How to Buy a Computer When Buying Niche Software

I’m sure you have heard this, “You have to buy the hardware from us because we tweek, or optimize, or customize the systems to work with our specialized software.”  Well, I’m going to tell you the truth.  That’s a bunch of bologna.

Software developers tell you this so they can sell the hardware for at or above retail pricing which is not the best pricing you can get.  The fact is, you can tell the developer or niche specific software vendor such as a medical software or a legal market software vendor, to give you the specifications for the optimal machine that the software would run on.   You then take this information, contact your product partner (or if you don’t have one try ASE, Inc. at 703-273-8388 – too tempting; I had to plug my company) give them the specs and they will order the machine you need with all of the right specs and probably for a lot cheaper than the pricing you are seeing from the software vendor.

The software vendor may say that the services will cost more because they didn’t get the machine.  Ask why.  There is no good reason for that.  They too are simply buying a machine and having it delivered to them.  They don’t stock the machines because technology changes so much that they can’t stock the latest machines, which is what you want.

Certainly don’t get a “white box”, a machine that is not a name brand and put together by this vendor.  You want products from well known manufacturers so you can get their top notch warranty and support.  Both HP and Dell offer Build to Order systems that can be built to the specs the software vendor needs.

Pros & Cons

The Pros are that you will most likely save money this way although some software vendors have caught on and are trying to be competitive with their hardware pricing because they know that end users have become savvy.  Another Pro: you can have the separately purchased system dropped shipped directly to the software vendor to install their software.

The Cons are that if you buy from two different companies some people would say there is a chance for finger pointing when a problem occurs.  This is easily overcome as good systems partners can quickly figure out if the problem is hardware or software related.  Be smart and buy the manufacturer’s Enhanced Support for the particular computer system you purchased which will give you a direct relationship with that manufacturer.  Both HP and Dell offer a 3 year, on site, Next Business Day or Same Day or 4 Hour response feature that compliments the warranty and support pack you get with the purchased system.  This is a no brainer since the first time there is a problem you get the manufacturer involved immediately at no extra cost since you paid a nominal fee up front for this support. Believe me- it is much cheaper this way.

Robert Lane


ASE, Inc.

Getting you ready for tomorrow today

703-273-8388 ext 111

ASE, Inc. is an IT consulting, engineering, hosted and managed support services provider in the Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC area.  Since 2000 ASE has focused on providing full outsourced IT department services to small and medium businesses as well as providing senior level expertise designing, installing and managing complex databases and network security consulting to very large entities in both commercial and federal markets.  Call ASE today – 703-273-8388.

Lawyers – Is Your TABS Backup Working?

If you are like many law firms you use TABS and actually in many cases this is the main product that law firms run on.  We have had great success transitioning companies to our on line off site backup solution (ASE BackupPro) because it reduces the problems of in-house backups such as reducing CapEx by not having to buy the expensive products, it takes the human element out of the equation since no tapes have to be changed or taken off site, and, it works – everyday.  But there are some products that don’t lend themselves kindly to on line off site backups so that is what this article is about.

I received a call from a law firm who had a disaster inquiring about our on line off site backup solution.  I explained that for me to give them the best possible advice they needed to list all of the products on their network.  When I saw TABS I contacted the manufacturer who verified that TABS and all of its modules cannot be backed up using a method that performs differential or incremental backups (we’ll use differentials).  To explain how it works: once installed, the backup solution does a complete backup of your network (what you designate to be backed up) and from that point forward as files are changed, added or deleted, they are backed up every day (simple way of describing it.).  TABS is a product whose data cannot be restored if the backup solution performs differentials.  Please note that many of the external hard drives you buy to use as a backup solution also use this method.

So how do you solve this problem?  Create a second task where only the TABS program and its data are backed up in one complete process.  You can also configure your external hard drive to do the same.  Now you will have a complete backup of all of your data not including the TABS stuff and a second with just the TABS data. 

Timeslips by SAGE is another product for the legal niche and must be handled in the same way.

I would be interested in knowing how many of you knew this.

Robert Lane.

ASE, Inc.

Robert Lane is the owner of ASE, Inc. a provider of IT consulting, engineering, hosted and managed services in Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC since 2000.  For more information on ASE’s BackupPro contact Robert at 703-273-8388  ext 111.  You can find more information at and