Upload & Sell: On
I can tell you that Thunderbolt is a godsend. Normally, through USB 2.0 interface, it takes a week to clone a 20 TB array. I took the newest 5D to HQ, lit up Carbon Copy Cloner and a day and a half later it was complete. When the 5D I ordered a few days ago arrives, HQ will be all Drobo with Thunderbolt interface. To paraphrase Gordon Gekko..........."Speed is good!"
I unpacked my Drobo5D this morning, installed a 256GB mSATA SSD in the accelerator bay and five 4TB 7200 rmp HDD's in the five bays. I followed Drobo's quick-start guide to the letter. When I finally threw the power switch the 5D failed to boot properly, with red lights on all the drive bays and Drobo Dashboard giving it the thumbs down, even though it connected to Dashboard without a hitch. I used Dashboard to force a reset and it all came up green the second time around, and checked out perfectly. Weird.
My first speed tests are not as happy-making: moving data from the iMac's Fusion drive to the Drobo via Thunderbolt, the max data rate I've seen is about 9GB/minute, which is roughly equivalent to Jim's anecdotal claim of 20TB in one-and-a-half-days. But that 9GB/minute was a straight folder copy, internal HDD-to-Drobo, using the Finder. When I put a Carbon Copy Cloner task in charge of cloning my iMac's boot disk on the Drobo, the data rate dropped to about 3GB/min, just a tiny bit faster than a Finder copy from one of my external FireWire HDD's to the Drobo (using a FireWire-to-Thunderbolt adapter).
More investigation is warranted. Maybe the overall transfer rate using CCC will end up being higher than it seems at the start: right now I'm at 18 minutes and 54.8GB transferred.
As for the iMac 27", I'm pleased with its performance so far. D800 files still take longer to render at 1:1 in LR4 than I'd like, but if I bite the bullet and have LR4 create 1:1 previews, the time from selecting an image to seeing the crisp, 1:1 image is less than half a second. And the iMac's display is beautiful, putting my 4-year-old Apple Cinema Display 30" in the shade: crisper, brighter, better color (whatever that means): photos just 'pop'.