Franklin W. Olin School of Engineering wasn’t exactly a good fit for server virtualization. Eclectic engineering applications aren’t always the best fit for cookie cutter treatment. Olin, by the way, was a civil engineer, who made a fortune by making gun powder and ammunition.  

However, the school pulled it off, according to a Campus Technology story featuring the Needham, Mass.  school’s CIO and vice presidient of operations Joanne Kossuth. The idea was to reduce the expensive and time-consuming addition of hardware every time more computing power was needed.

“Every time someone asked for something new, we had to go out and buy new hardware, set up an operating system, and jump through myriad other hoops to fulfill the request,” Kossuth was quoted as saying in the story.

Using VMware, the school after two years of working on the project can “create up to seven instances” within a single server which has cut the time required to get a new server up, tested and running in production.

Most interestingly, Kossuth urges caution when considering desktop virtualization, suggesting that engineer types want a high degree of control over their personal systems. Her concern specifically was making student engineers access apps over a network and storing their profiles on servers…outside of their control.

Indeed, engineers tend to find conspiracies in such centralization initiatives. As former editor-in-chief of two engineering magazines (EDN and Design News) where many of my charges were engineers, Kossuth’s treading carefully is a smart course of action – or inaction.

Nice job to reporter Bridget McCrea on the story.

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