A few years back, the traditional IT world was debating the merits of virtualization. There were concerns about performance, security, vendor support, and a host of other issues. Fast-forward to today, however, and you’ll find virtual machines in use in nearly every data center. The number one reason virtual machines have revolutionized server-side computing, I believe, is cost savings. I can deploy a server in a fraction of the time I could before and, from a power consumption standpoint, operate it much more inexpensively. And then there are the business continuation benefits – I can quickly fail over or recover to virtual machine across the city or across the globe.
So what are the implications of this in the SCADA world? I think it’s just a matter of time before we see more widespread acceptance of VMware and other virtualization platforms in production control systems. The benefit here may be less about cost savings, though, and more about increased functionality. The ability to snapshot and clone machines for backup and testing, for example, is very attractive.
We’re going to examine this subject over a series of blog posts. Hopefully we’ll cover all the major topics – security, reliability, performance, serial communication issues, vendor support, and adoption rate, to name a few.
I look forward to your comments and opinions.