Having ran a CC3 network for 7 years now and seen the local college's vanilla attempt plus the RC school opposite who have had 4 different flavours, vanilla being one of them and seen the problems they have incurred i feel I as NM did make the best decision at the time to go down the RM route.
It has cost very little to implement and maintain and we have found we can do just about anything with it but i do also feel it is a little long in the tooth for our needs and therefore made the decision to move to CC4 in the future because of the costs i.e. upgrade licenses will be less than migrating to vanilla and the man hours needed to implement this.
webman and myself have found the product itself to be very robust and reliable and except for a faulty HDD on our Raided MIS server we have had no need to use RM for any SLA.
I am in no way advocating everyone use RM products but for us it is the solution we required at the time and very well it has served us.
I must also say that comments from certain people about it being for people with less ability than those people who run vanilla systems then all I can say is "foobar" i am fully Microsoft trained and fully capable of running a vanilla network. ;) :)
Its nice to here of someone with a positive experience with RM. I agree that having RM doesn't necessarily mean you are of lower skill. I to have been down the Microsoft cert route, as have both my technicians.
Our main motivation for moving off RM is:
1) The amount of down time directly attributable to the RM system, which would almost definitely not have happened otherwise.
2) Performance. In our experience vanilla windows is faster and requires less resources than RM. (which goes without saying since RM sits on top of windows).
3) It no longer fits our needs, and is (to borrow your words) "long in the tooth".
4) Business continuation. The school has no faith in RM support and recognises that it is far easier to get replacement staff with Microsoft training/experience than it is to find an RM experienced member of staff.
5) Incompatibility with quite a log of software. I realise this is a subjective thing as the majority of software works fine. However when you find software that doesn't work. It become an issue for you.
I am not for one minute suggesting that vanilla windows is problem free. It has its own plus and minuses. At the end of the day it comes down to preference. Yes RM is more expensive, Yes Vanilla will take more initial time to setup the way you want.
The choice is there. People pick your poison.