Good news, bad news and more good news: How virtualization is streamlining branch offices.

They say, be careful what you wish for. A plant needs sunshine and water to grow but give it too much and the plant burns or withers. The same sort of predicament might be said of data center consolidation.

Over the last few decades, pulling the plug on inefficiently used servers in a variety of data centers and branch offices throughout an organization’s network and replacing them with a large number of x86 servers in a smaller number of data centers drove impressive economies of scale. That was the good news. The bad news was that these massive data centers turned out to be more complex to manage, consumed a lot of energy and depended on sophisticated planning to deal with unexpected loads.

That, of course, resulted in more good news in the form of server virtualization to address these challenges. Virtual servers could be provisioned more quickly than physical ones, they needed less space and power and they could be cloned, moved or clustered without service interruption.

 But server virtualization, you guessed it, has led to some challenges of its own, [Read more...]