Employee-owned IT, powered by virtualization

Employee-owned IT can be powered with virtualization. However, how would that fit in most mainstream IT environments? Rick Vanover explains the topic and addresses the issues.

VMworld day 2 started with a keynote by CTO Dr. Steve Herrod that was a good showcase of how partners, acquisitions, and new technologies are going to shape the future of VMware technologies. The keynotes at VMworld are an important start of the day. They set the stage for high-level direction of technologies as well as selected demonstrations of new products or features. Figure A was taken just before the keynote began. Figure A

Figure A

In the discussion were some points that may pose a fundamental change to mainstream IT. Employee-owned IT was a point in the keynote. This is where an organization allows employees to provide their own computing device, such as a laptop or PC. The organization would in turn provide an approved-for-use virtual machine. The objective would allow organizations to decouple the devices from the computing environment, as well as relieve a support burden for PCs and laptops.

The initial issues are numerous, but I believe the idea has great traction. In fact, I know of this practice being done in the telecommunications arena for some organizations with smart phones. Allowing people to purchase their own device with the plans and service that fits their needs, but requiring it to be managed by their central policy server. In the case of employee-owned IT, the support of the device is the biggest issue that comes to mind. Specifically, if the notebook has next-business day replacement, does that mean they get to go home early instead of work?

The other red flag for many readers will be about what devices are permitted on company networks. Indeed that is a valid point, and in fact it would not be appropriate for most networks as they are designed today. The network of an organization that embraces employee-owned IT would architect the network around security for access to resources such as servers, printing, applications, and other protected items.

I like the idea, but adoption may be tough for a long while for this concept. Share your comments on the concept of employee-owned IT below.