Koumbit – non-profit cooperative (non-profit incorporation works better for this in Quebec), they handle not just projects but webhosting, monitoring, etc.
Aegir – Meant to simplify management, updating multiple sites, has a web GUI, so clients can clone etc. sites themselves, do testing, and merge back into their main site.
Also good for mass hosting/turnkey solutions – lots of folks just want a very basic Civi install, and Aegir lets you provide that.
Also deploy it for clients that only have one client per server – makes it easy to test upgrades.
Also configures DNS, SSL, Apache etc. via modules – through the web GUI.
The advantage over custom scripts is the community writing modules etc.
Aegir is still in development, but is stabilizing now – 0.4RC1 is out now, and 0.4 should be considered a “1.0” release. It requires a “dedicated” server, it needs root access to, etc., set Apache vhosts. Best on a vanilla Debian host, “takes about 15 minutes”. You need root to install the Aegir system account, which in turn uses sudo quite a bit, but doesn't need root user post-installation.
Works best on Debian, folks have great success with Ubuntu. People are working on CentOS, Solaris, MacOS.
Will configure DNS and SSL for you – just doesn't cover SSH/SFTP automation.
Installation is neither hard nor trivial.
Relies heavily on drush, “not reinventing the wheel”
“Verify” in Aegir regenerates settings.php, fixes file permissions, etc. - several times they've fixed client problems by pressing “Verify”.
Platforms are created with drush makefiles
You can include patches to modules in the makefile – very cool!
New aegir tasks are queued and run by a cron job.
A current limitation of Civi + Aegir is that it only provisions Drupal + Civi in the same database. However, a pre-existing site will migrate appropriately.
Aegir will roll back everything on a failed upgrade
CiviCRM cron support is still in development, it already runs Drupal cron. You don't want all your cron jobs to run simultaneously on a multi-site installation.
You can migrate an installation across Aegir installations
If someone like PT did hosting through an organization like Koumbit, would we have the ability to create our own platforms etc.?
What's the upgrade path for Aegir?