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How Many Appliances Do You Need?

from the excess-hardware dept

At the DEMO conference last month, it seemed like every company that wasn't pitching a blogging/RSS solution was selling some kind of "appliance" computer to stick in your rack. There was even one company selling a blogging appliance (hitting both hot trends in one shot). Basically, these appliances were simply taking software that the company wrote and putting it on a cheap computer. Every one of these appliances seemed to come in a different day-glo color, making you wonder if they all coordinated before hand, so that the fluorescent orange appliance didn't get confused with the pearly white one. It made some of the attendees wonder what sort of CIO wanted a rack full of these different appliances (no matter how colorful). However, some apparently believe that going the appliance route makes sense. It's not clear why, though. While the claim is ease of setup, it seems like it only makes things much more complex down the road. You suddenly have to manage ten different boxes when you could have done it just fine with one or two boxes and some software.

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  • identicon
    Jason Mac, 28 Mar 2005 @ 6:08am

    Appliances make sense

    I work for a large telco, and you need consider the red tape required in getting any product to production. In the case of an applinace, there is nothing to install, nothing to backup, no way that the operations team can "improve" the device. Any time the operations team needs to do something, we're talking huge dollars.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    saleh, 28 Mar 2005 @ 6:55am

    No Subject Given

    I consult to mid-size to large corporations (typically 10B+ revenue and 10K+ users) and many of them use an "appliance" approach anyway, especially the Microsoft shops.

    Even though you can run multiple server applications on a single box, that has the problems that (1) it is often difficult to establish troubleshooting demarcation, (2) especially on Windows, server applications don't always play well together, and (3) Windows' process scheduling is still awful, and a single CPU-bound process can affect every other application running on that box.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Mar 2005 @ 9:28am

      Halfway between appliance and single box....

      ... and that's why software OS virtualization (when it works) is so useful. One physical box, but with separate OS images, potentially administrative domains, upgrade policies, etc.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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