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As information technology continually evolves, there is a cycle of tendencies between central and distributed control. One could envision mainframe technology with terminal services at one end of the spectrum: high performing, resilient and singular in its standardized support of thin clients connecting across the network. Open systems might be somewhat opposite, with a range of servers, desktops, and laptops, giving great flexibility and a small enough footprint to serve local users anywhere, but somewhat at the expense of management simplicity and robustness. More recent trends toward consolidation, including server and storage virtualization, are often driven by operational and financial considerations to return to fewer servers with higher utilization, simplified disaster recovery operations, and common platforms.
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