The first release of a large data appliance from Microsoft is the SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse Edition in which you buy a rack of pre-configured servers that you access with tools and perform limited management on. I was reminded of this as I read about Teradata’s new product strategy, it seemed that they have integrated an appliance in there as well.
Appliances bring some value to customers by supposedly reducing some of the tuning, configuration, setup, etc. costs in setting up a system. Hopefully the also reduce some ongoing costs that might come from mis-configuration, things running slowly, etc. How many times has an inexperienced person setup a server in a way that causes issues for an application?
However appliances tend to be expensive. They have to be if there is any level of support from the vendors in custom tuning. That limits how many places will purchase them, and there is also some level of distrust and fear from IT workers that worry about being displaced by a machine. Almost funny when you think about many of our systems displacing other jobs.
Appliances haven’t had great success in the past, outside of network devices, but I wonder if we might be better off examining them more in the future. Rather than trying to have general database instances put together by IT groups, should we have small, modular appliances that handle various database services and then just write the code and supply the data. For this Friday, let me know what you think:
Would you like to see small, modular data appliances that you connect to storage and then just add data?