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I totally agree with you in principle. But you're being too generous with your density advantage as compared to hotswap. I can't tell if your pods are 4U or 5U, but your motherboard vendor sells a 4U front & back chasis that has 36 3.5" sas trays.

Obviously that setup will run you more than yours, but I'd be surprised if the delta was more than 1k once you subbed in your consumer mb, controllers and backplanes.

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