What is an appliance, and should I use one?
An appliance is any bundled solution where the hardware or software is proprietary and requires support from a specific company to maintain. Often, these companies pop up and disappear before you realize you need their support. Should I use them? Our answer is, "No!" We try to steer clear of new name appliances when it comes to phone systems, video surveillance, firewalls, spam filters, etc. We always try to recommend a product that will be supported for the long haul. It may seem convenient to go with a branded appliance when their sales and support is available, but what about when they are not available? Who will be there to answer the hard questions? We can often replace a part or figure out how to navigate through proprietary menus and settings, but without the guidance of an appliance's vendor, it can be a huge waste of time. In some cases, a dead appliance cannot be repaired without the assistance of the company that may not exist anymore. We always recommend treading the beaten path. We recommend using Windows Server with file sharing services instead of a proprietary box that claims to be the best, simple file server for a fraction of the cost. Just because that camera system was developed in Oklahoma City doesn't mean that it is the best solution for your business. Is someone trying to sell you a propriety appliance? Let us help you find the best solution.
Reach out to us if you are concerned that any of your proprietary appliances could result in extended downtime if they were to fail or if someone is trying to sell you on a name you have never heard of. Often, service providers get a commission for selling a certain brand. That is not how we make a living, and we can debunk any sales pitch that isn't actually in line with your business goals.