VDI may never be cheaper than a PC – thank goodness ;)

I am encouraged that the cost of VDI is one of the things that will get us all to stop and think for a moment…what problem(s) are we really trying to solve?  It’s a premium way to deliver workspaces, and it comes at a premium cost. Its not cheaper than a PC, and thats a good thing.

What problem(s) are you trying to solve?
Might be remote access, might be simplified image and application lifecycle management, might be data sovereignty and security, perhaps BYOD, contractors, or seasonal Burst requirements. These are the problems we are trying to solve, NOT the justification for VDI.
If there is one thing that the pain and suffering of getting VDI right has taught us over the years – its that its kind of hard to get it right. (from a cost, performance, density, admin perspective(s)) Possible, but difficult. Please don’t run with scissors.
Sure, there is a long line of vendors who have made gradual nudges in the right direction, LWL included. Also recently there was some kindness in terms of Microsoft licensing cost relief, and for sure they hyper converged and storage offerings out today make what we used to build in 2008 look like Lincoln Logs.
However…..perhaps we are all “standing on a whale, fishing for minnows

Screenshot 2015-04-01 16.59.28

When we compare the per workspace cost of VDI and claim it is cheaper than that provided by a PC -we are doing a disservice. Its like trying to compare Apples to Pickup Trucks. If cost per workspace is your goal – VDI ain’t gonna work for you. Trust me on that.

VDI, and that pain and suffering of the Pilot, POC, BakeOff, deployment, scale-out,  has taught us an awful lot. It has taught us that data, profiles, applications, and visibility not statically bound to a DEVICE is several orders of magnitude better than dependence on x86 hardware and monolithic stacks. Abstraction, separation, and assembly upon use. Data, Profiles, and Applications are services we use when we need them – not fallow objects of inventory, and certainly not objects to be locked in databases.

So, I submit to you the greatest lesson we all should have learned in the past 8 “Years of the Desktop” is that if you get your users under management FIRST using data, profile, and application management and layering, THEN choose your windows delivery methods and devices (Physical PCs, VDI sessions, XenApp, RDSH, Cloud, tablets, Phones, BYOD, etc) and LASTLY choose your vendor(s) – and your devices if you care….and not only will you save money you will not fall victim to believing VDI solves everything. In fact – VDI should stand for “Very Distracting Idea” – because it is but one course of treatment, it is not the cure.  Alternatively delivering network stored data, profiles, and applications to a physical PC might be the cheapest, but not necessarily the best.

And when I say best, I mean from all measures of productivity, not CAPEX (capital cost or cost per unit). This is dead math just as it is juvenile to compare the cost of a typewriter to a pc. The new math is a calculation of the productivity gains to three stakeholder groups.  1. Users 2. Budgets 3. Staff.   If the net result is an increase yield in productivity – the technology you are exploring is justified. If not, please rethink your decisions. And if you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it – don’t overlook monitoring – these distributed workspaces have a few moving parts – proactive visibility is key.

So at the end of the day “managing the user” properly regardless  of application or desktop delivery method is the most critical element to realizing the maximum benefit for your organization.
J.Tyler T.Rex Rohrer
CoFounder
Liquidware Labs Inc.
@T_REX_VDI

One thought on “VDI may never be cheaper than a PC – thank goodness ;)

  1. Pingback: VDI may never be cheaper than a PC – thank goodness ;) – DABCC

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