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    Top 5 test drives of 2016

    Dr. Flucke, Chief Dental Editor and Technology Editor at DPR, breaks down the products that blew him away this year.



    Drobo 5N

    If you are looking for a place to store all of your digital data, look no further than Drobo. The Drobo company has been making products for several years, but in 2016 they decided to enter the dental industry.

    Drobo makes a variety of external hard drives for backing up and/or storing your data. However, they do it with a unique twist. Drobo devices contain multiple hard drives and store your information redundantly on all of the drives (like a server). Drobo solves the problem of a failed hard drive—if one of your hard drives fails, it can easily be replaced.

    Related article: Imaging in a HIPAA world

    A light on the front of the device will indicate which drive has failed. You then simply open a door on the front, remove the failed drive (it simply slides out) and slide in a new hard drive. The Drobo device will then format the drive and begin using it—all done automatically. It is an amazingly simple process. The other great advantage is that Drobo uses a proprietary format so the hard drives can only be read in another Drobo device. This helps with security. Also, the hard drives used are the same standard hard drives found in PCs so getting a new one, if needed, is easy and inexpensive. The Drobo 5N that I am currently using has room for five drives. I chose to fill those slots with three Terabyte Western Digital hard drives, which means I now have 15 Terabytes of storage. That is an insane amount of space.

    The other great thing about this particular model is the letter “N” in the name. It stands for “network” and means that the device is a “NAS” (network attached storage) which can be accessed by any computer on my network. The Drobo 5N has a gigabit Ethernet connection which allows it to deliver and receive data at the maximum speed of my network. They have also recently developed apps that allow you to access the device from your phone or tablet.

    The past year has been a fun one for me. I love staying on the leading edge, and testing (and sometimes breaking) gear is something that I love to do. I hope that this list of my Top 5 for the year will help you as well. Happy Holidays! 

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    Dr. John Flucke
    Dr. John Flucke is in private practice in Lee’s Summit, Mo. He also serves as technology editor for Dental Products Report magazine and ...


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