But are they a viable solution for you?
Questions that come immediately to mind are: Will appliances be cheaper to implement? Do they have an overall lower cost because they combine hardware and software? Are they cheaper to support? Will I require specialized people to support an appliance?
[Quick description of BI appliances from a non-technology perspective: BI appliances are a combination of hardware and software that are packaged together to provide high-performing, streamlined BI solutions. BI appliances are relatively new to the market but promise a high price-to-performance ratio.]
To build a typical BI system, today you would have to find a hardware vendor, a BI software vendor, and a separate consulting partner (or internal resources) to implement your BI solution -- then you would tune for performance. This can be a complicated process but are using appliances any better?
Here is a link to DATAllegro's CIO Whitepaper Series where I read Bloor Research's Truth about DW appliances white paper by Philip Howard (head's up: he is a bit techy in his explanations). Thank you Fayu for passing this on to me.
In the past, I have questioned whether appliances are ready for prime time. Or are they best for a market niche. To help answer these questions, Philip's white paper suggests the following common myths (concerns) of appliances:
- Unfortunately, appliances are proprietary
- Only good for data marts, not Enterprise Data Warehouses
- It's easier to build your own appliance
- Support is split between the appliance and hardware vendors
Philip does give alternative perspectives to these concerns but I didn't walk away evangelistic about appliances. I think this whitepaper was meant to address 'typical' objections vendors try to overcome. So I may just need to hear from those working directly with BI appliances to understand all the great benefits.
Anyone with direct experience willing to comment?
But unless you know something I don't and you don't know whether you need an appliance, then you probably don't.