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What is the definition of a network appliance?

What is the definition of a network appliance? Specifically, how can I explain to my client customer in simple terms what a network appliance is?
There are different types of network appliances. In short, a network appliance provides applications and services over the network via a centralized appliance that houses hardware, software, etc. that would normally run at the desktop. This could be storage, firewall protection, hardware intrusion detection, virus detection, etc.
This was last published in November 2004

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