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Why you should select a dedicated server company that offers brand name dedicated servers versus "white box" or "generic ones"

One of the most common questions we are asked by potential dedicated server clients is "why should we select you over similarly priced, or in some cases, lower priced dedicated server competitors?" In turn, the first question we ask the client is "what type of dedicated server equipment is the competitor offering?"

In almost every instance when we ask this question we are told the processor model and speed, installed RAM, disk sizes and speeds, and the installed RAM configuration on the offered dedicated server. We then ask again, "what type of dedicated servers are the competitors offering?" What we are really getting at is "who has specified, manufactured, and assembled the dedicated server equipment?"

The reason we ask this is that in almost every case the potential dedicated server client does not know who manufactured the future home of where their data will live.

Why is this important? Given that we have been in the dedicated server business since 1998, we have formed very strong opinions on the subject after supporting thousands of commercial clients from Canada and abroad - many of whom co-located equipment on generic unbranded or "white-box" dedicated servers.

It is our experience that generic dedicated servers are much less reliable. On generic dedicated servers we have routinely encountered a higher number of hardware related failures. Some of which include: failed power supplies, failed capacitors or "bad caps", fan failures, RAID controller incompatibilities (especially after future OS updates where the issue appears), and poor quality of manufacture in the dedicated server chassis itself.

We have also found that the troubleshooting of the dedicated server hardware (and software within) can be nearly impossible. Very often support is limited, if offered at all. In addition, in almost every case, a knowledge base rarely exists. If a knowledge base does exist, it is usually very limited. Hence with every software or firmware upgrade performed on the dedicated server one can reliably assume it has not been thoroughly tested on a "like configuration". Therefore, unforeseen problems become more common, especially when the upgrades performed attempt to achieve more ambitious performance gains for the dedicated server. It is rare, but in some cases we have found the upgrades to render the dedicated server equipment unusable or obsolete.

Finally, we have found that the performance of generic dedicated servers lags that of branded dedicated servers. We believe this is as a result of branded companies investing more of their resources into the engineering and thorough testing of their manufacturing and design of the equipment.

The bottom line - we believe that dedicated server customers should regard generic dedicated servers as inferior and demand that their data live on branded equipment manufactured by major companies such as Dell, Hewlett Packard and IBM.