Rediscovering the Big Iron
Virtualisation, CMDB, autodiscovery, swappable CPUs, intelligent media devices, systems and availability management, capacity modelling... The mainframe worked all this out decades ago. Here's a story I heard from fairly close to the source so it is probably fairly close to the truth. Whatever, it makes a good story:
Mainframe software vendor Acronym Ltd wanted to develop a Unix version (PCs were only for desktops in those days) of their operations management products. This was in the days when I asked a Unix wonk at a huge company what he used for tape management and he replied "that cardboard box".
Acronym took their mainframe developers and taught them C, rather than getting midrange cowboys [remember when we called it "midrange"?]. Acronym then hatched a deal with a Unix hardware/software vendor, Two Guys Ltd, to develop the new products for their platform first. Initially Two Guys executives were pretty sure their people knew all there was to know (they still behave that way) and were sceptical of whether Acronym had anything to add. So the mainframe developers from Acronym meet the Unix developers at Two Guys, and explain to them concepts like event monitoring, automation, scheduling, backup/recovery, and tape management.
After the Acronym mob left, a big boss at Two Guys came in the room and asked his developers whether they had learnt anything at all from those bozoes. One developer replies "We felt like virgins on a date with sailors".
The worldly sailors got their way, Two Guys Ltd were introduced to the big wide world of systems management, and the rest, as they say, is software history.