Lupus, I can see where you're going with your post. I think the critical difference between government ordering/bidding and the private sector is that the government can demand overnight shipment and delivery, expedited assembly and guaranteed compatibility. For someone like 'Neer and the other admins to be trying to pull off a teardown and recompile of the site onto some brand new hardware is going to take more time than someone in 'our' shoes.
That's the reason I pointed out the fact that Dell is a viable option. Four-hour support doesn't require a government-bid contract. It doesn't require a long history of any sort. It just requires a bit of cash, and a bit of time speaking with a sales associate on the phone to assure you're getting what you want. Believe me, the government gets no such expedited assembly, guaranteed compatibility, or overnight shipping either. (It's taken us over four weeks to recieve some components from Gateway after purchasing an overnight shipment contract for $8,000 on top of the $10,000 spent to purchase the public access terminals.) I really wish they did. It would make my job thousands of times easier and less stressful.
In the case of governmental agencies, as I am sure you know, there are on-file purchase orders and pre-established lines of credit that permit replacement of failed equipment in pretty much a snap.
That's just the thing, the governmental/private-sector server setups from Dell are the same 4-hour support setups anyone can get by purchasing a Dell server. They're not exclusive to businesses and the government. That's part of the extra expense in buying one. Yes, you can get the actual hardware for a few hundred dollars cheaper elsewhere, but the issue becomes compatibility, reliability, and the ease of replacement. With a pre-built/full-ordered system from Dell, you get a unique Service Tag/Support ID combination that links the server to its specific hardware, software, warranty, and assigned support specialists, just like their desktops. Yes, it costs a little more, but the peace of mind is worth it, IMO. (Not on a desktop, those are worth it to build yourself. But on a server that has an uptime requirement? It's just about the only thing Dell is good for!)
While other companies, such as Gateway, IBM, and recently Hewlett Packard require a long credit history, and several other proofs of "fidelity,' Dell will sell their systems to just about anyone who can afford them, and give the same four-hour support, no matter what. If you're just a total money-wasting geek like me, and are putting together a blade-computing system in your basement, or a multi-million dollar conglomerate, you get the same four-hour support. Period. This is exactly why I'm researching a Dell blade-server system for my new house I'm getting in a few months. Four hour support for three years or more. Thin-client computing FTW.
That's just it. When we implimented the active directory structure, we had a smaller budget than the average US household does for a new PC. We were a two-person IT team. Again - maybe I'm a little jaded towards being stringent because of what kind of hardship I had to endure to bring the Clerk's office out of the stone-age, and maybe I'm a little too harsh because I had to fight tight-wad politicians for a year to get the RAID arrays we're using to host the information, but I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a three-day implement-test-deploy stage for a couple of simple web/database servers. I understand the blight of shipping. Trust me, Gateway has pushed more buttons than I'd like about that. But I'm not even talking about shipping at this point. Shipping could take a month, for all I care. It's the length of time allocated for hardware/software installation, implementation and testing. That has nothing to do with the difference between the government and private sector and FA's situation.I don't think there's anything unreasonable about that. You can't compare FA to a corporate/government entity. There's a big difference in the amount of money that can be spent and whether it can be at the drop of a hat.