As a young sportswriter, I did everything on a 3270. Newsrooms were like that in the late '80s. Typewriters had only recently given way to mainframe-driven terminals.

But now the mainframe is making a comeback of sorts, for which you can thank the good folks at VMWare (NYSE:VMW) and their peers. Virtualization technology, you see, allows for any collection of computing power to be divided into more efficient chunks.

And when functional limits are removed, imaginations run wild. How wild? Researchers at the Butler Group now say that replacing 1,000 PCs with server-based terminals a la the old 3270 would result in -- wait for it -- $157,500 in power savings per year.

Prepare the Wayback Machine, Mr. Peabody. We're going virtual.

Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy gets green with cash, not envy.