Big boys aren't always the best solution for most businesses
Trevor, an interesting article. I would go further, big boys are never needed for the majority of systems.
By majority, I mean small businesses (<20 employees) and medium businesses (<200 employees) [Ref: Australian Government]. Small businesses employ almost half of those who work in industry and contribute over a third of industry value added. For service based businesses the proportion is even higher. When taken together, Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) employ more people than large businesses and generate more wealth (similar to Canada?).
I have seen many "big boy" systems installed in medium businesses (and even occasionally in small ones). It might not be popular to say this on El Reg, but for them, consumer level systems are often adequate.
Need a switch? Buy consumer/entry level 8, 16 or 24 port 1Gb devices - They will cost <$200. If it is "mission critical" kit, buy two and put one away. For firewall/routers/WiFi kit companies like ZyXEL are OK. Even Apple is OK for WiFi for 50 or so users. If you have to, buy NETGEAR stuff, you can get it from your local consumer warehouse.
For an entry level server, an HP ProLiant MicroServer is fine for 5-10 users (~$400). For more shared storage a QNAP 4 Bay Hotswap works (~$600). Want an easy to use general server for <50 users - An Apple Mac Mini for $1,300 will do almost everything that the average SMB needs (If you need more capacity, buy another one and migrate your intranet or mail server to it). Whilst not necessarily popular in these fora - For SMBs who are buying iFondle devices the Apple route is a no-brainer; particularly as they may now only be using desktops and laptops for a couple of people providing admin/clerical support or business spreadsheets...
If your medium business has more than, say, fifty employees, you may be particularly vulnerable. The smaller business can use its flexibility and lower costs to compete with you. Large businesses may use their power with legislators to pile on administrative and compliance issues so that you cannot compete with them. It is an unfortunate fact of life that organizations do not necessarily become more efficient as their size increases.
If you can't do this stuff yourself, most of it can be done by a small business IT solutions company to look after it for 1 day a month. If you are a one of their customers, ask yourself whether your solutions company is pushing you towards customised specialist solutions. Can simple CalDAV / cardDAV systems do all you need? If so, this gives a lot of flexibility and stops you being reliant on your contractor.
In my (not so) humble opinion, systems for SMBs can, and should be, put together cheaply and reliably using consumer and entry level equipment. When I did this for a living, we realised that as soon as you could buy a tech item from your local superstore, that was the time to get out of supplying and servicing it.