Application Deployment Featured Article

Appliance Deployment: Choosing the Right Operating System

August 11, 2009


NEI, a provider of appliance deployment solutions, offers customers the engineering, manufacturing, logistics and technical support services they need to deliver the most effective and cost-efficient solutions.
Choosing the right application deployment can be a tricky task as companies must move through a decision tree that doesn’t always point to the right path.
NEI helps developers make the right choice so they can maximize performance and minimize their footprint and security risks.
To find out more, I recently caught up with Jeff Hudgins, vice president of marketing at NEI.
Hudgins told TMCnet that when it comes to appliance deployment and operating systems, the company has seen a lot of emphasis and activity around security and storage management applications.
“Our services strategy and how we approach the market,” Hudgins said, “gives us insight into all of these technologies as they spill over into one another.”
Our exchange follows:
When it comes to appliance deployment, what is most important to first consider regarding an Operating System?
What we find out in the markets that we’re serving is that the first level of importance typically is what I call the “cultural” or “institutional” bias of the developer. In other words, they have certain skills and a ‘bent’ towards an OS of choice.
The second thing in order of importance when it comes to choosing the right operating system is “what is your history of deployments” -  do you have a legacy of Linux or Linux variants, or a Windows-type deployment? We find that usually the bias, together with what the legacy has been – is likely a huge influence.
The third element is the footprint of the OS – based on the application, how big a footprint is the company willing to take up with that operating system.
What application deployments are recommended for a Windows environment?
The first recommendation would be anything that has to do with enterprise applications that are heavy laden with any kind of graphics.
Next, would be anything that has a high user interface dependency and then any end user-type applications in Windows environments.
Are there specific appliance deployments that should be done around Linux?
Linux is going to be used more in network integration type applications – applications that are limited from a user interface, almost the opposite of a Windows environment.
In between there, interestingly enough is where we would put a standalone appliance.
If you have a standalone appliance then the operating system choice really isn’t going to matter because its stand alone. It’s not dependent on user interface and it’s also not dependent on its network interface. So if you’re creating that stand alone appliance, then you’re probably back to some of those first discussions dealing with the questions of “what is your institutional bias” and “what has been your legacy” as well as footprint considerations.
Does either operating system offer more security or cost efficiencies?
From a cost perspective, that’s ultimately going to depend upon the level of support you’re gong to need. For example, if you take some of the open environments, there’s a low barrier to entry from a cost standpoint, but it could be potentially heavy laden with costs from a support standpoint.
On the opposite side, you may pay more for an individual licensing but save downstream on your support - so ultimately the cost is going to be more a function of support than anything else.
From a security standpoint, its more dependent on the application. The more open you need the interface or environment, the less secure it will be. If you have a less “open” or interfaced app – then the more secure it will be. So they kind of work against each other.
If you look at what NEI provides in our Smart Services and some of our “Securing the OS” offerings, we give customers an opportunity to get the best of both worlds. Because we can help with the right selection of the OS, we can create the right footprint on the front side, and then create this wrapper around it via our Smart Services, which eliminates some of the security risks that you incur while still gaining that user interface.
Can you talk a little about what NEI offers for application deployment via specific operating systems?
When we work through our OS securing process with customers, the OS choice really is not that critical. If it is going to be a standalone appliance, we can help secure the OS whether its Windows or Linux-based and by wrapping our Smart Services around it, reduce the amount of OS support you need as well as security risks so you can really deliver the appliance solution.
For more, check out the Appliance Deployment channel on TMCnet.

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Stefania Viscusi is an assignment editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Stefania’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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