As the world increasingly relies on technology, businesses are investing more in Information Technology (IT) infrastructure. However, the acquisition cost of IT equipment is just the tip of the iceberg. Certain types of IT equipment can be expensive to operate, creating a significant impact on a company's budget over the lifetime of the equipment. 

1. Servers and Data Centers

Servers are an essential component of any IT infrastructure, serving as the backbone of operations for many businesses. However, their operation comes with a high price tag. Beyond the cost of purchase, servers require a controlled environment to function optimally, necessitating expenses in cooling, physical security, and maintenance. Large businesses may own data centers housing hundreds or even thousands of servers, further compounding these costs.

2. High-End Workstations

Workstations, particularly those tailored for demanding tasks such as graphic design, video editing, or complex data analysis, can be expensive to operate. These high-end machines often have powerful processors, advanced graphics cards, and large amounts of RAM, which can consume substantial amounts of electricity over time.

3. Specialty Equipment

Specialty IT equipment, like MRI machines, advanced manufacturing equipment, or high-performance computing (HPC) systems, have a high operational cost. These systems not only consume significant power but also require specialized maintenance and occasional upgrades.

4. Network Equipment

Networking equipment, including switches, routers, and firewalls, might not consume a lot of power individually. However, when you consider a company-wide or enterprise-level deployment, the costs add up. These devices also need regular updates and maintenance to ensure network security and reliability.

5. Printers and Copiers

Though often overlooked, printers and copiers can be quite expensive to operate. The cost of consumables like ink or toner, paper, and replacement parts can quickly surpass the initial purchase price. High-end units that offer faster printing speeds or additional features like stapling or binding can be especially costly.

Managing Costs

It's important to note that while these pieces of IT equipment can be expensive to operate, they are often vital to business operations. Therefore, the goal for businesses should be to manage these costs effectively. Some strategies for managing IT operational costs include:

  • Implementing energy-saving measures, such as using energy-efficient hardware, implementing server virtualization, or leveraging cloud services.
  • Regular maintenance to extend the lifespan of the equipment and prevent costly repairs or downtime.
  • Optimizing the use of resources. For example, businesses could implement print policies to reduce unnecessary printing or consolidate their servers.

In conclusion, understanding the operational costs of IT equipment is crucial for effective budgeting and cost management. By being aware of the most expensive IT equipment to operate, businesses can make informed decisions and implement strategies to manage these costs effectively.