Finding the Best Current Option: Appliance, Virtual, or Cloud

December 20, 2022

Major retailer continues its integration journey with Prolifics

About our client, an International Retailer

This International Retailer (IR) has been a Prolifics client for a decade. The company’s brand names in apparel and accessories are well-known globally, and over the years IR has become a complete fashion lifestyle for its customers.

Background for a continuing story

In a previous case study, we discussed how this International Retailer (IR) had a series of legacy systems: ERP, invoicing, inventory, marketing, manufacturing, supply chain and more. Throughout the years, we’ve helped IR integrate these systems. As the previous case study describes, IR has been moving a large set of legacy, on-premise systems and databases to the cloud. IR took a “best-of-breed” approach to these cloud environments, based on its systems and the strengths of the providers. The company also brought aboard dozens of new SaaS applications. Some other systems did remain on-prem. Prolifics continues to be IR’s integration provider of choice, ensuring the integration of cloud and on-prem systems.


As part of our continued modernization and integration efforts with IR, we recommended and implemented several appliances that have been highly successful for our client over the years. However, soon these appliances are going “end-of-life” and will not be supported going forward. So we helped our client create plans for replacing these appliances. While IR’s goal is to eventually move everything to the cloud, they looked to us for guidance regarding these appliances, as to cost, timing, and work required. Their choices are:

  • Move the functions to the cloud now
  • Replace the appliances with newer appliance versions
  • Move to virtual appliances


In consulting with IR, our Prolifics experts developed the following scenarios, based on the choices above.

Move the functions to the cloud now

Although Prolifics and IR have an ongoing and successful partnership moving integrations to the cloud, IR felt it is not ready to move the functions to the cloud within the time frame of the appliances going end-of-life. That is, it would require more time to ensure the effective and efficient migration of moving the functions “out of” the appliances to the cloud.

Replace the appliances with newer appliance versions

The main benefit of appliances is the convenience and efficiency of having everything together in one “box.” Appliances come with the hardware box, operating system and software that is plugged into your network. If something goes wrong with either the physical or the software, the client just makes one call to the provider.

The issue with this choice for IR is one of cost and timing. While IR is not ready to move these functions to the cloud now (the end-of-life of the current appliances), they will be ready before the end-of-life of any new appliance they buy. So, buying new appliances now would mean either delaying a piece of a strategic corporate goal to wait out the useful life, or paying “too much” for the appliances based on how long IR would actually use them.

Move to virtual appliances

Virtual appliances have benefits and drawbacks compared to physical appliances – all related to the fact that virtual appliances come with the operating system and software, but you’re on your own for the hardware portion.

A virtual appliance comes with the operating system and software components built in. However, you have to install this virtual appliance onto a virtual machine environment in your data center.

The main and – in the case of IR – overriding benefit to virtual appliances is the ease of moving the combination software/operating system from the virtual machine environment to the cloud.


Our work with IR has been a continuous journey. It started by modernizing, then we’re virtualizing and that’s going to allow them to move to the cloud. After our consultation and analysis, Prolifics is now in the process of sending IR a proposal for the migration and implementation from the physical appliances to virtual.


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About Prolifics

Prolifics is a digital engineering and consulting firm helping clients navigate and accelerate their digital transformation journeys. We deliver relevant outcomes using our systematic approach to rapid, enterprise-grade continuous innovation. We treat our digital deliverables like a customized product – using agile practices to deliver immediate and ongoing increases in value.

We provide consulting, engineering and managed services for all our practice areas – Data & AI, Integration & Applications, Business Automation, DevXOps, Test Automation, and Cybersecurity – at any point our clients need them.

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