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network appliance(1) A specialized device for use on a network. For example, Web servers, cache servers and file servers can be implemented as general-purpose computers with the appropriate software or as network appliances, which are computers dedicated to a single function and cannot do anything else. See server appliance, Internet appliance and Web cache.
|All-In-One Network Appliance|
|The ChiliBox is an example of an earlier network appliance that combined a router, firewall, e-mail server, DNS, virtual private network (VPN), backup and remote file sharing in one system. It was designed to solve most network requirements for a small business. (Image courtesy of Chili Systems, Inc., www.chilisystems.com)|
(2) (Network Appliance, Inc., Sunnyvale, CA, www.netapp.com) A leading provider of network file storage and content delivery systems. Founded in 1992, it pioneered the network attached storage (NAS) device as an extension of the industry trend toward single-function products. It developed storage, content distribution and reporting software and content delivery platforms under the Filer and NetCache brands. Network Appliance products use the innovative Data ONTAP operating system and WAFL file system, support multiple protocols and provide transparent integration between Unix and Windows. See NAS, WAFL, ICAP, DAFS, NetApp Filer, NetCache and Content Alliance.