Over the past several years, the data warehouse industry has seen it share of highly proprietary and complex appliance solutions. These proprietary solutions market themselves using marketing buzz words like “sql on a chip”, “sql super computer”, or “specialized appliance”. All these and more add up to solutions that are very proprietary and closed and that “lock-in” companies and create significant challenges for data center professionals who end up having to support yet another highly specialized appliance. These vendors are also very closed in both their business model as well as their product model. Why the industry has to go down this path is a mystery to me, especially when customers are demanding less complexity and more open solutions running on open commodity hardware and storage that DO NOT lock them in.
Besides locking businesses into proprietary hardware appliances, the other reason why vendors pursue proprietary appliance models is to reduce the level of complexity associated with installing, maintaining and administering their software. They simple bake their proprietary software right into their proprietary appliance.
At Infobright, we are huge believers in open source and open solutions that run on open scalable low cost commodity hardware. We have seen great success with our support for an open software appliance from the likes of our partners Jaspersoft and Pentaho (more to come). We are also now very excited about participating in Novells Suse Appliance program, an innovative solution for providing an open and flexible software appliance to enterprises that give them choice and freedom from proprietary appliances.
Highly respected analyst firm IDC got it right when it said in Novells press release about the Suse software appliance program “Software appliances are the next evolutionary step for software packaging, allowing hardware to be decoupled from the software, and creating more flexibility for deployment and management,” said Al Gillen, Program vice president, System Software at IDC. “Businesses are looking for simplified ways to deploy their applications, and this emerging form factor can not only directly leverage the increasingly virtualized infrastructure that customers have today in their data centers, it is capable of deployment to cloud computing environments, too. We believe that software appliances will also help reduce support costs and sales cycle times for ISVs, making the concept attractive for vendors and end users alike.”