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Virtual Appliances Open up Market Opportunities for Manufacturers

August 30, 2013
By Mae Kowalke, Software Licensing Contributor

Branch offices and small stores need security products, too.

The existing model that appliance manufacturers have used for smaller deployments has been the 1U appliance. This of course had not delivered the same capacity as the larger appliances that run on carrier-grade infrastructure, but it got the job done for small operations.

Well, virtualization has given manufacturers another option, according to a recent video by Vikram Koka, vice president of engineering for producer solutions at Flexera Software. The new option: virtual appliances.

Virtual appliances deliver a number of benefits both for customers and manufacturers.

For the manufacturer, virtual appliances can help in three ways.

First, virtual appliances help increase margins because a virtual appliance does not need physical hardware or the delivery channels to have this hardware reach the customer. Instead of a 1U product offering, a virtual appliance can be used.

Second, according to Koka, virtual appliances reduce inventory for appliance manufacturers.

Instead of needing to develop a number of 1U appliances to serve smaller operations fully, virtual appliances can fill the need while keeping the number of physical products in check. Virtual appliances by definition do not add to inventory.

But what virtual appliances do add is sales.

As Koka notes in the video, virtual appliances can help manufacturers reach new markets because niche needs can more easily be met if a new physical appliance is not needed to serve each market need.

Further, smaller operations and branch offices that might not have the infrastructure even for a 1U appliance can take advantage of a manufacturer’s solution by installing a virtual appliance on standard computer hardware. So, virtual appliances open up more market opportunities.

On the customer side, virtual appliances also make sense because the customer can use standard, off-the-shelf hardware but still benefit from the specialized functionality that the manufacturer’s appliance brings.

For instance, this standard hardware can be running a basic Linux install or run on a Windows server, noted Koka.

The need for specialized appliances does not disappear with the emergence of virtualization, but, as Koka demonstrated in his video, virtualization carries with it a number of additional benefits.

Edited by Blaise McNamee

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