The old saying is everything that goes around, comes around. It is perpetually true for IT. When I started in IT thirty years ago, the IBM representatives were trying to convince all of us young arrogant radicals that the distributed PCs were evil, and that the big mainframe was the only economic answer. They claimed that PCs only used 1% to 5% of the available CPU cycles and wasted storage by requiring us to have copies of everything everywhere. In addition,?it cost more to store 1 MB of data on a PC ($20.65/MB in 1982) when compared to a mainframe shared storage system ($.63/MB). Yes, only 63 cents and the cost per CPU cycle was equally weighted in favor of putting the next set of applications on the mainframe with its cheap terminals. But we persisted in going forward with this PC technology anyway.
In the mean time, we spent the last 30 years educating the entire industrial working population on how to use the computer, re-invented network-based printing and spooling, re-invented shared storagenow its called a SAN (Storage Area Network)and are looking at cheaper end user equipment called thin clients (we called them dumb terminals 30 years ago).
So the corporate culture is coming around again. Now, the corporate prestige of everyone a PC expert is gone. People are willing to release their personal grip on the physical technology, realizing that the real value is in what we do with the information. Analysis of information is what creates corporate importance for the professional, not controlling the hardware.
So here comes the full cycle. We are again realizing that centralized management of information is economically the best way of controlling the rising costs of IT, de-duplication of data is not only cheaper in a mainframe-like environment called a virtual Machine?(VM), but its easier to control its safe keeping with centralized backup procedures. And all of this is more economic when managed with a centralized staff of professionals in a managed, secure data center.
After 30 years, it has come around! Oh yeah, 30 years ago they called Virtual Machines
Virtual Machines.John Boyd