Desktop virtualization can create business value by improving the ability of organizations to manage their desktop environments, according to research firm IDC. Such moves, the firm adds, enable organizations to reduce desktop total cost of ownership (TCO), while enhancing security, availability, and agility.
IDC contends organizations can maximize the return on investment (ROI) associated with deploying desktop virtualization by:
- Focusing on the agility and flexibility that centralized virtual desktops can enable. The most successful desktop virtualization deployments are used to improve the flexibility and agility with which IT can respond to the needs of the overall business and tend to be deployed in instances where traditional management platforms are less effective, such as call center environments and offshore locations.
- Understanding the limitations of desktop virtualization. Centralized virtual desktops (and server-based computing as a whole) have specific limitations that will affect the ways in which the technology can be most effectively used. Those interested in leveraging desktop virtualization in their environments must fully understand those limitations in order to understand how and to whom an organization can best apply the technology.
- Providing sufficient time for piloting and testing. Organizations must set realistic expectations regarding the time it will take to deploy their environments because this will have an impact on the success of any project. Because desktop virtualization is relatively new and lacks best practices, pilots will need to be extensive in order to ensure that transitions to production environments occur smoothly.
Perhaps the most interesting finding in the report is its analysis showing that the cost of a desktop client falls dramatically as you factor in issues such as IT labor.
Hardware and software, according to IDC, “represent less than 20% of the cost of keeping an employee client enabled. The IT labor associated with installing, administering, and supporting the client represents over 80% of the annual client cost per user. And [desktop virtualization’s] effect on reducing that labor requirement offers compelling arguments.”
As the IDC analysts see it, desktop virtualization client users “require less than a third of the labor that users armed with traditional PCs require. Our studies showed that users enabled via [desktop virtualization] required 67% less support and administration labor than traditional PC-enabled users — $425 per user per year in IT labor versus $1,298.”