Let me just start by saying that I have seen way to many people lose thousands of dollars taking shortcuts with data storage, Okay...
What exactly is the advantage of RAID in this situation?
Redundancy. If you have one drive, and that drive blows ... I mean really blows with hard parts touching or seized (which is rather common) ... you are sunk.
Now I know you just had a bad experience with consumer grade
RAID hardware but you're throwing the baby out with the bath water. RAID is not the enemy, the appliance that was handling it was...
(RAID5) Two drives blowing in perfect harmony is excruciatingly unlikely, but if you want the extra cushion there is RAID 1+0 which would require that you lose three drives simultaneously to lose anything ... now that type of configuration does requires commercial hardware, but...
If you are going to have 10+TB of data kicking around the house, it's time to get (serious) off the porch and get the type of hardware that was actually designed to store that much data in a safe and comfortable fashion. And by comfortable I mean be able to repeatedly spin-up that many drives to find the file(s) you just asked it for without frying the PSU because it got a tad dusty and couldn't quite handle the request without puffing a cloud of smoke.
Not to mention that the uber handy looking flavor-of-the-month NAS appliance isn't going to be repairable in a few years because there is no compelling reason for anybody to stock parts for it. It's an appliance
... like a toaster or a blender, they're not designed to be repaired. When they break...You throw them away. So if the proprietary RAID controller (or other parts) decide to go poof ... you ain't getting another one. But you are at the mercy of the data recovery companies, and I'd rather not think of what the bill for recovering that much data would be, would you?
Off-lease commercial hardware is cheap as hell, and being mainstream they are quite common and easy to find parts for even years later because there is a market for the parts. You get a real hardware RAID controller with built in diagnostics that actually work, and the ability to rebuild after a disk failure automatically on the fly (e.g. zero down time). Not to mention they are also insanely fast. Doing a full format on a 200GB partition takes about 17 seconds ... Try that with a NAS appliance.
Either way you are looking at a grand or so ... So why waste it on something that's unrepairable and designed to die if used as advertised. Sure the last generation commercial server won't look quite as sexy in the living room, but it'll fit just fine in a typical closet and run forever in a home environment under a scant fraction of the load it was designed for, for damn near the same price!
If you're not using AD, IIS, etc. then what's the point of using a more expensive server OS?
Who said it was more expensive?!? Off lease commercial hardware (which was already paid fore once...) will either come with or have available the necessary server OS license. It's perfectly legal and endorsed by MS. The link I provided in your other thread has a price tag of only $250 for a flat out MS certified completely legal copy of Windows Server 2003. Now how much is Window 7??
I've dealt with that company many times in the past, I'll be ordering a server from them tomorrow. They are for-real, completely legit, super fast, and the customer service there can only be compared to things I saw on TV shows from the 50s.