Are Appliances the New SaaS?

Ann All

While SMBs' interest in software-as-a-service is strong, it is tempered by their concerns about placing business applications -- particularly those that might involve sensitive data -- outside the secure corporate firewall. (This is a concern among their bigger brethren as well.)


A new approach that handily addresses such security concerns is emerging, writes ZDNet blogger Phil Wainewright. Providers treat software like an appliance -- that is, instead of providing software pre-installed on gear that is then connected to a company's network, they offer pre-packaged software that companies can install on their own server, or a virtual platform like VMware or even a hosted virtual platform like Amazon's EC2.


Because configuration still occurs via a Web browser interface, says Wainewright, it's essentially "a 'black box' implementation, but without the physical box."


Like SaaS, these gear-free appliances offer lower upfront costs and reduced management hassles -- with the added comfort of on-premises security.

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Jun 20, 2007 4:23 PM Ranjit Nayak Ranjit Nayak  says:
Network appliances are not necessarily more secure if their main purpose is to communicate with the central SaaS server. Appliances can be viewed as agents unless they are doing most of the heavy lifting tasks.Appliances will be useful to reduce the time to install a complex piece of software since all the pre-reqs and configurations are done for the buyer. However they will raise the cost of hardware and reduce the flexibility that a pure software agent offers. Reply
Jun 20, 2007 5:54 PM SamVR SamVR  says:
I disagree wholeheartedly with Ranjit's comment. Although it is true that appliances' communication with a central (of site) host "may not" be secure (check the vendor's architecture for details), a software agent can impose a higher cost of ownership than a managed network appliance. In addition, the software agent introduces potential conflicts with other resources on the host, including potential security issues (again, check with the vendor on this). An appliance that is designed correctly will do the heavy lifting and not introduce any conflicts or bottlenecks into the network. Reply
Jun 26, 2007 8:37 AM Kannan.M.S. Kannan.M.S.  says:
Perfect mention is made by Sam.The appliances with absolute secure transmit/receive controls to aument the needs like secure VPN connect,Authenticated protocols,with tiered architecture on securities would be ideal once again could be verified with VendorsISPs even provide managed secure VPNs this even has QOS/COS to ensure high availability ,little or almost negligible latencies.Wiith network(WAN LAN) connectivities,Security in tiered manner & appliances would score since any soft solution would mean quite many translations & the processing time along with that unless it is end to end on same platform.Can be also validated through Vendors. Reply

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