My Drobo arrived today. It is a slick device. As one accustomed to the PC world, even the unboxing was a treat. The typical piece of PC hardware comes in utilitarian packaging. You're just going to throw it away anyway, so why put effort into it? Drobo takes a more Macintosh-like approach. Unboxing is an experience. The box is just brown cardboard like any other, but opening it one is greeted with the words, "Welcome to the world of..." on top. Lifting the smaller box out reveals the word "Drobo" on a cloth bag surrounding the unit. The inside of the main box is all colored black. Even the polystyrene protectors--typically white--are colored black.
The drobo itself is solid. It is smaller than I imagined and looks slick with the glossy front panel and matte sides. The faceplate comes off to reveal the drive bays. The front panel appears to be held in place by magnets making for an easy fit that won't break when the plastic connectors become weak.
I bought Western Digital's new Green Power (GP) drives for it. These have variable spindle speeds and some other features to reduce the power consumption to about half of a typical drive. Along with this comes a reduction in sound and heat. They're a little slower than the top drives, but not too much. Inserting the drives is trivial. Just push them into place.
I'll post later on how well it actually works.