Virtual machines are gradually replacing shared hosting as the preferred hosting option. Price points [are in the same ballpark](http://www.ovh.com/us/vps/vps-classic.xml), and are likely to fall even further.
At the same time, we are moving to a service-based architecture, with separate services for some key tasks like wikitext parsing.
A distribution strategy that lets users easily install and maintain a MediaWiki system with all basic features (at least VE & Parsoid, auth, storage/caching) can enable users to take advantage of modern hosting offers. It can also help us to put new features in the hand of third-party users quickly by making it part of the standard distribution. There is also the potential to automate security updates and simplify major version upgrades.
- Simple to use: one-click or at most copy&pasting a few shell commands
- Compatible with cheap VM offers
- Ability to use the same mechanism to create images
- Support for security and major version upgrades
- Support for optional components / services / extensions