Virtual Desktop Infrastructure ROI Best Practices

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure VDI enables IT to host desktop operating systems in virtual machines running on centralized servers in data centers. This technology offers compelling benefits by improving security, performance, and manageability of user desktops. It is a powerful platform which delivers the security and simplicity of centralized management. At the same time, users have the freedom to access virtual desktops and applications anywhere, anytime and on any device.

The Million Dollar Question

Virtualization has been designed to fulfill multiple purposes. It significantly increases uptime by centralizing the desktop image and data and using the processing power of the desktop. While it appears as any other workstation to the end user, nothing is stored locally which prevents many problems. Examples include the introduction of illegal software, malware infections, and potentially non-compliant materials. Moreover, it leads to greater security, easier data backup, and compliance and achieving high desktop availability translates into big savings.

Even then, all this involves time, effort and money. Which brings us to this: desktop virtualization initially came across as an expensive IT strategy and hence, adoption remained slow. Now, the question for most companies especially SMBs is how to get the benefits of VDI without breaking the bank? More importantly, is a VDI implementation worth the price tag?

Clearly, we need to perform a VDI cost benefit analysis before anything else. This will provide a better understanding of all financial aspects and simplify the decision-making process.

Develop a Quantitative Plan

In all honesty, you need not pay top dollar for a VDI project if you do the math first. Firstly, calculate the TCO for your workplace desktops and the virtualized system you are considering. Here is a checklist to help you get started.  

. Zero Client or Thin Client cost (including monitor, if applicable)

. Costs of required data center hardware and its annual maintenance contract.

. Virtual desktop software cost per seat.

. OS cost. You may need to change your existing enterprise agreement or purchase licenses for virtual desktops.

. System deployment software licenses, including:

  • Antivirus software
  • Client management tools
  • Actual applications deployed
  • Choosing to virtualize your applications means that you can actually save money on the licenses you need

System power consumption, including:

  • Client-side
  • Server-side: This is where you must add the cost of the power utilized by data center servers
  • Support costs per unit. IT teams routinely test, update and start the software and OS on-demand in a virtualized environment
  • Network upgrades
  • Data center upgrades (includes power and cooling)
  • Consultation and training expenses (usually one-off)

Tip: break down these expenses based on the expected lifespan of the solution. This will prevent hidden or unexpected costs from arising during the implementation process.

Finally, multiply all lifetime costs by the total number of virtual desktops you wish to deploy. This will give you an idea about the value of the solution based on your project goals. Let’s look at an example to see how this works.

The strategic value of virtual desktops for a call center would be to improve services and reduce customer support costs. So, the first few calculations will determine the startup expenses which are a part of the total solution cost. The next step involves figuring out how much annual savings the company can achieve from adopting a VDI solution. Then, assume that support requirements decrease by 80% as the move boosts system availability for staff members. This provides up-to-date applications and an added benefit could be BYOD program support for teams in the near future.

Finally, we come to the ROI. The call center creates a plan that identifies the true value of virtualization in both the short and long run. While it should expect reasonable savings within 3-5 years, results will vary for every business depending on capital outlay.

Implement Cost-Effective Tactics

Go for VDI optimization software. This platform preemptively acknowledges writes and specific commands and stacks others before getting to the storage system. By writing to cache instead of disk, it tricks the OS into believing the storage system has acknowledged its writes/commands. This is actually before the system does so. As a whole, the process significantly decreases IOPS requirements and the amount of shared storage capacity. Moreover, it minimizes the number of systems and controllers which you would otherwise need to meet VDI performance. All these combined dynamically decrease net cost.

Another option is to virtualize applications along with desktops. Begin by offering only presentation access to end users. Use server and virtual server infrastructure to facilitate all of the application processing. Deploy an affordable and feature-rich Thin Client or Zero Client device to provide the presentation layer for applications. These endpoints also function as powerful risk management tools because they are only access devices that display virtual desktops and applications. No data is stored locally which means that intellectual property remains secure in the data center. Overall, you receive a high payoff in terms of reduced expenses, increased mobility and lessened IT anxiety.

Choosing cloud-based virtual desktops also enables you to save money as you do not need to have on-premises VDI. This eliminates costs such as staff training, storage and hardware because your virtual desktops float around in the cloud. Endpoint management becomes the cloud owner’s responsibility and end users can still access their browsers and applications. What’s more, cloud owners invest in new apps or better-performing programs to consistently deliver great UX.

Smartly Select Solutions

Work with vendors like ClearCube who make recommendations based on unique business models and use cases. After all, VDI is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution. So, suggesting high-end products or services to organizations like SMBs may result in high TCO. Ideally, go for solutions with low infrastructure and licensing costs. In fact, choosing an all-inclusive setup allows you to receive a complete solution at an overall lower VDI price.

Here’s where we must look at the other side of the coin. It is true that virtualization streamlines control boosts productivity and reduces hardware costs. Even then, some companies may find it financially difficult to purchase new hardware or re-purpose current resources. Does this mean that Virtual Desktop Infrastructure is an impossible reality?

Let the ClearCube team help you with this. You can now re-purpose your existing PCs with our Cloud Desktop OS platform. Startups and those not prepared for a full-fledged setup involving potentially expensive VDI software and hardware especially benefit. How?

Cloud Desktop OS enables you to transform your IT infrastructure into a secure and centrally managed Thin Client. You can then connect this device to a remote PC or back end system. This makes it easy for businesses of all sizes to take advantage of VDI client computing with minimum time and effort.

Following are the benefits of our all-in-one PC re-purposing solution:

  • Easy installation and centralized management.
  • Enhanced flexibility and security.
  • One OS for all hardware (Thin Clients, PCs, and laptops).
  • Desktop future-proofing.
  • Multiple connection protocol support (VMware® PCoIP & Blast Extreme, Microsoft® RemoteFX and many more).
  • Build, configure and oversee the entire Thin Client network from your browser.
  • Automatic client updates across the network.
  • Save money over purchasing new PCs and supporting products or services. You can now reuse what you already have.

Please note that Cloud Desktop OS only works on PCs and Thin Client devices built after 1998.

For further details about how to achieve all this at a minimal cost, please get in touch with a ClearCube expert.

Final Thoughts

Like every other investment, virtualizing your business will cost you. You just need to make sure that it is worthwhile and everything will make sense after doing a cost benefit analysis.

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