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ROI for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure: 300 is the Magic Number

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July 11, 2011

ROI for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure: 300 is the Magic Number

By Jamie Epstein, TMCnet Web Editor

RingCube (News - Alert) Technologies builds workspace virtualization technology that enables personalization for VDI. Essentially, this means enterprises can deploy VDI in the lowest cost model, which is through using pools, and still retain full personalization. Therefore, they keep the cost of VDI down, provide full personalization for users and ultimately keep the user experience high.

I recently had the chance to speak with Kiran Kamity, RingCube’s co-founder and vice president of product management, and discuss the concept surrounding ROI for VDI -- and 300 is the magic number.

In 2010, it appeared that enterprises were still indecisive about implementing VDI projects into enterprises, and multiple discussions were had about whether they should stay with physical PCs at the next refresh or transition to a VDI for certain employees. It looks like organizations decided the latter because according to a 2010 TechTarget Survey, entitled “Virtualization Decisions 2010 Purchasing Intentions Survey,” 59 percent of respondents said they planned to expand their VDI deployments, up from 55 percent in 2009. And in 2011, even more enterprises are embracing VDI.

However, there is a point that every organization must reach at which VDI begins showing real ROI, and Gartner (News - Alert) says the magic number is around the 300-user mark.

Kamity said, “There are lots of things that are required to set up a VDI environment, including the purchase of hardware, server storage, networking equipment, initial licenses, and time and money it takes to effectively train employees. These expenses are only going to be justified once you deploy VDI above a certain number of users. If after all that investment, if you only deploy VDI to around 50 users then you are really not leveraging the true cost cutting ability that VDI can offer in the longer term.”

“The place where RingCube can come in is, when you look at a typical organization, most only deploy a full VDI model to basic task workers, which only comprises 10-20 percent of an enterprise. But on the other end of spectrum, think of a bell curve—the left side of bell curve is basic task workers and the extreme right hand side of the bell curve is mobile employees, and for them VDI may or may not be the right thing to do.

“The remaining 60-80 percent of employees in the enterprise, which is the heart of enterprise, is advanced task workers and knowledge workers who require varying degrees of personalization. Say you give an employee a desktop and tell them they can only use what is already there and store some files; that is just not acceptable beyond the task worker population, so that’s where vDesk comes in. Using vDesk in combination with VDI will essentially allow you to provide that personalization and still deploy VDI using the pool model, as you can now really scale across the enterprise and satisfy 60-80 percent of enterprise users, as opposed to 10-20 percent.

“With that as background, what enables enterprises to scale VDI deployment across the majority of the enterprise and easily enables the enterprise to cross that threshold number is done through deploying VDI to more users because the enterprise has to be a really large ‘super enterprise’ for all task workers to cross the 300 number. Now 1,000 people plus can cross the threshold number of VDI deployment due to RingCube and you can now have VDI for everybody,” Kamity added.

Kamity stated, “Enterprises can easily reach the 300+ user mark if you have enough users in the enterprise for which you can deploy VDI. If your VDI can only be deployed to task workers, then that will limit the number of users you can provide VDI to, but if your VDI can be deployed to anybody in enterprise which is exactly what vDesk enables you to do, you can easily deploy beyond the 300 number.”

When I asked Kamity why he believed businesses should transition to a virtualized environment, he commented, “That is a question that most enterprises have been asking themselves for 3 to 4 years now. The fundamental reasons that I hear and know are very appropriate reasons for enterprises to switch to VDI are cost, management and security. Cost is a give and take, as enterprises have to make an initial investment to realize economies of scale in an ROI perspective.

“With VDI, management can now be easily done for all VDI desktops because they are all deployed from a central location, which means the administrator doesn’t have to keep running around between different users," he continued. "If something happens from a security perspective, the admin can easily update or refresh the computer and this is a huge cost savings from a business perspective, as now less people are needed to manage and time has been saved because business continuity becomes very easy. 

“A higher level of security is allowed in VDI because all data is now in the data center and not laying around in individual desktops. From a business continuity perspective, if somebody’s hard drive crashes and you lose the data, you no longer have to worry about that. If somebody takes a PC somewhere else or it even gets stolen, data can’t be compromised because it’s in the data center," he said.

Organizations have been struggling with the decision of whether switching to desktop virtualization is the right one, due to complexities and costs. Enterprises can now be rest-assured that if they do in fact deploy desktop virtualization to 300 users or more, they will quickly see a return on ROI.

Jamie Epstein is a TMCnet Web Editor. Previously she interned at News 12 Long Island as a reporter's assistant. After working as an administrative assistant for a year, she joined TMC (News - Alert) as a Web editor for TMCnet. Jamie grew up on the North Shore of Long Island and holds a bachelor's degree in mass communication with a concentration in broadcasting from Five Towns College. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

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