That grid computing offers a number of advantages to large data centers, including improved resource allocation and support for data-intensive applications, is well known. But let's face it, grids are a pain to set up.
Like everywhere else, virtualization is having an effect on grid technology. Traditional grids had multiple machines hosting the various services needed to keep the grid up and running. But, according to International Science Grid This Week, researchers in Germany have devised a system in which virtual partitions can host the services in a single piece of hardware, an approach they've dubbed "Grid in a Box."
And while some would argue that this is not a real grid architecture, it does offer nearly the same functionality at less cost, although at a slight cost in processing ability. You also get the improved management and increased flexibility that virtualization has brought to standard computing environments.
It seems that the Europeans have taken grid computing to heart in many of their public institutions. With a simple, low-cost means of deployment, there is every reason to expect grid technology to make significant headway in the commercial world as well.