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					Customized Hardware Solution vs. Standard Programmable Device       980913 안 형준
- I will use the initials SPD for standard programmable devices.
1. Flexibility: A customized solution initially designed to manage traffic for modern
   cars probably won’t be able to manage traffic for flying cars in the future since
   flying cars will have the concept of altitude which does not exist in modern cars.
   Software requirements are, by nature, constantly changing. Would a customized
   solution be able to cope with those changes efficiently and effectively? In most
   cases a SPD will prove to be miles more flexible than customized solutions.
2. Scalability: If the solution above was initially designed for a small town with
   only 10 cars in total, will it be able to manage traffic for a major city such as
   Seoul? How much scalability would a customized solution be able to offer
   compared to SPD?
3. Performance: Customized solutions will generally outperform their counterparts
   running on SPD. However due to increasing computing power of modern SPD, a
   well made SPD solution will only exhibit minute difference in performance to
   customized solutions. Would the extra performance be worth sacrificing the
   advantages offered by SPD?
4. Development Cost/Time: Customized solutions are designed and built from
   scratch and thus customized solutions will always be more costly compared to
   off the shelf products. The question of whether there are any development tools
   for customized solutions and their cost will also play an important factor.
   The non-standardized property of customized solutions will also play a factor in
   development time. Without a sufficient knowledge base, many problems will
   arise during development that will take a substantial amount of time to
   overcome.
5. Training/Deployment/Maintenance: Customized solutions usually have their own
   way of deploying their solutions and maintenance procedures. This requires
   extensive training, training which will most likely be obsolete when a new
   solution comes along or a switch to SPD is made.
6. Stability: Due to their wide use, SPDs can be considered to be very stable. Any
   problematic issues are in most cases well documented and either a solution or
   workaround can easily be found. Customized solutions must repeat the
   stabilization process for virtually every new solution which can be a big
   nuisance.
7. Track Record: Track records are vital in that they can somewhat serve as an
   assurance. If a certain project similar to what the implementer is about to
   undertake was successfully completed using a particular solution, then the
   implementer can safely assume that he/she will be able to produce similar
   results using the same solution.
   In most cases customized solutions will not have a track record as diverse as
   that of standard programmable devices. Programmers will be hard pressed to
   find any track record that can be a viable reference when it comes to
   customized solutions. This may imply that the customized solution may be a
   good candidate but just hasn’t seen enough action, or it may imply that the
   customized solution is just wrong for the job. Of which we can never know for
   sure.
8. Support: Should any problems arise, would there be any support readily
   available? Are there any good, extensive commercial / non-commercial
   support?


Conclusion:
Customized hardware solutions offer performance advantages over standard
programmable devices. However the magnitude of this advantage is rapidly
diminishing as standard programmable devices are becoming more and more
powerful in terms of computing power.
In my opinion a small performance disadvantage is a small price to pay compared to
the overwhelming advantages offered by standard programmable devices.
Good examples are firewalls and routers. Firewalls and routers have traditionally
opted for customized hardware solutions since standard programmable devices in
the past could not cope with the sheer volume of traffic firewalls and routers are
required to handle. Nowadays one would be hard pressed to find a firewall or router
that does not run on a Linux based environment.