I heard back from Netezza last night and got a very reasonable response that I would like to share.
"..have not published a reference architecture because unlike other
RDBMS/Server/Storage combinations there are a very limited number of variables
or tunables, which effect Netezza performance and these are all covered in the
Netezza training course delivered with all installations and also available to
partners every month at Netezza HQ."
As we are working with a client who has Netezza as a major component of their architecture we are going to look into this further, and I appreciated a response. I think the disruptive innovation that the Appliance market is bringing is amazing and applaud it. Now I just need to understand where it fits – truely.