Data storage company Drobo has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in California’s Northern Bankruptcy Court.
While this doesn’t mean the company is shutting down, it suggests that Drobo’s current form is unsustainable as a business and offers the chance for the company to restructure and discharge some debt.
As reported by PopPhoto, the company will have its first creditor meeting tomorrow (July 19) and parties who plan to make claims against Drobo’s assets have until October 17 to file them in court.
The process offers the company a chance to stay intact but it raises red flags about Drobo’s situation. Drobo and its parent company, Storcentric, have existing debt and it also does not appear to have much stock it can sell to consumers, leaving them without a meaningful revenue avenue.
An Early Player in Data Storage
Drobo was one of the earliest names in both direct and network-attached storage (NAS), after it launched its original product, the storage robot, in 2007.
The company offered some helpful features, such as the ability to swap hard drives without the need to manually migrate data. It ran BeyondRAID technology that offers faster reads and writes than a single hard drive can achieve. Even better than that, it meant that if one drive failed, the user does not lose access to their data because it spreads the files across multiple drives. Drobo became a popular choice for photographers through the mid-2000s.
However, there were problems with the system. Users reported slow speeds and unreliability and high-profile photographer Trey Ratcliff proclaimed in December 2011: “I no longer use my Drobos,” which he called “much cheaper and much slower, and many people believe less reliable.” While Scott Kelby continued the criticism in June 2012 and published a letter entitled: “I’m done with Drobo.”
In 2015, Drobo merged with Connected Data, but just two years later Connected Data divested itself off Drobo, leaving the company on its own once more.
In 2018, photographer Sam Gibson wrote a damning article for PetaPixel, where he expressed regret for buying the Drobo 5C and lamented not listening to Kelby’s letter, “I’m done with Drobo,” six years prior.
Drobo was then sold to StorCentric and, since then, the stock of Drobo’s products seems to have vanished with the parent company alluding to delays in its supply chain problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.