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i think, you have to to look at your business case and you have to categorize it :
- nice too have, but not realy needed (0)
- can be offline upto 2 days or more (1)
- can be offline for 1 day, but not longer (2)
- must run all the time. (3)
So its spread between business support (0) and mission critical (3).
as long as you can get the support as you need, fine.
if you have cat 2 requirements, you must take care about the resource avaible to help if you snap into trouble with the box(es), you then will have an contract to fit this, on cat 3 you definitly will have a propper contract with instantly support/response in the next 10 min every time.
So, come on, these are the reasons to choose Novel SuSE linux Enterprise Edtion or RedHat.
The next point : time to "trouble". if a senior sw expert must be go out off bed ringed by a phone ( cat 2 or cat 3) because this guy is working in the us, and you are in europe at normal office times, its better to have the support settled where you have your offices. Yes, we are global, but you got your trouble localy.
So a distro supported by 1, or 5, or 10, or 30 employees is, thats my opionion, not able to fit the requirements for cat 2 or/and cat 3. forget it.
if you have a cat 0 or cat 1 systen, ok, why not, if it comes to trouble, install a new, you have time to buy a new hardware, you can recover with some backups. Thats not stress. with this minimum of requirments you can easily use another distro, gentoo, debian, userlinux or whatever.
the next point is the certified intergration of hardware. you must be shure, that your servers can run with it. That your configuration is tested and supported.
You dont want to loose your support form the hw-vendor, you paid for that. You don't want get in the the game SW-Guys against HW-Guyw, where the HW point to SW saying . its not our fault, it is a SW-Problem, and vice versa. You need a solution, not a movie.
Ask HP, or IBM, if they would support their boxes with gentoo or debian, no, they won't, they do it with Novell and RedHat.
if you have to work with important and/or mission critical systems, you will take care to get all the support you need to continue the business as fast as possible in case of a malfunction.
And, mission critical means not all the time LAMP, it means : mission critical. possibly, LAMP is mission critical for on-line services, so ,you see , it a question of the requirements that your business rely on.
But, again, Linux is not just used for LAMP, also for Oracle, Informix,DB/2, Sybase, Websphere/MQSeries, a.s.o.
The next point is the resource you have. Possibly you don't need a kernel-hacker all the time, you don't have the time to observe the scene to hire good people. Possibly, you have adminstrators and developers to fit the normal requirement of day-to-day business.
This is another reason for choosing a Enterprise linux because you oftenly get into a state, where you can easily can have access to companies with people to help you.