Small businesses, new businesses, and perhaps businesses struggling to operate between paydays know the pain of needing to make purchases while keeping a close eye on the budget. Sometimes, that stress can make those businesses consider cutting corners. One way to cut corners is to not buy enterprise level of computer equipment, instead opting for consumer grade equipment.
Some CFO’s might look at the expense, look at some of the frills of the consumer grade machines and decide that they are getting a better deal with the less expensive machines. In almost all business-related situations, that is not the case. Looks can certainly be deceiving, and while the consumer grade equipment may look more desirable—fancy CPU’s, better speakers, sometimes better screens, and lower prices—their durability and performance certainly won’t measure up.
Difference between Enterprise and Consumer Hardware
One difference is the likelihood of getting a lemon. Consumer goods, including technology, are often less expensive when they are mass produced. Mass production can, as Henry Ford discovered a century ago, lower costs, but it can also take away a great deal of quality control. Enterprise level machines are built from, as BlueRange Technology wrote in a recent report, from the ground up. This gives the builders a greater level of control over each machine, making it less likely an error is made. Each machine tends to have a greater level of quality.
It is more expensive to build computers like this, but when a business depends on its technology to get work done and to keep customer’s happy, that reliability is generally worth the price to most businesses.
If you have ever wondered why your home computer only has four memory slots when your computer at work probably has more, the answer is the machine at work is built for, well, work. Your machine at home also probably only needs 8GB of RAM, but your machine at work is probably at least a 16GB machine, and often more. Enterprise machines also often have RAM support built in. This RAM support has error correcting code, and your civilian machine at home doesn’t have this code included to protect data from a crash.
The greater GB’s, the greater slots in the machine, and job saving code all make the enterprise machine more expensive, but also more reliable, which is all most businesses care about in the end.
If you buy a new computer for home, there is a great chance that your old machine operating on an older interface will need to upgrade to a newer interface too. But you wouldn’t expect the vice versa scenario to be necessary. Not so at work. It can cost a computer company quite a lot of money to include the ability for a new machine to run not only a new operating system, but an older system too. Part of the expectations of consumers is they will keep evolving as technology evolves—at least with regard to purchasing new technology. After all, that is why some people line up for hours to be one of the first to purchase a new smartphone. While a consumer expects to need to change operating systems, companies may have a valid reason not to change.
Enterprise customers are not always so eager to try new platforms. They may have software that is integral to their operating that needs to run on an existing platform. They may need to purchase hardware now, but want to wait a year or two to make other tech upgrades. There are several reasons why some businesses need access to legacy platforms, and support for those older platforms, while also providing new platforms.
Something many people don’t think about—unless, perhaps, they work with their laptop on their laps—the heat that computers generate. Heat and technology are not good when combined. Most civilian technology doesn’t get as hot because it isn’t working as hard, nor as long, as enterprise technology. Enterprise technology has been designed to work in a place with several other computers, all generating heat. To combat this problem, the computer for an enterprise client will have been designed to limit the amount of heat each computer emits. They are designed differently so exhaust paths don’t cross and so each chip can be cooled appropriately. This not only impacts daily performance, but it also makes machines last longer.
For many enterprise customers, one of the more important aspects of enterprise technology is the hardware management systems. With an Intelligent Platform Management Interface, most systems will not shut down if the computer network crashes. There is still time for the IT pros to work in the system and for customers to have access.
It can be tempting to save money by going to a box store and purchasing a few computers for your business. In the end, you will likely find that it will cost you more in the long run, and it might cost your customers too.
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