By Courtney Burry, Director of Product Marketing, End User Computing, VMware
In the last survey we posted with Spiceworks on the Trends around Desktop Virtualization for Small and Mid-sized Organizations for SMBs (published May 2012)- we found that over 60% of small to mid-sized businesses with up to a 1000 employees were planning to roll out or evaluate VDI this year.
And while we also found that over 53% of desktop virtualization installations across SMB folks were based on VMware View – we also heard from these same customers that cost and complexity were two of the biggest challenges that they were facing when it came to rolling out VDI more widely to their end users.
Making the business case for VDI for SMB customers has definitely been challenging. Because while the OpEX savings can be 3-5X that of physical environments, historically the sheer cost and complexity associated with getting virtual desktop infrastructure up and running has been difficult for many IT shops to justify.
Well here are some tips to keep costs down and performance up while taking advantage of the benefits of VDI and central image management:
1. Make the move to VDI right before you do a PC refresh. Instead of buying new PCs, repurpose your existing devices. Take the money that you would have put into the refresh and put this into the IT infrastructure needed to get your virtual desktop environment up and running. Better yet-introduce a BYOD policy where employees are able to bring their own devices into the workplace and get out of the device procurement business all together.
2. Do an assessment to understand the use cases you are virtualizing, the peak workloads and user expectations. This will help you understand which users are primed for desktop virtualization and more importantly-how to correctly size the infrastructure for your environment. This is key as oversizing your storage for example will mean you’re paying too much. And under-sizing your storage (which is all too common) will mean that you save $$, but that your users will revolt.
3. Turn to thin and zero clients to drive down your power costs and to extend the lifecycle of your endpoints. These devices can run up to 7 years and require 1/10th of the power of PCs. Be sure however to take into account Microsoft VDA on these devices though as part of your total costs.
4. Take full advantage of optimizations in storage-like the VMware View storage accelerator feature now included with VMware View. This feature helps reduce storage loads generated by peak VDI storage reads and provides an intelligent way of caching common blocks of desktop images into local host memory. Why is this important? Because this improves the desktop performance when everyone is logging into their machines at the same time or when you are running mass AV scans.
5. Take the guesswork and costs out of getting started by leveraging VMware Rapid Desktop Solutions and some of the recently announced reference architectures out there like the one from Nimble Storage, Cisco, and VMware View – which touts costs of just $43 for storage per desktop. This off-the-shelf architecture simplifies the simulation of loads, including boot storms and software patches, to aid in configuring systems for optimal operation.
6. Consider using storage capable of a combination of frequent point in time snapshots and replication for protecting end user data efficiently without a backup window—similar to what Nimble Storage provides. This helps reduce backup costs as well as escalations to retrieve deleted files, which can be a potentially large cost savings.
7. And where VDI is not a good fit for users—turn to alternative image management technologies like VMware Mirage coupled with storage delivering adaptive performance and efficient snapshot and replication. This allows IT to centrally manage images in the cloud, provide cost-effective disaster recovery and ensure end users operating across the WAN can harness their local compute resources to get the best possible user experience.
8. Most VDI deployments grow in scale over time. The choice of a scalable architecture makes this growth easier.
The move to central image management and desktop virtualization for SMBs doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact recent designs, trends and technologies have made it cheaper and easier to get started than ever before-all without sacrificing end user performance.
Read about how one customer super-charged their VDI environment. For more information on the the VMware-Nimble-Cisco architecture for VDI, visit http://info.nimblestorage.com/cisco-vmware-nimblestorage-solutions.html.