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Definition: hardware appliance

A device that is dedicated to a specific function in contrast to a general-purpose computer. The hardware comes pre-installed with its operating system and application. Many consider the router to be the first network appliance.

A "software appliance" is the software alone, which must be installed in the computer. Following is a list of common hardware appliances. See virtual appliance.

    caching appliance
    digital appliance
    email appliance
    firewall appliance
    Internet appliance
    Internet server appliance
    network appliance
    server appliance