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Some time ago, I bought a Drobo FS to use as a home NAS device. My reasons for going with the Drobo instead of either rolling my own with something like FreeNAS or using a faster home NAS box from Synology or QNAP are complex, but they come down to a desire for an extremely simple-to-use NAS that I can throw hard disks into without worrying about doing anything at all with the disk layout (for a lot more on why and how, check part one of my two-part Ars Technica Drobo FS review). I gained many things coming to the Drobo FS from Windows Home Server v1, but one of the things I lost was the ability to easily and securely access the files on my NAS via the web.
The Drobo FS (and, indeed, most Drobo models) have the ability to run homebrew applications directly on the boxes themselves, though one barrier to simply porting a bunch of awesome utilities over and running them is that the Drobo FS runs on an ARM processor and aspiring Drobo app devs need to construct an ARM toolchain & cross-compiling environment in order to produce programs which will run. Drobo provides a small number of ported essential apps on their site, but the apps aren’t well-maintained or officially supported. There are a couple of web servers, an FTP daemon, an NFS daemon, an SSH daemon, and a few other things—enough to get you excited about the possibility of doing something really neat, but not enough to really do more than play around.
Enter DroboPorts, a site maintained by ambitious and skilled Drobo owner Ricardo Padilha, which offers an awesome variety of ported applications and libraries for the Drobo FS, including current versions of bash, OpenSSH, Python, PHP, lighttpd, Ruby, MySQL, and many others (along with instructions on building the aforementioned cross-compiling environment). The Drobo family of boxes will never be renowned for being speed demons or for having scads of free RAM or CPU to throw around on extra processes & applications like these, but there’s certainly enough capacity on board to let you run a web application or two, and this got me excited.