by: Rich Bourdeau, VP Product Management & Marketing, DynamicOps
Virtual desktops may never generate the level of cost savings that fueled initial virtual server deployments, but are they really 11% more costly than traditional desktops as the Microsoft commissioned analysis (VDI TCO Analysis for Office Worker Environments) suggest?
First let me say that the methodology used as well as the depth and breadth of the analysis is truly impressive. While I agree with some of the conclusions, there does appear to be a few flaws in assumptions used as well as a few observations that I would like to add.
Increased Software Costs
The paper suggests that while VDI reduces hardware costs by 32% it increases software costs by 64%, cancelling any savings. The research did point out that the software costs did vary widely based on the components used and the level of discounting that the customer received from their software vendor. The flaw in my opinion was using an average configuration at MSRP pricing probably skews the analysis to higher software costs. Any company that has enough users to consider deploying VDI, probably does not pay MSRP for their software. Also the software stacks used to deploy virtual desktops vary wildly. Like any IT implementation the cost used to deliver the service will vary significantly.
Automation Key to Deploying at Scale
This year DynamicOps worked with a number of companies struggling to deploy virtual desktops at scale. Production pilots that averaged in the hundreds of machines stalled when these companies tried to scale to multiple thousands and tens of thousands of machines. Manual processes that worked in the pilot phase could not hold up to the weight of large scale production deployments leading to expanding backlogs and increasing service level response times to days and weeks.
The companies that we worked with all said that automation of desktop service delivery process helped reduce their operational costs (many by up to 80%). Automation also improved their service delivery times from days and weeks down to hours and minutes allowing them to significantly reduce their backlog and accelerate their stalled desktop deployments.
Virtual Desktops – more than cost savings
TCO analysis in general is highly subjective and can easily be biased to prove whatever conclusion the author wants to prove. By slightly adjusting the software costs down, or factoring in improved operational efficiency, I’m sure that I could make this TCO analysis go from VDI costing slightly more than a traditional desktop to VDI costing less.
As VDI technologies mature, cost will be driven down further. Most virtual desktop deployments are driven by a number of factors including cost savings, deployment flexibility, agility, and security. From our vantage point cost is no longer an inhibitor for companies looking to realize the other benefits of desktop virtualization. As with any technology change, the first implementations require a new learning curve. If these implementations are close to cost neutral, the later implementations and expansions, particularly as they take advantage of economies of scale and management automation will experience even greater savings over time. Let DynamicOps show you how we have helped large enterprise companies deploy tens of thousands of production virtual desktops.