When implementing a virtual desktop solution, IT has got to account for two significant cost contributors: the capital costs for the increased storage requirements and the operational costs of managing and maintaining the desktops themselves. I think these are the keys to giving yourself a shot at getting good ROI and reducing the TCO of VDI, and to date, it’s been something of a stumbling block. Also I’ve seen customers fail to account for the image management part, while focusing solely on the storage costs. I’ve done a lot of customer visits recently and I thought it might be useful to share a simple discussion guideline that has helped us get at a model for the solution:
- What type of virtual desktop fits user needs best?
- What is the lowest cost method to store and provision virtual desktop images?
- How can we leverage 3rd party storage technologies to provide further benefits?
In the first part of this blog, I want to introduce and get your feedback on this segmentation of use cases for virtual desktops, and get your feedback on the basic model that fits each one. Next time I’ll talk about the technologies that would support these. Matching Users to the Right Virtual Desktop
Just as different users today get different desktop images, PCs and applications depending on the type of work they do, they should be given different virtual desktops that match their requirements at the lowest cost of ownership possible.
Enterprise typically have a large number of productivity workers - people that typically have limited administrative rights and only basic customization requirements. They can be adequately served by pools of standardized virtual desktops, based on a common, shared image that is personalized through the use of portable user profiles.
A typically much smaller segment of users, knowledge workers, may need more control of the desktop, including the need to install their own applications. They are candidates for receiving their own “assigned” virtual desktops, so that all their settings and custom applications persist.
Lastly, there are usually a few power users who have a need for elevated administrative rights, but also need the dedicated processing power associated with blade PCs. XenDesktop can deliver any of these types of virtual desktops, offering IT the greatest possible flexibility.
Many enterprises also have task workers, those that have very structured work, use only a limited set of applications and really don’t need the functionality of a full desktop. Depending on the industry, this may be a small percentage of the overall user base or quite large. These workers are best suited by a very low cost, simple, and locked-down shared server desktop and thin clients, and Citrix XenApp today delivers over 10 million desktops of this variety. While these desktops are not the focus of this discussion, it is important to keep this alternative in mind.
What do you think of these characterizations of use cases for virtual desktops?