I'll be honest, my company is in the appliance based computing market and this post is heavily influenced by that. There are certain advantages and disadvantages to the different types of computing that are available to the business customer today. Traditionally In-House computing was the only game in town. You have to purchase your own hardware, install all the software (operating system, database, application, etc.), maintain it, update it, provide disaster recovery, etc. And on top of all of that you had to figure out how many licenses you needed and keep the SIIA hounds at bay. It was a huge hassle.

Then web based computing came on the scene and hosted software was born. This solved a great many problems with in-house computing. You didn't have to worry about installing the software, buying hardware, updating the system, or anything. Umm... sorta. There were a couple of things that worried quite a few people with availability being the topmost concern. If your connection to the Hosted software vendor goes down you can't work. Period. Now Google and a few other companies are working on this problem by providing local browser based caching and database solutions but they are not very wide spread. Another concern is what happens to your data if/when the vendor goes out of business or stops providing the application you use. In the in-house software days you merely didn't get updates anymore and the software slowly bit-rotted away. When your application is hosted you are completely at the vendors mercy. If they decide to close up shop you have no choice but to move to another solution.

Then there is Appliance based computing. For those of you who don't know, appliances are self contained boxes with pre-installed software that are installed inside your company. One of the big advantages over in-house solutions is that they are almost as simple to install and get running as hosted software. You just purchase the appliance you need, unpack it, and plug it in. Kinda like your toaster or refrigerator, hence the name Appliance. Another benefit is the fact that your data stays inside your walls and is not hosted on some unknown system, with some unknown security. You know where it is and can limit physical and network access to it according to your policies.

KangarooBox goes above and beyond most appliance vendors in several areas. Firstly, since we base all of our solutions on OSS (Open Source Software) we have unlimited licensing, and that means that you don't have to worry about how many users are on the system or if the SIIA are going to be knocking on your door. We also have a customer safety net so that you can continue using your appliance even if something happens to us. If, by some unfortunate event, we no can longer support your appliance the SSH keys will be given up to you so that you can support the system yourself or at least retrieve your data.

All of these options are viable and you have to make the best choice depending on your situation. In-House still makes sense for completely custom solutions or business critical applications. However, with the current state of the economy a lot of companies are looking for ways to simplify their systems and reduce staff. Hosted applications allow you to expand your software operations without increasing headcount. Appliance based computing goes even further by keeping it inside your walls while at the same time making it easier to manage. What are you going to choose for your next project?