Yup, agreed on all points. I would guess somebody who's been "raised" in the Linux networking realm would find they are in a fairly comfortable world when working in the Imagestream user interface. I discovered that much a little later in the process.
I had some interest in learning the platform so I probably put more into it than I would have a few years later when I was spending all my spare time trying to get certified for Windows Server. But the guy I was working for at that point used Cisco for anything like that and I found I had to pick up some of the Cisco networking basics to do a couple of point-to-point links for our clients; that wasn't easy either but thankfully I didn't need to configure VPN or QoS on those so it wasn't too painful.
Sounds like we are of a similar understanding here but I wanted to mention the complexity not so much for Pat's sake (as he has stated he's not looking for a do-everything box) but for others who may be watching the thread and considering alternatives for the future.