Small distributed data centers and laboratories are becoming increasingly expensive to provision, support, and maintain on their own. In this paper, we discuss how North Carolina State University Virtual Computing Laboratory (VCL) technology can be used to implement distributed reconfigurable data centers and IT (information technology) services in educational institutions. VCL is an open-source implementation of a secure production-level technology for wide-area access to solutions based on real and virtualized computational, storage, network, and software resources. We discuss how this technology scales, what its return on investment is, and how it can deliver computing clouds that offer a mix of resource architectures and ensembles, including those that may integrate traditional mainframe servers.
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