Desktop Virtualization: It All Comes Down to TCO


Desktop virtualization continues to be a hot topic in IT circles as companies look for ways to simplify client system management and optimize spending on underutilized hardware. In other words, save time and money.


Our Arthur Cole, who does a great job covering virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), just ran through some new options hitting the market to address concerns about performance and costs. Some providers are incorporating more processing power on clients for applications; some are even rolling up existing "fat" clients into their solutions.


It's still very much a category in flux.


But like any IT backbone decision, it all comes down to how much it's going to cost to provide the service, and total cost of ownership (TCO) is the most trusted metric to describe such expenses.


The Desktop Virtualization TCO Calculator, from our partners at Info~Tech Research Group, provides an in-depth framework for comparing the costs of various VDI solutions and traditional desktop replacement. The Excel-based tool is available for free to IT Business Edge members here in the IT Downloads library.

The workbook provides you with assumptions about the costs of VDI solutions from three leading vendors - VMware, Citrix and Microsoft - as well as fields for data from any other solutions you may be considering. It also includes assumptions about volume licensing for common productivity applications.


The tool then goes into a detailed analysis of your current environment, asking for assumptions on details such as cost per kilowatt hour in your market and the predicted number of failure incidents per client annually. There are more than 80 factors on the Assumptions tab, a part of which you can see in the figure below.



Like we said, this is a very detailed tool.


The categories covered are:


  • Common Environment
  • Deskside Maintenance Assumptions
  • Server/Storage Requirements
  • Common Software & Hardware
  • Desktop Replacement
  • Thin Client Infrastructure


After you input all that data, your options (including plain old PCs on each and every desk) are laid out for you in both 1-year and 6-year TCO models, as you can see below.



If you are just beginning to evaluate the benefits of desktop virtualization, also be sure to check out the Desktop Virtualization Appropriateness Assessment Tool, also from our partners at Info~Tech. The tool evaluates whether your company will actually reap ROI benefits, based on your user support and application deployment needs, and if your network is ready for VDI. It's not as rigorous of a review as the TCO Calculator, but it is an excellent starting point.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Jul 26, 2011 10:58 AM Unknown Unknown  says:

I recently came by a new Virtual Desktop Infrastructure company called V3 Systems (www.v3sys.com) at the most recent VMworld Conference. The benefits offered with these systems seem revolutionary and cost-effective. They are small devices that don't take up a whole service room, don't require extensive maintenance, deploy quickly and efficiently and actually run faster than physical desktops.


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