The future of appliances is virtual
: Good summary of the advantages of virtual appliances: "Virtual appliances have some distinct advantages over traditional appliances
and servers. So many, in fact, that the age of the traditional hardware
appliance could be coming to an end. .. although hardware appliances are usually much easier to deploy and manage than traditional full function servers, they are wasteful when it comes to power consumption, heat output and space requirements. Each appliance also needs cabling to networks and power outlets, and before you can use them, most also need you to connect a serial interface to them to assign an IP address. This last point may seem trivial, but finding a PC with a serial port and a copy of HyperTerminal thatís within a cableís length of a new appliance is not always easy. Plus, [you may need] two appliances if you want a reasonable degree of fault tolerance.
In contrast, virtual appliances can be run on whatever hardware you see fit,
ranging from a cheap single-socket desktop for appliances that you just want to
evaluate, through to extremely fault-tolerant multiprocessor server hardware and
SAN storage for a virtual appliance that you need to be constantly available." And of course they have advantages for the vendor, allowing them to distribute easily-changed software rather than inventory and ship hardware. 12:31:29 AM