Drobo Pro actually can work for video editing – with the right machine

When I bought a Drobo Pro more than a year ago, I thought it was going to be the perfect solution to storing big files and editing them. With the Drobo Pro’s iscsi gigabit ethernet connector, it should be as fast as esata, which is plenty fast for editing HD video. But it didn’t end up so rosey: when I connected my 3-year-old MacBook Pro, iscsi never worked as advertised. In fact, it was slower than Firewire 800. Repeated support tickets were incapable of resolving the issue. So I was stuck using it as an archival storage server, rather than for editing on directly.

But yesterday, things changed. In preparation to cut my first feature film, I’ve purchased an iMac 27″ fully loaded war pony. And the thought occurred to me, as I saddled her up, to give Drobo iscsi one last chance. So I cabled it up, and boom, it works. Look at these numbers!

80 MB/s write times! 77 MB/s read times! It’s my editing dream come true. Well, actually, it’s what Drobo advertised when I bought the thing, but I’d come to expect much less from the company. I still wouldn’t recommend purchasing a Drobo Pro, because who knows whether it’ll work with YOUR machine. But today, at least, I am one happy boy, as I contemplate more than 3 terabytes of film and audio that I’ll be scrubbing, tagging, cutting, previewing, and rendering into a film without any storage bottlenecks.

And as for the iMac? Oh. My. God. It’s amazing. But that’s another post.

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