We currently have a web server running your typical WAMP setup. All it hosts at the moment is moodle and the school website.
Moodle was installed about three years back and has barely been touched for 2 and a half of them. The school website is soon to be hosted off site meaning the we can pretty much start from scratch for our new VLE which needs to be up and running, fully tested by next September.
Keys things the bosses are looking for are integration with sims, a parent portal and the ability for people to access it from home. I'd also prefer it if it could authenticate through AD as well for ease of use and saving time having to do too much admin work in regards to adding users etc...
The bosses here like moodle as it's FREE but aren't affraid to put some money behind something else if it's worth while.
Frog seems to be the one everyone is singing about but coming in at about 30k it's a hell of a lot of money although it looks like it might do everything we're looking for.
So yeah... long rant but just looking for people who have been in a simliar position and what the best way to plan ahead is...
Looking at your location as Northampton (near me) your school possibly already has a VLE with LP+ but for whatever reason haven't used it. (It was pretty dire for a while but has improved considerably since).
This VLE is sharepoint based, held outside of the school but yes does have a separate username/password combination. - There are steps being taken to have this utilise simplified sign on with EMBC if they are providing your connection.
Best person to talk to is Tony Sheppard at County (Grumbledook on these forums) as he's the man sorting it all out and making it play nicely for Northamptonshire.
I would highly recommend you look at sharepoint, weather you host sharepoint yourself or go with LP+ that is entirely up to you but sharepoint is the way forward. i also believe this is what is going to be pushed out to schools when the managed services come into play anyway.
If you have sharepoint as your platform that gives you the option to then get the webparts for your MIS which then gives you your SIMS Integration. Remote Access you could look at Terminal Services which then also integrates with sharepoint (depending on your budget you could talk to CutterProject and get SGD)
Then that is your main platform doing everything you want to do, then you just need to decided what Learning Environment you are going to use. in which case as you have a strong platform you could go with either the SLK (SharePoint Learning Kit) or Moodle (and get the moodle webparts)
If you need any help feel free to drop me a PM i was in your same boat last year, but pushed to go down our own route and host everything ourselves.
Obviously what your going to do is going to depend on budget, if you have the budget to do everything yourself then i would do that if you dont then go with a hosted services like LP+.
I would second all that James (Edutech) has just outlined.....we have run with SharePoint for 5 years, and would do the same again. Get yourself the SIMS web parts and possibly Moodle as the VLE component and you have everything you need for an all round robust and effective MLE.
Have a look at the schools gallery on the kraal to see some examples.
SLK is the tool used within sharepoint to assign and control learning objects, but there are plenty of other tools that are used for learning, including discussions, wikis, blogs, document libraries ... Moodle is not a VLE but a course management system that also has a lot of teh same tools, but based on a different structure and navigation ... and also has a slightly different mentality for teaching with it.
If you are a heavy moodle user / teacher then Sharepoint is not likely to be completely right for you ... and vice versa ... and the same with Frog, Studywiz, NetMedia, FirstClass, Bodington (anyone still using that?), etc ... most of the tools are the same, the look and feel and structure is different and fold tend to allow that to dictate how it is used as a T&L tool rather than the T&L structuring what tools are needed.
There will never be a single tool that does everything in my experience ... so using a mixture is good. It just happens that some of those extra tools that fit into nice little widgets (eg Voki, Twitter, etc) can site inside of sharepoint ... and they can also fit inside of others too ... but cut and paste of the embed code into the HTML editor web part or XML Editor web part does the biz for me.