It’s not immediately apparent what the word “appliance” means in an IT context. It describes preconfigured, integrated systems comprising hardware and software. Usually they are designed and optimized for use in a particular scenario and do not reveal their true complexity to the user.
E-books are a handy example from everyday life. In this case, the defined scenario is to enable users to read print products, e.g. books or magazines, that are stored in an electronic form. Of course this would be possible with a standard tablet as well. But then the user would have to accept a couple of drawbacks: The surface reflection is high, it’s tough on the battery, the text is barely legible in sunlight and the background has too much glare in the dark. What’s more, people who are not exactly supremely confident digital natives are confused by the notifications, apps, settings and lots of other things … This is where optimization specifically for reading gets involved. Our reading appliance is now tailored to accommodate one specific purpose, while still remaining complex in regard to its content. It consists of hardware (server, storage and network components), a particular operating system and a limited number of applications (software). Our appliance is energy-efficient, easy on the eyes for reading, simple to operate and comes with a manageable range of features, all of which are intended to fulfil the designated purpose.
The IT landscape has all kinds of specialized appliances for any conceivable application and requirement. The following are just examples: Security, UTM, backup, archiving or data analysis. These preconfigured out-of-the-box systems come with a raft of benefits:
- quick setup and maximum operating security
- calculable costs
- low service requirements
- reduction to a single partner for support cases
- certification for standard business applications