Recently, Google has been generating some new buzz with its search appliances. Google offers a shrink-wrapped version of its search engine in two different packages-- a 1-U rack-mounted server or a 2-U rack-mounted server. The Google Mini starts at $1,995 for a 50,000-document version and scales up to $8,995 for a version that searches up to 300,000 documents. Once you cross above the 300,000 document limit of the Mini, you step up to the pricier Google Search Appliance, which starts at $30k.
The appliances are manufactured by Dell and are distributed by Ingram. Dell touts the multi-colored Google appliance in its print ads and on its website. From the look of Google's appliance, I'm guessing it's a Dell 1950 under the hood of the mini and a Dell 2950 under the hood of the larger version. Dell's new 1900 series are much better than the their 1800 series. We have four generations of Dell hardware in our lab. From our experience, the 1800 series had some quality and reliability issues not found in their previous generations. From our recent experiences, Dell appears to have corrected these problems with their latest generation of servers.
By controlling the hardware environment, installation is greatly simplified, and the application's performance and reliability becomes more predictable. It will be interesting to see how the Google appliance fares.