Drobo Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Following Pandemic Downturn
You have countless options for storing large amounts of data these days, but that wasn’t the case in the early 2000s. That’s when Drobo released its first home storage devices, which proved very popular at the time. It’s been hanging around for all these years until now. According to a California court filing, Drobo filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It’s not stopping, but there could be a lot of changes along the way.
Drobo was among the first to offer scalable storage devices for home and small businesses. Its Drobo enclosures allowed users to load various hard drives and merge them into one large pool of storage. It was way ahead of the competition at the time – several ET personnel either had Drobos or desperately wanted one.
You might think Drobo’s Vanity doesn’t look very impressive. After all, network attached storage (NAS) enclosures are incredibly common these days, but that’s probably why Drobo is in this mess. Companies like Synology have outpaced Drobo’s capabilities for high-volume on-premises storage, and cloud services like Dropbox and iCloud support backups for more casual users.
By filing Chapter 11, Drobo will have a chance to restructure after paying off some of its debt. The first meeting of creditors is July 19. Parties with claims against Drobo assets have until October 17 to file them with the court. So Drobo is at least trying to get things done. Otherwise, he would have filed Chapter 7 to liquidate the company. Yet this situation looks bleak.
Drobo has been badly affected by the pandemic, with CEO Mihir Shah noting in early 2020 that he expected production delays due to issues with his supply chain. According to Apple Insider, customers are advised that Drobo sales and support will continue to operate. However, the company’s online store shows that all of its signature record cases are currently sold out. It will struggle to meet its creditors’ obligations with no product to sell, and suppliers won’t be eager to cut a bankrupt company off any slack to restart production.
Drobo has not outlined its future plans or even publicly acknowledged the bankruptcy filing. However, it’s hard to see how the company will move forward without major changes. Its current offerings, if they were even available for purchase, cost about the same as comparable Synology DiskStations, but they lack Synology’s app support and features. And then there’s a whole world of NAS devices from brands like QNAP and TerraMaster that cost even less.