A strange thing has happened: the IDG news service - which supplies IT news to all IDG titles, including Techworld - took one of our articles from 2004 and posted it as if it were a fresh, new story .

What was really interesting though was the fact that a five year old story could slip among the current headlines unnoticed; an indication of how the thorny subject of chargeback remains with us.

I was reminded of my stint at VMWorld last week when time and again VMware executives outlined a world in which IT departments would have more control over their various departments: it was a theme in the presentations on cloud computing and it was a theme when talking about desktop virtualisation.

But there are a couple of immediate questions: firstly, just how many IT departments implement chargeback at the moment? The 2004 survey suggests that the majority of the do but it's a bit sketchy on the details: how many companies employ a true chargeback system, where departments are billed according to actual usage? I suspect that many people who use the term chargeback are using it to cover the way that IT administrators assign a nominal cost to a customer whether or not that's a reflection of actual use.

The second question is how many people are going to use VMware's chargeback tool now that it's being offered as part of the overall VMware. Is this tapping into a real need.

We're used to be charged for usage of everything now: obviously gas, electricity, phones and, increasingly, water; we're charged by the hour for parking and by the mile (or a flat fee) for public transport; the pertinent question is why isn't IT charging for its services.

This an age-old question and there are some age-old answers. One of the main reasons is there are too many IT projects that would not get off the ground if they had to be paid for by a single department. How does cost get broken down when it comes to IT services that cover all departments within the enterprise? How does the cost of the IT get separated from the power consumption and should departments get separate electricty bills too?

These are questions that aren't going to go away because an enterprise moves to virtualise large parts of its IT infrastructure and we'd love to hear more from companies that are genuinely into usage-priced chargeback but my gut feeling is that we could be picking up five year old features in 2014 and still discussing when it's going to happen.