The Admin Corner: Do you need VDI?
Recently in Vegas at the latest Techmentor conference ClipTraining’s J. Peter Bruzzese was asked to stand in for Christa Anderson who was scheduled to speak on the subject of VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure). The focus of the session was to answer the question “do you need VDI?”
Bruzzese used his Keurig coffee maker to answer the question. He explained “if any of you have one of these coffee makers, which is great for no-fuss, no clean-up coffee prep, you know that the one thing it isn’t… is cheaper than a regular coffee maker”. He went on to explain that VDI is similar in that although you hear all the time about cost savings through VDI, the truth is that it is very hard to see a monetary return on investment (ROI).
[Read more about VDI from J. Peter Bruzzese in his Enterprise Windows column on InfoWorld in the article “VDI is often expensive to deploy – but doesn’t have to be” ]
Bruzzese focused on all the expensive elements of VDI (some of which the audience was unaware of) like the storage costs, the end-client (thin or zero client) expenses (which can cost as much as a brand new fully functional desktop system), high-fidelity user experience options, and bottleneck fixing solutions like Atlantis Ilio. He then asked the audience if anyone had deployed VDI and one attendee mentioned deploying it to 200 users with a cost of $150,000! Another attendee deployed it different without end-clients (for those ‘bring your own computer to the VDI party’ situations) and he spent under $30,000. In both cases they didn’t deploy VDI to their entire company but to a select group that required it based upon the benefits. It was obvious that there was no financial ROI, but rather a return in that these folks have a more convenient method of working thanks to VDI, and the administrators have an easier time performing their jobs for those users who require it.
So, it comes back to the Keurig. Is it convenient and easy? Absolutely! But does it save you money over traditional methods? Not quite. VDI may be just what you need but just make sure you can make a case for the cost to decision makers who control your IT budget. A focused deployment toward those who have a solid case for VDI would be easier to pitch and would make more sense in most cases.