Mitchell Ashley of Still Secure (disclosure: StillSecure Strata Guard virtual appliance available in Virtual Appliance Marketplace) lays out his view of the effects of commodization and Moore’s Law on the hardware part of hardware appliances. Why appliances are dinosaurs:

Virtualization offers other capabilities interesting to networking and security – the ability to migrate and move network and security functions without changing hardware. Imagine moving your IPS from one edge appliance to another via a management console on your desktop.

We’re not far away from such a scenario. So get ready to rethink your appliance strategy.

Mike Rothman of The Daily Incite isn’t so sure about virtualizing his networking appliances, but does admit that at this point most of them are running on Intel-based hardware. Appliances are not T-Rex:

Yes, large enterprises (and even some small ones) are increasingly
virtualizing their data centers with products like VMware. But do I
want VMware running in my perimeter? Not so sure about that. I do
believe that appliances targeted at data center security applications
will need to evolve to work in a virtualized environment. BUT, not
necessarily on the perimeter. I may have a box that virtualizes
security applications (which is what Crossbeam does), but it’s still a
box. But let’s be clear, most "appliances" are software running on an
industry-standard (read Intel) appliance platform.

The security blogosphere is very active, with lots of shouting and hand-waving. Great fun. Mike Rothman’s Daily Incite is a good place to start, and I’ve been enjoying reading StillSecure’s Chief Strategy Officer Alan Shimel as well. The virtualization blogosphere could probably stand to step up our level of two-way conversation, although I’m not sure about the shouting.