The best home network drive for backups, video streaming and file sharing

Home Network Drive

Home networks typically have a WiFi access point and most of their files are handled offsite using a cloud drive. And if the homeowner is smart, they also use an online backup service to ensure they never lose precious family photos and documents.

What’s usually missing is the ability to quickly share and store large files locally, without having to upload, sync and download to another computer or device. That includes local backups of your computer(s) and large files, like home videos, TV shows and movies that you would like to stream and play on your computer or TV.

In the past, you had to have dedicated equipment for each function. For example, if you wanted an entertainment server, you would have to set up Plex on a dedicated server. And if you wanted a file server, especially one that was redundant – using multiple drives in case of hard drive failure – you would have to set up a complicated and expensive RAID configuration.

The only thing you need to have now in order to have redundant file backups, an entertainment server and fast file sharing on your local network is a Drobo 5N2.

My Drobo 5N2 at Home

Local backups made easy

The Drobo 5N2 lets you use up to 5 hard drives, and they can be any size and make. The more hard drives you add to it, the more space you can use for your backups. This is great for homes that have two or more computers they need to backup over their network.

The most amazing feature of the Drobo is that in the unlikely case one of the hard drives goes bad, you can simply pull it out and you won’t lose any data. The entire system is redundant, and all you have to do is buy a new drive and stick it back in. Drobo will take care of the rest. There’s also a feature that enables double redundancy, which is what I use on my Drobo 5N2. That means I could have multiple drives fail, and still not lose any data!

Make Time Machine backups without a Time Capsule

Since my home network is made up entirely of Macs, the simplest way to backup my computers is to use Time Machine. Fortunately, Drobo supports Time Machine enabled network shares. That means I can allocate space on the Drobo for all of my computers’ Time Machine backups.

Drobo supports Time Machine Backups

Drobo support Plex and several other apps

Drobo 5N2 doesn’t just provide redundant backups and a file server, it also supports popular apps and servers like ownCloud and Plex.

I run Plex on my Drobo so I can stream home videos, TV shows and movies to my iOS devices and my TV. Plex supports iOS and Android, and they even have an Apple TV app, which is awesome!

Plex Entertainment Server

Everything you need to get setup

These are all the things I bought to set up the perfect network drive for my home with the Drobo 5N2:

  1. Base model of the Drobo 5N2
  2. 5 Western Digital Red 3TB NAS hard drives
    Cheaper and better than what comes with typical Drobo 5N2 package deals.
    ℹ️ If you want faster NAS Hard Drives, consider buying the Western Digital Red Pro NAS hard drives. However, it’s important to note that not only are they more expensive, they are also a lot louder than the non-Pro line.
  3. mSATA SSD
    This is optional, but it turns your Drobo 5N2 into a super fast LAN file server

My Drobo Configuration

Bottomline, the Drobo 5N2 is the best all-in-one home network drive and entertainment server that I’ve ever owned and used.