Many companies like the idea of reducing both capital and operational expenses by giving end users 'desktops' hosted in a data centre, but the cost of doing it themselves or outsourcing the service is often too high to make it viable, Wolf says.
One user's story
Even relatively conservative end user constituencies like doctor's offices are happy to offload even functions critical to their own operation if it means not having to take time or resources away from clinical practice to focus on IT integration, according to Bill Gillis, clinical applications manager for Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center in Boston.
Gillis built a VMware virtual server cluster, and then a cloud structure as a platform on which to run the applications doctor offices use to connect with the hospital. The response among physicians was so strong BIDMC had to expand the programme, which required securely configured clients on the PCs at each physician's office, to be entirely virtual to the practices.
"We were worried we'd build this big thing and no one would come, but we're up to not quite twofold the enrollment we were planning for and we're still expanding it," Gillis says. "Ideally we would even remove the client component in the practice so when they're using the clinical applications they could be doing it with anything that supports a browser."
Few, if any businesses are talking about virtualising or partially virtualising their whole user base, Wolf says, but most of them seem to be considering doing it in significant chunks.