Old unix boxes tend to get a bit crufty. Especially overly enthousiastically setup things. "Linux from scratch", anyone? But they _are_ fixable. Certain other systems just become too brittle to touch and a full reinstall is the only way. Hope the last known-good backup is recent and recoverable. You did have backups, didn't you?
While I agree that pluriformity is a good example of non-simplicity if you want to interface to them all, advocating yet more complexity in the form of yet more layers of software to gloss over the differences does seem to be less than entirely honest. Yes, it's how IT has always done things. No, it's not necessarily a good idea.
OTOH, should we push for a single unified API to do "cloud-y" things? Discuss.
Other than that, Trevor, I'm a bit disappointed that you've apparently taken a bunch of products and threw them together. Not really a round-up of the kind you usually find in tech rags, the kind that isn't a review or even tells me much of anything, reason why I generally avoid such rags. This seems to be even lower on content, though maybe that's my expectations speaking.
Of course it's not worth your while to run all of those things in production for a good bit before producing another weekly column, but fsck it, couldn't you shake a more interesting story out of the "we'll never do this" queue in your ticketing system or something?
Apropos ticketing systems, find me one that will have true "email integration", meaning I can do bloody everything conceivable with it through email without ever having to touch any other interface. As treating email as a dumping ground for useless reports nobody reads anyway is usually all they do, and that just doesn't cut it.
There, found you a couple topics to earn the next few columns with. You can buy me a couple beers with those tokens should we ever meet.