A major cause of field problems with network appliances, meaning that the system configuration is not perfect. This is an odd event because, in principle, an appliance is supposed to be a simple computer system specially designed to perform a single task, and an appliance system is supposed to be relatively easy to configure and use.
However, making appliances work well in a network in a variety of application environments often has considerable configuration complexity. One reason for the complexity is that an appliance in use is only part of a complex, distributed system. For example, the performance of a file server is contingent on the performance of a distributed system. A distributed system is made up of a client system (usually an all-purpose computer system) connected to the file server through a potentially complicated network fabric (including cables, routers, switches, patch panels, and so on). These components commonly come from various vendors, meaning that they all need to be configured and function well together if the file server is to function at its best. Unfortunately, this positive outcome does not occur for a number of technical reasons, as outlined in the 2000 technical piece by G. Banga.
Banga, G. Misconfiguration. [Online, April 24, 2000.] Gaurav Banga Website. http://www.usenix.org/publications/library/proceedings/usenix2000/general/full_ papers/banga/banga_html/node4.html.