Earlier this month, Derrick Harris wrote about the current fashion for taking open source software and shipping it alongside some bespoke hardware in the form of an appliance; buy it, plug it into the network, and just let it get on with the job. As Derrick argued, there are plenty of reasons why this might make sense as an approach to sustainable growth. There are also plenty of reasons why it doesn’t, and the investment, margins and skills are very different to those associated with shipping code or delivering professional services. Nevertheless, the trend continues, with Nutanix today announcing a virtualized server with on-board solid state and hard drive storage. Appliances are an interesting approach, perhaps most applicable in circumstances where a customer really does intend to simply buy one and sit it in the corner to get on with its job. Things can become more complex when appliances need to be tightly integrated with other infrastructure, but then that’s often also true when integrating traditional hardware from different vendors. Where will the current enthusiasm for appliances take us next?