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Why is server work expensive?

It’s commonplace for IT service providers to charge more for work on servers than regular workstations. It’s not so common for vendors to explain why this is the case. Allow me to take the mystery out of servers.

  • Server software is typically more complicated to configure than desktop software. It can involve countless options to set. As services are exposed on an intranet, they often require security configuration as well. Certificates, directory integration, and user entitlements add to the complexity.
  • Server hardware can be more expensive than regular workstations. In the Windows and Linux world, servers are rack-mounted and have special features designed for both performance and reliability. The Mac world is different. Apple does not make a purpose-built Mac server. Often, a Mac mini is used for server functionality. A Mac used as a server might be configured with beefed-up specifications (processor, memory, storage, ethernet speed), but this would depend on the particular application.
  • Services are typically used by many employees of a company. As the stakes are high, a server must work reliably. Planning, design, configuration, and testing all take time to ensure a successful outcome.
  • Server work is a specialized skill. As in any field, IT specialists charge a premium for their labor.

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