Software RAID is horrible for a number of reasons and people who think that they are somehow more reliable than hardware, simply do not know how enough about hardware controllers. First, software controllers (even HBA - hardware that uses the computer's CPU and RAM for its function) have a huge failure rate from unexpected shutdown, server lock-up and power loss. So many times we have seen a hung server with a software RAID that could only be rebooted through a hard shutdown and about 50% of the time it will come with the RAID status 'degraded' and will be dog-slow for the next X hours while its rebuilding itself. On a RAID1 mirror, that's an inconvenience, but running RAID 10 or 5 (where a multi-disk degradation means loss of the entire volume) is asking for trouble.
Hardware RAIDs are FAR more efficient, have better performance and higher fault tolerance. Also, although the one controller is a single point of failure, controllers rarely fail. There are no moving parts and as long as they are kept cool and have clean power, they almost always outlast their usefulness. We have tossed many controllers in the trash that originally cost $2-5k. There was nothing wrong with them, they were just obsolete.
Recovery from a hardware RAID controller is not difficult. Unfortunately, RAID has taken a technological step backwards in the last decade. I am not sure why, but new SATA/SAS controllers are missing a lot of functions that old school IDE/SCSI controllers used to have. One particularly annoying fact is that you can no longer take a single drive (with data on it) and make it into a RAID1 volume - unless the drive was created as a RAID member, it must be wiped. Likewise, you can no longer take a RAID 0 array and make it fault tolerant - you got to back it up, wipe everything, build the array and then restore.
The notion that if one hardware controller fails, you may need to wipe the drives is inaccurate, but I think I know what they may have been referring to. If your controller fails, each one of the drives has the RAID information on them. You can replace the controller with an identical model and it will see the old raid configuration and take off where the failed controller left off. The problem happens when you cannot get your hands on an identical controller. For whatever reason, different controllers do RAIDs differently. However, almost always the new controller will recognize the RAID and mount it in some sort of limited mode. The performance may be bad, or it may not let you rebuild, but the data will be accessible. This will allow you to back up the data to another place, then wipe your disks, build a new array and put your data back. RAID 1 is particularly awesome because RAID members can be put into a computer without even a RAID controller! You can actually take either of the drives that were part of a RAID 1, connect them to a computer via any controller and the data will be there. You may have trouble booting from this drive because it will be missing drivers and boot paths for your new controller, but that can be addressed manually. Bottom line, if your hardware RAID controller fails (highly unlikely) - you can take either of the drives, connect it to any machine and your data will be there.