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Hot-swap RAID vs Drobo Questions

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linux-howto

http://forums.opensuse.org – I have a file / print server built around OpenSUSE with 4 x 500G drives in a RAID 5. It has worked great and I share files with Linux, Mac, Windows, etc. The RAID is getting full and I plan to pick up 4 x 1.5G or bigger drives. I have been doing some research, and have a few questions: 1. Has anyone got a hot-swap RAID system working with SUSE? I see drive bays that claim to support it, but I am wondering if anyone has done it. It would be great if the drive lights could match status too (i.e. red if failed instead of just activity) 2. Is getting a RAID card worth it? They are about $400+ and it seems that the software based one works fine... 3. I like the concept of a DROBO where you can mix and match drives and add them easily as time goes on. I saw unRAID and a few other linux methods, but I am not sure it works as easily. Since changing drives hardly ever happens, I am not sure the drobo is worth the price. Although a drobo and a mini-pc running OpenSUSE might be my next file server. What do you think? Thanks! (Distributions)