Hardware RAID and recommended controllers
Hi, new here, not new to Linux but a bit out of practice.
I'm getting ready to replace my old software RAID fileserver that's been around since '01 with a new box, and I'd like to make it as intuitive to operate once running as possible. Hardware wise, I'm looking at eight drives. Two small drives mirrored for the OS, five very large ( 1.5TB or 2TB ) drives RAID5, and one more drive like the five online as a hot spare. As for the rest of the computer, I've got a dual-Xeon 2.4GHz Socket 603 board and chips laying around, with 5 or 6 64 bit PCI-X slots, so I figured that I'd look for a controller that fits that board.
What I'm looking to find out is what distributions have good RAID tools for things like identifying drives as they go bad, switching over to rebuild the array off of a hot spare, etc, and what hardware would work best? I know that SAS will use SATA drives, so I'm probably going to go that way if I can find software to do this.
Most of my experience is with Debian, though I started with Slack and tried Redhat 5.1 and SuSE before ending up with Debian.