Removing the fuzzy math from VDI

One of the aspects of server virtualization that makes it so popular is the simplicity of the return on investment (ROI) calculation. An IT Manager can look at the reduction in physical servers, combined with the increase in application workload, and realize this was a good deal. Virtual Desktop Infrastructures (VDI) don’t have this luxury, so IT professionals need to resort to more complex and potentially debatable soft cost savings calculations in order to justify the investment. The simple truth is that VDI rollouts would increase if the math was simpler.

Watch the on demand webinar "How To Overcome the Four Obstacles to VDI Love"

The VDI Calculation Complexity

One problem that VDI faces is that nothing actually gets removed from the environment like it does with server virtualization. Users still need some type of endpoint device to access their data. In addition, most VDI deployments leverage shared storage so that the virtual desktops can benefit from the same VM mobility and reliability that virtual servers do. These two costs need to be more clearly identified so that the VDI project can be justified to the IT budget stakeholders.

The most common justification for VDI is increased operational efficiency. IT administrators should have an easier time managing thousands of virtual desktops than thousands of physical ones. In addition, it’s easier to provide backup, recovery, and security for virtual desktops than their physical alternatives. Each of these costs should and could help justify the investment in VDI, but as “soft costs” they’re more difficult to capture and therefor not as attractive as hard cost savings in the final ROI analysis.

VDI ROI Made Simple

The simplest way to justify a VDI project is to make virtual cost-per-desktop less expensive than the physical. The first key to accomplishing that objective is to massively increase the number of desktops supported by each physical host while minimizing the number of storage systems required. The second key is to leverage inexpensive VDI client hardware. In our webinar “How To Overcome the Four Obstacles to VDI Love” the example we use is a Chromebook. In fact, in the webinar we discuss how to create a virtual desktop infrastructure in which they can deliver MacBook Air performance at Chromebook pricing.

If the actual cost per virtual desktop can be brought down low enough (say below $200) while delivering consistent MacBook Air performance, then the cost calculations are simplified and these initiatives become much more attractive to many more organizations. We believe we are at that point today. Watch our webinar to find out how you can have it all; low price per desktop that makes the financial team happy and performance that makes the users happy, allowing IT to finally benefit from the increased operational and data protection efficiencies that they originally wanted.

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Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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