If you’ve been following along, you might remember that I finally pulled the plug on our Drobo network attached storage (NAS). I replaced it with a second Synology because I worried about depending on such old technology. Drobo filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, and they haven’t had anything for sale for a very long time. Having a pair of Synologys will also give me advanced capabilities.
I wrote about this extensively in October https://www.podfeet.com/blog/2022/10/drobo-died-again/ and I’m not going to rehash the whole exercise, but there was a really interesting development this week.
After I got the new Synology up and running, and conquered using rsync to back up the new Synology to the older one, it was time to decommission the Drobo 5N2. Steve asked me if we should try to sell it.
My first reaction was that it would be a waste of time to try because surely it wouldn’t be worth anything these days. Luckily Steve didn’t listen to me. He went to eBay, searched on Drobo 5N2, and set the filters to look only at sold items. To our surprise, they were selling for around $500 in the past week!
Our 5N2 has an mSATA accelerator card, and we had it populated with five 4TB hard drives. We could have saved those drives and sold it bare, but I’ve moved on to using 8 and 12TB drives so they probably would have sat around gathering dust. Steve said he’d take on the job of selling the Drobo.
The first task was to erase the drives securely. He has a bare-drive toaster, and it took about three days to erase all five drives. Then he had to put them back into the Drobo and let it reformat them to form a redundant array for the system.
He took screenshots of the Drobo Dashboard software showing that all five drives were working properly and forming the array and that the mSATA drive was functioning. One of the things that increases the sale price on eBay is if there are a lot of photos. He took shots from every angle possible, from the green lights lit up from the front all the way to the bottom with the mSATA drive bay open.
He carefully read other items that had sold for good prices and made sure to include all of the appropriate keywords, while emphasizing that this model was going to come with disks and that accelerator card.
We were leaving on a short trip, so he pulled the drives and individually bubble-wrapped them so they wouldn’t get damaged or damage the Drobo itself in transit. He packaged the whole thing up, and weighed it.
Knowing the weight and box size was important for selling on eBay, where they have better shipping pricing than we can get as normal humans. The price to ship was $42, but when he put it up for sale he set it so that the buyer would pay for the shipping.
Now it was time to pick a starting price. I’m no eBay export by any means, but I’ve read that you’re better off starting with a low price, so Steve set the starting bid for $400 and set the bidding to finish in 5 days. This was another reason he wanted it all packed up ahead of time — he figured his rating would be higher if he instantly shipped it after the bidding closed.
With breathless anticipation, he watched the bids over 5 days, tracking the number of views, and the number of people who had it on their watchlist. When the final day came, the winning bid was $660! eBay takes their fee, so his final payout was $605 real money.
Isn’t that astonishing? I’m so happy Steve had the time and energy to do all of this. Now he’s trolling around the house for other things he can sell!