Good article Brian!
One thing I would like to add. Backing up SQL Server databases using a perl script (or any other type of OS scripting language script) is a very good idea. It allows you to very easily enforce backup and restore standards and methodologies.
Although you could conceivably perform all the operations you need to do using T-SQL and xp_cmdshell, I find Perl gives greater flexibility and ease of maintenance.
If you are performing your backups uniformly using an OS shell script, it is very easy to configure security and virus scanning for the file system for all of the SQL Servers you may be managing.