IT Appliances are developed to meet specific functional requirements for solutions. They utilize select software components, provide local system integration and offer a better economic profile for the function addressed.
The best IT Appliances incorporate new software releases and continue the transparent system integration needed to keep them fresh and competitive. Scalability, high levels of reliability, automated management and security are elements of the most capable IT Appliances.
These characteristics should be the first evaluated when considering an IT Appliance to enrich current solutions. But, the evaluation should consider a variety of other elements as well. Since the IT Appliance is an element of a larger solution complex, it must fit well or it will not deliver the desired benefits.
Fundamentals such as utilization of the proper protocols and physical connections are inherent. System integration factors such as security, resilience/reliability, management, support and qualification with other elements of the overall solution are equally important. Each will play a role in optimizing the total environment.
An example might help put its value into perspective. The ClearPath ePortal IT Appliance provides web services and mobile device integration for ClearPath solutions. It is not the only method of addressing these solution needs, but it incorporates a variety of capabilities that would be difficult (and costly) to replicate through alternate approaches. The native ePortal is a fully integrated IT appliance that qualifies the most current levels of software, enables the most current standards, provides high levels of scalability, leverages open development technology (Visual Studio) and incorporates local system management.
The ClearPath operating environment manages the ePortal environment, making it a native element of the overall system; independent management of the ePortal appliance is not needed. This capability extends across complex areas such as security and transparent failover. And, it applies across a wide range of ClearPath systems and different system software releases. As a result, the customer focus is on extension of the solution rather than a large investment in integration and ongoing IT Appliance support.
System integration can be a costly and complex element of IT Appliance integration. Those IT Appliances that provide seamless integration and management, based on investments from the supplier, typically deliver the greatest value.