For those of you who were waiting to buy a Data Robotics Drobo, wait no longer!
Data Robotics announced the release of the second iteration of their 4-bay expandable storage solution, Drobo. Many potential buyers were aghast at the original version's lack of FireWire, so the company added FireWire 800 (FireWire 400 compatible) ports to the original USB 2.0 connection. Transfer speeds with FireWire 800 are expected to be about double those of the USB connection.
The new Drobo also has improved software. The old model would see a drop in performance after the array reached about 50% of capacity. With the new software, performance remains steady regardless of how much data you've packed into your Drobo. Data Robotics says Mac users can expect a performance increase of 10 - 200%.
When new, higher-capacity drives become available, you'll be able to expand the capacity of your Drobo to up to 16 TB. That should be enough to handle all of my TUAW comment email! The second-generation Drobo becomes available in about three weeks, and the original $499 price tag is still in effect for an unpopulated box (no drives included).
Updated to note that no FireWire 400 ports are included. Thanks to Neg and See3Pio for the heads-up!