Businesses are just getting their collective heads around the idea of virtualisation but VMware is going even further that that.

A conversation with Jocelyn Goldfein,the head of VMware's desktop virtualisation team, reveals just how far the Vmware 'ecosystem' (to quote VMware execs' favourite word) extends.

"I can see virtualisation extending to thehome - not next year but soon."While she wouldn't be drawn on a time frame, she did think it would fewer than five years.

While I don't see anything wrong with VMware's vision here, this does strike me as wildly ambitious. After all, this is a company that is 11 years old, whose technology is widely talked about yet does not have a significant mission critical virtualisation environment within any major enterprise. It's not yet conquered the enterprise but is already looking for new worlds to conquer. In a way, it's part of the infectious nature of conferences - things that are considerably difficult to achieve are dismissed in just a few lines. And VMWorld is a conference that is particularly prone to these outbursts of enthusiasm.

It's hard to see what the drive is going to be. The advantages for businesses are clear: less real estate for servers, lower electricity costs and a simplified infrastructure - how many of those apply to the home? The average home user is not bothered by server sprawl and pays only scant attention to power bills.

Goldfein thinks the drive towards netbooks is a key indicator of how rapid this change will be. But the move towards netbooks has been driven byone thing and one thing only - cheapness. Therefore if virtualisation means that services will delivered to the home more cheaply, then, that's what we'll see.

But for that to happen, there needs to be a massive change in the way that service providers implement service: it's something that could change but I wouldn't bet, er, my house on it.