Don’t buy new PC’s, Virtualize them!

Lately, I have been focusing on VMware View and virtual desktops, mostly on the setup of View and getting desktop templates tweaked and such, but then the sales side of me took over. While I openly admit that I personally prefer VMware View, why is unimportant for the context of this post, as this one is very generic and could apply to either XenDesktop or VMware View, or even most 3rd Party VDI solutions.

Anyhow, I asked myself “why?”…. why would I buy a virtual desktop solution if I were a decision maker instead of going the tried and true physical desktop route. This post is what I came up with, it is basically a list of scenarios and what would happen if you had virtual desktops versus having physical desktops.

The chart below lists a “what if” scenario on the left, in the middle it explains the steps that would need to be taken if you had a physical desktop, and finally on the right, it explains what you would need to do if you were using virtual desktops. I have not included pricing or the amount of time for each situation, but ask that you read the scenario and ask yourself some questions:

  • How long would it take me to acquire replacement hardware?
  • How many man-hours would you or your team spend on the issue?
  • How many corporate apps do you have and how hard are they to reinstall?
  • How much would it cost to have a user be non-productive because his desktop is unavailable for a day?
  • How much would it cost if a user must recreate a document that was stored locally and lost?

Here are some of the scenarios:

Scenario Traditional PC Virtual Desktop
Initial Purchase
  • Purchase PC
  • With OEM Windows License
  • Pay IT or VAR for Setup
  • Install Corporate Apps

 

  • Purchase Thin Term
  • Purchase VMware View License
  • Purchase Microsoft Licensing
  • Pay VAR for Setup
  • Create Desktop Pools
  • Install Corporate Apps on Pools
New Employee
  • Purchase PC
  • With OEM Windows License
  • Pay IT or VAR for Setup
  • Install Corporate Apps

 

  • Purchase Thin Term
  • Purchase VMware View License
  • Purchase Microsoft Licensing
  • Assign User to Pool
Failed End user Device
  • Try to recover user data
  • Purchase New PC
  • With OEM Windows License
  • Pay IT or VAR for setup
  • Install Corporate Apps
  • Restore recovered Data
  • Purchase Thin Term
  • Swap out the broken term for the new term
Windows OS Corruption
  • Call IT or VAR for troubleshooting and data recovery
  • Reimage PC if needed
  • Reinstall Corp Apps if needed
  • Restore user data if possible
  • Restore from backup
    -or-
  • Refresh desktop if a linked clone
Virus infection
  • Call IT or VAR for virus removal
  • Reimage PC if needed
  • Reinstall apps if needed
  • Restore user data if needed
  • Kill linked clone desktop and have user log back into the new desktop
    -or-
  • Restore from backup before the virus
Deploy New App
  • IT or VAR will need to touch each PC to install the program
  • User is not productive while install process happens
  • Push Application with ThinApp
  • User may need to logoff and back on
  • (ALL VD’s Deployed at once)
Work Remote
  • Copy confidential Corp Docs to portable media
  • Make sure Office Apps are installed at home
  • Reupload Corp Docs back to PC
  • Connect to Security Gateway and Personal desktop over the internet
  • Work Remotely over Secure SSL connection

 

If you have a compelling scenario that would make a good addition to the list please leave a comment and I will add it into the list.

 

One example that I would like to go through is the “Failed End User Device”. So the background is this: Its springtime, there was a thunderstorm and the desktop was mistakenly plugged directly into the wall. So 8 am Monday.. you receive a call from the end user stating that their desktop will not power on. Thirty minutes later you are able to get down to that person’s desk and check things, after 15 minutes of talking and troubleshooting you determine that the computer has been hit by lightning. You explain that you will need to find a replacement PC (provided you have one) and load it up with the latest updates and the programs that this user needs. You mention that any data saved to the local drive may be lost, which makes the end user very nervous. Three hours later (provided you don’t go to lunch early 😉 you have the PC ready to go, and back to the users’ desk; you have updated Windows, installed patches, and made sure it was ready to go. The last thing you mention to the user is that you were not able to recover anything from the hard drive.

Total time invested by IT: 3+ hours

Total time lost from end user: 3+ hours waiting for PC

Total time the user spends recreating docs: 8+ hours
(Id say this is conservative if they didn’t like saving to the network)

Total Company time that has been lost: 14 + hours

Now let’s assume we were using virtual desktops with thin terminals:

User calls at 8 AM, says that their terminal is not powering on. Thirty minutes later you arrive at end users desk with spare terminal “just in case”. After spending 15 minutes or so checking things out you determine that the terminal will need to be swapped out. You swap terminal and the user is ready to go, with no document loss.

Total time invested by IT: 30 minutes

Total time lost from end user: 30 minutes

Total time the user spends recreating docs: Zero

Total Company time that has been lost: 1 hour

 

Now think of some things that have happened to end users in your environment and think about how much faster virtual desktops would have gotten your users back to work.

 

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One Response to "Don’t buy new PC’s, Virtualize them!"

  1. Justin –

    GREAT post! “Why desktop virtualization?” Is a question that has so many answers. When speaking with clients I often find that the value proposition they respond to really depends on the type of decision maker you are communicating with. The visionary executive may be interested in the productivity or business agility benefits. Alternatively, the technical leader may be interested in operational benefits. You can go down the list from security to facilities to end users.

    Great post!

    Michael Fox
    Author, DeMystifying the Virtual Desktop

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