mention the Drobo option--less nerd cred, more usability--in occasional reviews and roundups of the network-attached storage (NAS) market. But cloud storage, streaming media, and a general trend away from "huge piles of local files" for all but the most specialized hobbies and careers seemingly ate away at Drobo over time. A NAS that wasn't quite a full NAS but wasn't as easy to use as, say, Backblaze or one of many S3 resellers made for a tough pitch to most people considering a consumer data storage device.

We've reached out to Drobo/StorCentric for comment and will update this post if we hear back.

Listing image by Lee Hutchinson