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.