We're working on a project that requires PCs to be deployed to various locations and report back various data to a central server, and are interested in a recommendation on the hardware to use. We have the following requirements:
- The monitoring software depends on some 3rd party windows-only drivers for a USB device, and is written in .NET, so these must run windows xp/vista/7/server and have at least one USB.
- We would like to be able to remotely administer them and only have to travel to them for hardware failure. It would be nice if, in case of power failure, they came back up on their own once power was restored.
- We would prefer 'off-the-shelf' hardware from a reputable vendor like Dell, HP, etc.
- The cheaper the better.
We're considering netbooks, small-form-factor desktops, and blade servers. What specific model would you recommend for a scenario like this?