The VDI Business Case

I have done a lot of testing with VMware View 5 over the last months in my lab environment and did a lot of researches to dive into the whole VDI topic. By reason I am going to create a VDI business case for my company I wanted to sum up all the facts that “I have learned” in this post.

It´s important to realize that there is no global business case / cost calculation etc. which fits to every company. Also you need to be careful by consider the business cases by the VDI vendors itself. Often some costs and facts are not included. I think it´s important to see the whole VDI project with all factors and not keep the eye just on single points like the costs or the project complexity.

The first thing you need to do is to define the scope. Mostly it´s recommended to see the whole company (business processes etc.) and not just the IT department. This can be really challenging, because some data can be hard to retrieve. Just think on the influence of desktop PC´s to the air conditioning of the offices (who is actually collecting this kind of data 🙂 ? ).

 

The Cost Factor

The costs are like in the most projects one of the principal points. In this case that’s also the topic with the longest list of points, which need to be considered.

Frontend Objects:

  • Hardware costs (desktop pc, monitors etc.)
  • License and maintance costs for these hardware
  • Costs for initial setup, testing, changes etc.
  • Costs for the internal helpdesk / user support (troubleshooting etc.)
  • Electricity costs for the whole desktop environment

Backend Objects:

  • Costs for server hardware, storage and backup systems
  • License costs for several software solutions (hypervisor, VDI, backup etc.)
  • Hosting costs (power, climatisation, rack space etc.)
  • Costs for troubleshooting in the data center
  • Additional costs caused by enhancement of the WAN and / or LAN bandwidth

If you go through the single frontend objects you will notice that a VDI setup (with zero clients e.g.) should beat a classic desktop environment in almost every point. This totally changes if you going through the backend objects. Most objects here are just accrue by the usage of the VDI solution. Also you should not forget about one-time costs of the whole project (time, external consulting costs, training costs for the internal IT staff e.g.).

 

The Economic Efficiency Factor

The following economic factors are often forgotten, because they have nothing directly to do with the infrastructure:

  • Boot and login time – How long the user needs to be ready to start working?
  • Updates & patches – How much time a user “lose” caused by regular maintance?
  • Time to repair – How fast a user can get back to work after his / her desktop got a problem?

Just think about how many working hours of all employees would be saved over a year theoretically, if every user needs three minutes less for the whole start process of his desktop every day.

 

The Flexibility Factor

Especially in big companies the IT staff has really much to do with the desktop PCs by the fact that there are constantly new colleagues who join the company. It´s not unusual that this happens sometimes very quickly and that means also that the IT staff needs to be quick. To this effect the following points should be considered:

  • Provisioning of a new desktops
  • Movement of an existing desktop from one workplace to another

 

The Security Factor

Security is one of the major topics in a company. Several case studies and surveys shows that the most security leaks are caused by internal employees. The endpoint devices of an IT infrastructure are often one of the weakest points, if it comes to this issue. The implementation of a VDI solution moves the desktops with all its data into your data-center, where it can be much better controlled.

 

The Social Factor

Last, but not least there are also social facts, which should be considered. The fast development of private technical- and communication devices brings users to claim for a certain amount of mobility and flexibility. Better known as ByoD (Bring your own Device), which is a major topic in the IT over the last months. IT decision makers are afraid of losing the control of the data and possible security holes. A proper VDI infrastructure could satisfy the IT department and the end-users at the same time.

 

Conclusion:

I think the result of a VDI business case pretty much depends on the actual situation of your desktop infrastructure. A implementation of a VDI solution can be ideal to combine with application virtualization and also may some changes about the user profiles etc., which made the total project result even much more better / greater.  But may there is already a good planned and managed infrastructure with software provisioning solutions etc., where it could be harder for a VDI implementation to justify the effort. Each environment is unique and needs to be considered on its own. I am totally committed of VDI as the new desktop solution, but I am also sure there are some environments where a VDI implementation doesn´t make sense today.

Comments

  1. Avinash Shitoley says:

    Good Information.. can you come up with some particular features with business case as it would be easy to check which VDI Vendor to choose.
    Example- If company has existing Vmware ESX infrastructure better to go for Vmware View which saves hardware and IT staff training to certain extend.
    If you need to do application virtulization then use Citrix XenDesktop and so on

  2. Thanks!

    Yes good suggestion, but also a huge topic. May I will write a post about it…

    Regards,
    Mario

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