We’ve been talking a lot lately about the value of desktop virtualization and how to get the biggest bang for your buck from it.
We certainly recognize that you have your work cut out for you – managing your technology infrastructure in a way that ensures the highest degree of security and compliance while also managing the proliferation of applications in your environment especially if users are able to download their own apps.
These factors and others are all contributing to the growing popularity of desktop virtualization. The challenge we realize is how to make sense out of this complex topic while distilling all the information available in a meaningful way. We also recognize it’s a broad term and there are different ways to think about it so it can quickly become overwhelming on where to start.
For today’s post I thought I would share some tips and considerations to help you build a successful desktop virtualization roadmap. The guidance builds upon the recent discussions we’ve had at the Microsoft Management Summit and the Desktop Virtualization Hour.
Brad Anderson, our corporate vice president for our management and services division, shared at MMS two core tenants of our desktop virtualization approach that I think are worthy of underscoring:
- Implement a desktop virtualization solution that gives you a comprehensive, consistent management experience and facilitates a centralized way to manage distributed and centralized desktops
- Determine a common way of integrating and leveraging all the different forms of virtualization – desktop virtualization should encompass application, hardware, VDI and session virtualization
We know each customer scenario is different whether you’re managing desktops for a multi-national, public company in a highly regulated industry, or you manage client services for a regional hospital, or you manage IT for a 50-person, private business– that’s why we take a desktop to datacenter view to address both the physical and virtual environment. Our goal is to help you take advantage of Microsoft desktop virtualization technology to support your business now and into the future.
So in this spirit, here are some key considerations to get the highest ROI from desktop virtualization:
- To Brad’s point determine a common way of integrating and leveraging all the different forms of virtualization including application, hardware, VDI and session virtualization. A great first step is to start at the application level. By virtualizing your applications, you can significantly decrease your test costs when migrating to Windows 7 and the process for adding new apps becomes much more simplified.
- Evaluate how to best take advantage of VDI to virtualize Windows; we think VDI is good for all organizations but not necessarily all users because the user experience and application performance is directly dependent on network connectivity. Additionally, we’ve seen evidence that VDI may represent higher costs than a PC environment for office workers based on some recent research on the TCO of VDI.
To help you evaluate the value of VDI within your environment, a few helpful takeaways from the study include:
- Overall, when compared in a well managed office worker environment, VDI is generally 9-11% more expensive than the corresponding PC environment.
- VDI reduces hardware costs by 32% but the addition of technology to the data center (e.g., storage, networking) increases software costs by 64%, cancelling any savings.
- VDI decreases helpdesk costs by reducing the effort required to troubleshoot desktops, but increases desktop engineering costs due to added expertise and more expensive virtualization resources to manage the desktop environment. Hence, IT operations costs for PC and VDI are almost identical.
- Users that move from a well-managed PC to VDI environment complained about a diminished user experience.
- As a result of these findings, we believe VDI is an innovative technology that can deliver significant value in specific use cases, such as for shift-based task workers and for contractors. However, for the office worker, the value driver is less clear and will not be based on TCO.
The last point I wanted to touch on is the concept of client hypervisor as an emerging trend related to desktop virtualization. This technology is still in the early stages of development within the market thus could be considered a part of a future roadmap of enterprise desktop solutions in specific scenarios.
As you evaluate a client hypervisor consider evaluating based on your user needs. In some cases it makes sense. For corporate users who need more than one work environment, or use two desktops today, a client hypervisor can help consolidate those two on one device, while still maintaining isolation between the environments. Some relevant scenarios include:
- Highly regulated environments, where isolation is required.
- Running a “personal workspace” where users can manage their personal applications and files, delivering more flexibility on a corporate laptop.
- And for development, test or demo purposes, where you need multiple workloads simultaneously.
On the down side, for other scenarios, where only one work environment is required, a client hypervisor can add complexity particularly as it requires premium hardware, with virtualization capabilities in the CPU and BIOS, usually additional RAM and management. The deployment also tends to be more demanding and can require additional management and patching to keep it up to date. This is because it’s installed beneath the OS and so standard software distribution mechanisms do not support this.
Remember that the hybrid environment of physical and virtual is a reality so it’s important to evaluate solutions that address your environment now and set you up for successful enterprise management in the future. This will help ensure you are well positioned to continue to realize ROI on existing investments while driving down TCO for the future. The combination of Windows 7, MDOP, System Center and Microsoft’s Desktop Virtualization offering as well as our collaboration with Citrix, provide desktop to datacenter solutions to meet your evolving business needs.
I hope these tips help. We always want to hear your feedback to ensure we provide you with the right set of solutions to take your desktop virtualization strategy to the next level.
To learn more about our desktop virtualization solutions, go here: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/enterprise/solutions/virtualization/default.aspx.