Is VA really solidly married only to Intel hardware? We're now thinking it's time to do Linux on other architectures (following our bad experience with Dell+RedHat). Whereas Dell has nice-looking rack servers and in fact quality-built hardware, our guys are really more used to multi-processor (RISC) Sparc boxes with high performance backplanes, fiber-optic interfaces, and RAID arrays. They thought that for incidental Unix needs, and because of our on-going relationship with Dell (they make it REALLY easy for institutions to order, blah blah), that we'd just buy Linux from them along with the NT stuff we buy from them.
Buying from VA has always been an option--hell we have VA posters all over the place here! But the thinking around here was, well to put it bluntly, what different do you really get -- it's another Intel box, right. Certainly the open source support philosophy and driver support would be better--and we're learning that the hard way. But does going through the pain of starting a relationship with a new vendor offset that? I don't know.
Anyway, the Dell+RedHat deal has left a bad taste in our mouths and we need to look around. Maybe at Alphas, Sparc, G4, etc.,