I just want to ask your opinion on whether there is a market within the web hosting industry for a large/scalable distributed hosting control panel. I've been thinking about developing a control panel based around a distributed LDAP tree (e.g. many replicas with load balancing) for quite some time now, but never thought the initial investment of my time would be repaid in sales.
I'll outline some of the pros and cons that i've thought of:
Very scalable (e.g. you can have several master LDAP servers, then many replicas, and even more sub-replicas to spread the load as you grow)
All changes are instant (or with very little delay as the changes filter down to all the replicas)
Because of the nature of LDAP and replication you could have a centrally managed hosting business with servers throught the world (as long as you had a local replica of the OU you were using clients from).
As an open standard it's very easy for people to write processing/modification scripts or to interact with your ldap directory.
A slight performance overhead on any service because of the additional LDAP lookup required (unless caching were setup locally).
At peak times there would be a large number of connections to the ldap server(s), so you would probably need a couple of extra machines to handle the load.
Software would have to be specifically chosen because it works with LDAP (this isn't a problem with large projects such as Apache, QMail, exim, pure-ftpd etc.), but for other projects a fair amount of development work would need to be done if it can't use PAM for authentication.
Restricted to unix-like platforms due to Windows only really liking activedirectory, complete difference in account types etc.
But to be honest the majority of the market would not see the benifits of using this because most of the hosting companies I've seen manage everything on a per-server basis (e.g. just installing plesk/ensim on the server).