June 25, 2012, 4:04 PM — Server virtualization made IT rock stars by improving uptime and saving the organization some serious dollars. So now it is time to look at how to leverage this expertise for the desktop.
When many shops initially set up their virtual infrastructure the tools for delivering a true virtual desktop experience to users -- say nothing of achieving ROI -- were woefully underdeveloped. The tools and systems today are a different story. They deliver a real desktop experience to both high-maintenance and regular users alike.
This means a zero client solution -- which unlike traditional thin clients, have no CPU, no memory, no operating system, no drivers, no software and no moving parts -- provides such a positive experience that virtual desktop users don't even realize their "computer" is living in the data center. Another piece of good news: For those with a robust virtual infrastructure in place, virtualizing the desktop can be as simple as purchasing a simple zero client solution that provides everything out of the box.
OUTLOOK: Virtual desktops are all the rage
Using existing storage, processor and memory, an enterprise deploying a zero client VDI solution has to migrate 20-25 physical desktops to start seeing ROI. After that, the returns start accelerating rapidly. The challenge is making the case for the first 20-25.
Here are five things to factor into the cost of switching from PCs to a zero client VDI solution:
1. Hardware failures: Physical desktops have components that will fail if deployed for long enough. An organization that deploys a zero client VDI solution can remove those headaches and costs from their budget. Some VDI devices use solid-state components instead of hard drives that can seize up, and don't have fans to fail or complex motherboards to short circuit. When migrating 25-plus desktops into a virtual environment, the man-hours and lost user productivity for warranty repairs become some serious dollars.