VDI Cheaper Than PCs

Posted by Tom Rose on Apr 1, 2015

This is part one of a two part post comparing VDI and physical PC costs. Read part two here.

Almost everyone agrees that virtual desktops are better desktops. What's held VDI back is that it costs more than buying new PCs. If someone could finally deliver a Windows virtual machine that is cheaper "all-in" than a PC, the last barrier to adoption would fall, and the entire business world would flock to VDI.

I think we're there. [Brace for the stampede]. No, seriously. Here are 2 quotes that a customer shared with us based on the latest software licensing (Microsoft eliminates the VMware tax), the latest hosts (Moore's Law has increased VM density and cut server costs), the latest storage (hybrid SANs with de-dup and compression solve the IOPS problem on less space), and new management software for Hyper-V (Unidesk layering makes Microsoft VDI easy to deploy, scale, and manage).

cheaperEven at 200 users, you have VDI cheaper than PCs. Much cheaper. Here's what the customer was quoted, with 1 year of maintenance included for all:

Physical PCs for 200 Users  
  Unit price per physical PC $950
  Total $190,000
VDI for 200 Users  
  Microsoft RDS CALs for desktop connectivity $24,000
  Unidesk for desktop provisioning and application management $31,200
  Microsoft Hyper-V for virtualization
Included with Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter, already licensed by the customer.
  Microsoft Virtual Desktop Access, or VDA
Not applicable; customer re-purposing PCs already covered under Software Assurance.
  Thin Clients
Not using; see previous line item.
  Servers to host desktops $40,000
Flash-optimized, enough for 500 VMs with Unidesk layering efficiency
  Total $137,200

That comes out to $686 per user, and more than $50,000 in CapEx savings compared to PC refresh. You also end up with extra hybrid SSD storage that can be used for other virtual workloads.

It gets even better when you factor in the increased security of desktops in the data center and the additional benefits of desktops and apps managed by Unidesk:

  • Easy delivery of Windows as a virtual disk layer for "patch-once" efficiency.
  • Easy delivery of any app as a virtual disk layer for "install-once, update-once" efficiency.
  • Persistent desktop for every user with full personalization, including user-installed apps.
  • 5-minute desktop repair by service desk staff without loss of personalization.
  • Simplicty to manage virtual desktops with desktop people - not server admins and senior IT staff.

Are you convinced that VDI is now cheaper, better, and simpler than PCs? This customer was. They are moving forward with Microsoft VDI, Unidesk, new hosts, and new storage.

Visit our VDI price analysis blog for more ways to do VDI on a budget. Or check out part 2 - "More Reasons VDI Costs Less than PCs" - to see how zero clients and Microsoft VDA licensing affect the comparison.

What's it going to take to move your desktops to your private cloud now that you can have VDI cheaper than PCs?

Topics: VDI, ROI, Cost

Posted by Tom Rose on Apr 1, 2015

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