3.2. Evaluating Hardware Acquisition, Installation, and Maintenance

Hardware can mean many things, so let's start with some clarifying definitions. In this section, we will limit the discussion to processing hardware such as servers, storage devices, and large systems used in data center operations. Network hardware, such as routers, switches, and hubs, are covered in the network infrastructure section, but the processes will be similar. Desktop-related hardware and office equipment, such as personal printers, faxes, and scanners, for example, are not covered in this topic directly. However, when evaluating the hardware acquisition strategy and approach, considering opportunities for large volume, economies of scale, and decision processes is usually a good sign that collective bargaining is being used to reduce costs and standardize models. This usually has the effect of reducing maintenance and support costs for large numbers of smaller devices such as printers and fax machines. Typically, when settling bulk deals for commodity items (such as desktop workstations), there are several model types or option classes provided to the user community to address the variability of the user's needs. Standard, deluxe, and power user models provide some selection and the ability to tailor the needs to the devices offered, while still taking advantage of common platforms, maintenance and support structures, and pricing.

Computer data center hardware falls into a few main categories: processors, ...

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