Desktop virtualization

Virtualizing the desktop is something of a rage lately. Last year when we were still wondering how the Stimulus Fairy would bless us, we worked up a few proposals to do just that. Specifically, what would it take to convert all of our labs to a VM-based environment?

The executive summary of our findings: It costs about the same amount of money as the normal regular PC and imaging cycle, but saves some labor compared to the existing environment.

Verdict: No cost savings, so not worth it. Labor savings not sufficient to commit.

Every dollar we saved in hardware in the labs was spent in the VM environment. Replacing $900 PCs with $400 thin clients (not their real prices) looks cheap, but when you're spending $500/seat on ESX licensing/Storage/Servers, it isn't actually cheaper. The price realities may have changed from 12 months ago, but the simple fact remains that the stimulus fairy bequeathed her bounty upon the salary budget to prevent layoffs rather than spending on swank new IT infrastructure.

The labor savings came in the form of a unified hardware environment minimizing the number of 'images' needing to be worked up. This minimized the amount of time spent changing all the images in order to install a new version of SPSS for instance. Or, in our case, integrating the needed changes to cut over from Novell printing to Microsoft printing.

This is fairly standard for us. WWU finds it far easier to commit people resources to a project than financial ones. I've joked in the past that $5 in salary is equivalent to $1 cash outlay when doing cost comparisons. Our time management practices generally don't allow hour by hour level accounting for changed business practices.


You said what help the prices hogh for VDI deployment were vmware licensing costs. Was no other VDI system besides vmware tested or considered? they are all much cheaper