After a really relaxing summer, I've picked up a job as a Systems Architect at local company suffering from growing pains. After almost a decade, I've put down my debugger and picked up a budget..for now. I've found myself looking at many different options of products some open source some not. I want to apologize to those open source projects I've rejected and wanted to let you know why:
1. Capacity Planning: You lack any realistic guidelines for server sizing. I have no idea how much memory, disk, bandwidth or cpu cycles I need to support 250 users checking their email every morning and you have no tools to simulate load.
2. You're Working On the "Next Gen" Version: You've stopped working on the version people are using in order to rewrite the application using technology that follows your new beliefs. The current version is now suffering from bitrot and your new version is undergoing its third major refactoring.
3. Your Community: Your forums are an abandoned town with tumbleweed rolling through waking up the sleeping armadillos. Questions go unanswered for months at a time, most of the posts are spam or people asking if the project is dead (which it is).
4. Installation: Your twelve-step installation process involving a different version of Perl, MySQL, and PHP plugins I don't have is a headache. This is the world of LiveCDs, embedded servlet containers, virtual machines, Web Start, VNC, hosted-demos or at least RPM/DEB packages.
5. Your Features: They're geared towards other developers and not users. I realize you're "not M$", and it's swell you think "Not Written in Java, so it's Fast!" is important, and it's sure great that you "use AOP extensively", but if those are the features you list instead of "works through NAT","supports 802.3ad bonding" or "integrates with iCal" then you're pretty far removed from your user base.
6. Maintenance Headaches: According to your documentation, your upgrade process is "Backup all data. Install new version. Restore all data." That's fine if "all data" is the dhcpd leases file, but not so great when it's 9TB of files that users access all day.
7. Price: Your project has a "commercially supported" version. That's cool, but when the rates listed are more expensive than the defacto standard you can pretty much guarantee I'm not going to be able to sell it upwards.
I'll let you know what I've picked and how it turns out in the next few months. I'm also looking for a really good Linux sysadmin. :)