Consumer NAS/RAID for semiprofessional dummies ?

Landscape architecture office with four workstations has until now managed with one of the stations doubling as a file server. The file server workstation has a 4x 500 GB Seagate Barracuda 7200 RAID 5 configuration built by a computer savvy person back in 2007. One of the HDs failed a year ago and I managed to install a new one in a three day scary process where I first had to read myself to RAID and then to the motherboards RAID configurations , an ASUSM2N32-SLI Deluxe , phew..
As the system is coming of age I would like to, as a preventive measure, renew hardware and separate the file server function from the workstation. With limited computer literacy I shy for too many new codes command lines or programs for the task.
After that background to the questions:
One) Would a QNAP TS-412 NAS with four 1 TB HDs serve my purpose? Would it be worse/better than my recent workstation RAID with 4GB memory and Athlon64 X2 dualcore processor. The programs used are Bentley Micro Station V8i, Adobe CS 5.5, and Autocad Lite. Project files are saved on the file server only. The amount of project files is around half a terabyte so a total usable capacity of 2 TB would be plenty.
Two) With four one TB HDs would I be better advised to configure RAID 0+1 or Raid 5+ hot spare?
I have searched these forums but my understanding is still too fragmentary for decisions so I would welcome any educated suggestions and alternatives.

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  1. I have that QNAP TS-412 and I can recommend it. It works well, is fairly easy to set up and will serve you well.

    You could set it up as a raid 1, giving you 2TB of effective storage
    Or you do the raid 5, with hot spare, again giving you 2TB effective storage

    My personal opinion (but I have no numbers to support this!) is that if your desire is to have 2TB of effective storage, in your case, you should go with raid 1. The writes will be faster than the raid 5, but the reads will be slightly slower.

    BUT! One other thing you should strongly consider is backup. RAID is not a backup, it is simply a bit more reliable than single hard disk. On top of RAID, if you value your data, you have to have a backup strategy. No exceptions.

    Your client has 500GB of data, so I could recommend crashplan. It will allow you unlimited storage, and will look at changes every 15 minutes. It has saved my bacon a couple of times. Note that I am not affiliated with crashplan, but I really do like their product offering and their price. Plus, it is off-site, so if your clients' offices burn down, they still have their data.

    Hope this helps.
  2. Thank you,
    appreciate the comments the QNAP TS-412 than seems like a reasonable solution for my needs.
    And yes RAID is no backup so I use to do a simple backup to a Lacie USB Hard disk using Microsoft free Sync Toy. The USB harddisk is than Stored elswere to minimize risk like fire or theft.
    The Crashplan seems too ellaborate but perhaps I need to create a VPN to be able to do the back up from home and without carrrying the Lacie USB Hard disk around town.
    Thanks again
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