Desktop virtualization is an attractive option for organizations looking to simplify their computing solutions. In most cases, desktop virtualization boosts efficiency, increases productivity, and brings other cost-saving benefits.
However, the time it takes to achieve a positive return on investment (ROI) from switching to a virtual computing environment depends on several factors.
Since every organization has unique computing needs, it’s impossible to say “Here’s how much desktop virtualization implementation will cost for X number of machines.”
Fortunately, it is possible to estimate desktop virtualization ROI and if it is worth it for an organization by reviewing several key factors.
Low Cost of Virtualization Hardware
One of the greatest opportunities for savings with desktop virtualization is low cost of hardware. Because virtual desktops do not require a lot of computing power, there is a wide variety of devices that can be used.
Thin or zero clients are inexpensive, thus increasing the possibility for cost savings. Employees can also bring their own devices to access virtual desktops, such as Chromebooks, tablets, smartphones, and laptops.
Traditionally, upgrading an organization’s existing hardware and software meant contacting vendors, reviewing bids, ordering parts, and installing them (not to mention the emergency patching after the installation is complete).
In virtual environments, upgrading the processor or memory on a virtual machine is simple. In a few clicks, it’s possible to allocate more memory and processing power to a virtual machine. If you are using desktop as a service, upgrading the virtual desktop is similarly easy.
Virtualization Requires Little Hardware
For IT professionals, it’s a fact of life: all hardware fails. Diagnosing and fixing a hardware problem can waste hours of time.
Many virtual desktop implementations (such as thin or zero client solutions) require very little hardware, nearly eliminating all hardware issues.
For example, using flash memory (such as SSDs) instead of traditional, error-prone hard drives and a lack of motherboards or fans means there will be significantly less maintenance needed by IT staff. The time and cost savings quickly scale, even in smaller implementations.
The Scalability of a Virtual Environment
In traditional computing environments, adding new users to a system takes hours (or more). Obtaining credentials, installing necessary files, and other customization tasks are very time consuming.
However, with desktop virtualization, creating a new desktop is a simple matter of deploying a pre-loaded template. There aren’t any apps to install and there is no hardware to configure.
Simply connect and go. Adding a new user to a computing environment can be done in less than an hour.
If there’s ever a need to scale this process for large influx of new workers, such as temporary work or the initial virtual desktop deployment, it is possible to set up nearly a hundred virtual desktops in a single work day, depending on the needs of the organization.
This benefits organizations by removing the waste of idle computers waiting for the right software before work can be performed.
Speed and Performance
A common misconception about desktop virtualization is that virtual desktops are too slow to be efficient. Modern data center networks are much more efficient at managing processing and memory resources. Thus, virtual desktops can actually be much more efficient with less computing resources than a desktop would be.
This increased efficiency means there is no need to invest in expensive, high-performance computing systems for individual workers.
Calculating Desktop Virtualization ROI
A big challenge with calculating the exact ROI of desktop virtualization is that it is difficult to predict when your organization will experience technical problems (the types of problems that will be avoided with virtual desktops)
- Review the last year’s IT budget. How much was spent on maintaining computers and other hardware that would be replaced with a virtual desktop solution? How much was spent on obtaining new hardware?
- How much time was spent on technical support, re-installing software, wiping hard drives, etc.?
- How much time is spent updating the security of each machine?
With that information, determine a rough monetary value for a year of IT operation. Then compare that with the cost of obtaining desktop virtualization hardware (such as thin clients for workers) and an estimated cost of maintenance.
This should help you get a very rough idea of desktop virtualization ROI over time and how long it will take for cost savings to appear.
Ultimately, the best way to determine your organization’s potential ROI for switching to desktop virtualization is to contact a vendor like Patriot.
We’re familiar with the costs of implementing this solution for your organization’s size and can help estimate a more accurate desktop virtualization ROI.