Time to Bring Your Own PC?

Client virtualisation could lead to procurement of laptops and other client devices moving from the IT department to end-users, similar to what's increasingly the case with mobile phones in businesses, speakers at VMware's VMworld Europe have said.

As laptops become increasingly personalised and consumerised, client virtualisation could hold the key to allow business users to choose their own device and even own it while their employers' IT department offers necessary data and applications via a virtual machine (VM) over the network.

This isn't new. VMware released its first desktop virtualisation products ten years ago. However, broadband networks and processing power now make delivering a PC image over IP networks a possibility, while consumerisation of IT makes it desirable.

The BYOPC system would effectively be "desktop as a service," VMware's chief executive Paul Martiz Martiz said, while chief technology officer Stephen Herrod described it to IT PRO as "employee-owned IT" and suggested it could be much like how some firms offer their workers a stipend to choose their own mobile phone.

"Today, devices and users environments are synonymous that's going to change," added Jocelyn Goldfein, VMware's client general manager. "It will be agnostic as to device what the business owns is the environment, the view."

Martiz said that it's time to "provision users, not devices" - something that happens already when c-level executives want to us an Apple computer, but which should happen for the rest of the firm, too, he said.

"As an industry, we've got this backwards," he said. "This is really about users people stay, devices come and go."

Click here for more virtualisation news from VMworld Europe 2009