Sun is quietly discontinuing its Cobalt series of appliance products despite analyst predictions of strong growth in the appliance market in general, and the security appliance market in particular. Some have already reached end of life, while others such as the RaQ 1U server product will reach end of life in February, with support for existing customers planned for three more years.
Sun's move comes as analysts are predicting robust profits for appliance vendors in the security space. IDC says security appliance revenues reached nearly $380m in Q3 2003, up 22% from the previous year. Intrusion detection in particular is growing fast, at 89%, although firewall and VPN appliances form the majority of the business, with $317.7m in revenues.
"IDC expects the security appliance market – particularly the intrusion detection appliance market – to continue its strong growth in 2004. A number of new security appliance options have been introduced to the market and this appears to be fuelling some of the growth," says Charles Kolodgy, research director for IDC's Security Products service.
Sun purchased the Linux-based Cobalt business in 2001 for more than $2b. Although it has failed to realise much return on that investment and remaining focussed on its Solaris operating system, the company is currently still selling its iForce VPN/Firewall Appliance.