Virtualization may lead to employee hardware ownership


Thomas O'Sullivan, operations manager at the Montana Department of Transportation (DOT), said he can see employee ownership of laptops coming. Those who now have handheld devices, for instance, want to be able to synchronize their devices with their work e-mail and applications and already use their own hardware for work.

"The laptop may be the next logical step," O'Sullivan said, noting that the DOT, which already virtualizes servers, is investigating doing the same for PCs.

Dodd Vernon, operations manager at Walgreen Co., a Deerfield, Ill.-based pharmacy chain with 5,500 stores, said the virtualization of laptop and desktop environments has been discussed. But he said his company will need to see the technology proven before it takes action.

Even so, Vernon said that he can see the appeal of individually owned PCs that log into virtual environments and that employee ownership would likely help with IT maintenance and staffing.

"I think there could be some cost benefit," Vernon said, adding that there might also be some resistance from users and that a company would likely have to provide stipends for hardware purchases.