Boy, those appliances sure were convenient. Just plug 'em in and watch 'em go. No software to load. No updates to worry about. And if it craps out ahead of its time, you know exactly where to go for a new one.
In fact, they're so convenient that now you have an army of the little buggers all chugging away in your data center. And that, according to this article on Computerworld, is a problem.
You see, at a time when virtualization and multicore technology are reducing the amount of hardware in other plants, yours is overloaded with single-function appliances. So not only are they a significant power draw, but an ever-increasing management headache as well.
If this sounds like you, this is a good article for help in digging yourself out. New multi-function devices can be of help, as are the new software packages that deliver virtual appliances on commodity.
In the end, though, the same rule that applies to life applies to the enterprise: All things in moderation.