This is the first time in my 25+ years in computing that a hardware manufacturer has informed me that it wants to charge me for a firmware update to a consumer electronics product. I checked my Drobo for firmware updates yesterday and was startled to receive this message:
It was bad enough that my DroboShare experience was a disaster. Despite promised upgrades, Data Robotics support folks could never get it to work properly with my Vista 64 or my XP systems on my home network – others had the same problem. They just gave up. To this day, my DroboShare sits unused on a shelf in my closet – $300+ wasted!
In-depth forum posts that I wrote about this topic on the DroboSpace forum are now hidden behind user account walls – viewable only by Drobo owners. Serial numbers are now needed to access their forum. This wasn’t the case last year.
To have to PAY for firmware upgrades (which amount to nothing more than bug fixes over time) for Drobo hardware is ridiculous.
I gather that if they ever do fix the DroboShare problems which made the product unusable from the beginning, I’ll have to pay an upgrade fee! Give me a break!
I still love my Drobo, but I’m beginning to resent Data Robotics .
UPDATE: February 26, 2009 – I received the following email from Mark, Fuccio, Sr. Dir. Products & Markets for Data Robotics Inc. wherein he points out that the next version of the Drobo dashboard software will allow users continued access to firmware updates/bug fixes:
Google alerted me to your recent blog post regarding DroboCare. You may not have received the news – DRI has changed DroboCare so that firmware updates are free. Below is an extract from a new posting to drobospace:
Data Robotics Inc. is decoupling firmware and software updates from hardware warranty and technical support. We are realigning the DroboCare program so that it pertains only to hardware warranty and the ability to open a technical support case. As in the past, all Drobo owners will be entitled to receive bug fixes. Drobo Dashboard will change to allow owners to check for and install updates independently of whether they have an active DroboCare subscription.
Questions & Answers
Q: I want to upgrade my Drobo’s firmware, but the Dashboard says that my DroboCare has expired. What should I do?
A: Upgrade to the beta version of Drobo Dashboard 1.3. This version removes the checking that links the ability to do firmware upgrades to the subscription status of DroboCare.
Q: How do I get the beta release?
A: The beta release is available for download from drobospace.com. You must be a registered member at drobospace.com. Then follow these steps: 1) join the "Drobo Dashboard Public Beta" group at this page http://www.drobospace.com/group/23/Drobo-Dashboard-Public-Beta/ , 2) download the installer appropriate to your operating system (OS X or Windows).
Please contact me if you additional questions or comments.
Sr. Dir. Products & Markets
Data Robotics Inc.
I went to the forum (where I have been a member since I purchased my Drobo) and joined the ‘Drobo Dashboard Public Beta’ group as Mark suggested. However, some members were having trouble with the beta software. Since Drobo is my ‘trusted’ repository for all my data, I do not want to run beta software. I will wait until the final release of the 1.3.0 software before I attempt an upgrade.