My recent flurry of research into computing appliances was spurred by a column I just submitted to Network World. In that column there’s a URL – pointing to this post – promising a guide to more details on that research. Thus, here’s a set of links to my posts of the past few months on computing appliances, both here and on DBMS2.
Half or more of the computing appliance vendors I’ve looked into follow very similar hardware strategies: They use mainly standard parts; they include uncommon but off-the-shelf networking (and sometimes encryption) accelerators; and they of course optimize the mix of those parts and general hardware architecture as well. (EDIT: I actually gave names to three strategies — even if they were just “Type 0″, “Type 1″, and “Type 2″ — in this overview of data warehouse appliance vendors. And in another post I considered arguments about whether one would want a data warehouse appliance at all.) Examples I’ve posted about recently include – and I quote the forthcoming column – “DATallegro and Teradata (data warehousing), Cast Iron Systems (data integration), Barracuda Networks (security/antispam), Blue Coat Systems (networking), and Juniper (security and networking).” (ANOTHER EDIT: But I think DATAllegro’s strategy has changed.)
By way of contrast, there’s also a group whose stance is more along “hardware/schmardware” lines. Sendio and Proofpoint (in most cases) don’t really do anything special at all in their boxes; what’s more, Proofpoint actually has significant software-only deployments over VMware’s virtualization layer. Kognitio and Greenplum think their software-only data warehouse offerings are appliance-equivalents too; indeed, Greenplum’s software is sold mainly bundled with Sun hardware (to the extent it’s sold at all), and Kognitio is hinting at an appliance-like offering for competitive reasons as well. Check Point Software plays both sides of the field; it offers its own kind of “virtual appliance,” but also gets many of its sales through appliance vendors. Its most interesting such partner, if not its biggest, is Crossbeam Systems, which in my opinion may very well represent the future of appliance technology.
|Categories: Barracuda, Blue Coat Systems, Check Point Software, Computing appliances, Crossbeam Systems, DBMS vendors and technologies, EMC and VMware, Juniper Networks, Proofpoint, Security and anti-spam, Sendio, Virtualization||3 Comments|
Juniper Networks acquired super-hot security appliance vendor Netscreen in 2004. At the time, Netscreen’s products were ASIC-based. But as of the 2006 release of its SSG product line, Juniper has come in line with what is pretty much the standard appliance vendor technical strategy. It builds its boxes from standard parts, with the exception of some unusual but still off-the-shelf networking accelerators (most notably an IPsec and encryption accelerator chip from Cavium). It has its own OS, with unneeded services left out both for performance and security. One cool point – Juniper’s security products and routers run in some cases on literally identical hardware, despite having different operating systems, let alone “application” software. The customer can, for example, keep one set of spares for both classes of product. Read more