Guide to low-cost desktop virtualization

Virtual desktop infrastructure hasn't taken the desktop world by storm because the infrastructure requirements make large-scale VDI projects more expensive to deploy than traditional PCs.

Desktop virtualization vendors are working to lower the cost of server-hosted virtual desktops, but there are ways to virtualize desktops today without incurring astronomical infrastructure and licensing costs.

This guide covers desktop virtualization technologies that provide flexibility and security at a much lower price tag. Learn about ways to cut costs when using server-hosted VDI products such as Citrix XenDesktop and VMware View.

Table of contents:

Client virtualization

Virtual workstations bring VDI minus the infrastructure costs
Workstation virtualization software provides virtual desktops without client hypervisors or the infrastructure costs of server-hosted virtual desktops. These two options offer the benefits of desktop virtualization without the high cost of VDI.

Quest Software, Virtual Bridges offer more bang for the buck
Industry expert and blogger Brian Madden explains why Quest Software and Virtual Bridges are great alternatives to VMware View and Citrix XenDesktop.

Virtual Computer's NxTop outshines XenClient in Gabe's lab
If you're putting VDI projects on hold while you wait for Citrix XenClient to mature, wait no longer; Virtual Computer's NxTop may have everything you need.

Virtual desktop alternatives to Citrix and VMware
The big virtual desktop vendors -- Citrix Systems, VMware and Microsoft -- get all the attention, but there are a number of other companies that sell desktop virtualization software -- often at lower prices and with good results.

VDI for one, please! Delivering virtual desktops to a select few
If you just need virtual desktops for a small handful of users, there's a lot you can do to provide much of the same functionality for almost no cost and without any real design effort. In fact, you can have "VDI-for-one" running before you finish your cup of coffee.

Is Citrix's client hypervisor better than XenDesktop for VDI?
One Citrix executive says the company's client hypervisor is closer to the future of desktop delivery than what is offered by the company's flagship VDI products.

Intel vPro for client virtualization -- is it worth the price?
Some client hypervisors require Intel vPro chips, but those chips provide the same management benefits that come with desktop virtualization software. So, why pay more for vPro chip technology?

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Desktops as a service

Should you put virtual desktops in the cloud?
The problem with virtual desktops is the delivery -- it's expensive and complicated. For some IT shops, virtual desktops in the cloud might make more sense.

Cloud-based virtual desktops can cut costs, complexity
Enterprises can simplify desktop management with virtual desktops, but IT pros often shy away from this technology because of cost and the complexity. There are ways, however, to virtualize desktops without the infrastructure requirements -- if you trust the cloud.

The pros and cons of using hosted apps in the enterprise
Hosted applications can reduce enterprise IT support costs and management burdens, but consider these downsides when moving to cloud apps.

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VDI

Small IT shops get VDI-in-a-box with refreshed Citrix Kaviza
Citrix XenDesktop costs too much for the average SMB, but the company's newly branded and refreshed Kaviza's VDI-in-a-box offers these shops a good option.

Citrix aims for VDI cost cuts with App-DNA, HDX on a chip
To broaden VDI adoption, Citrix must reduce the cost of VDI. With its App-DNA acquisition and other advances, it's closer to achieving this goal.

VMware delivers View 5 with persona management, PCoIP boost
VMware View 5 is available this week with profile management, more client device support and better PCoIP WAN performance.

With VDI you pay more, but get more
In the vast majority of cases, VDI is more expensive to buy and to operate than traditional PCs, but the benefits may be well worth the price.

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Cost-saving tips and tools

A no-budget desktop virtualization plan for 2011
Brian Madden lays out three sure-fire strategies for virtualizing your desktops in 2011 without budgeting for a VDI project.

Mastering the dark art of Windows virtual desktop licensing
Companies of all sizes can virtualize Windows desktops without breaking the bank by using products with low infrastructure requirements. But how do you lower Windows virtual desktops licensing costs? These strategies help keep licensing costs down.

Solving the VDI storage problem
Storage hungry virtual desktops drive up infrastructure costs, so a number of vendors have come up with money-saving ways to satiate the demand. The fact is there is more than one way to attack the storage problem.

Quest offers free Virtual Desktop Optimizer Tool for any platform
If you manually tweak your virtual desktop images, check out Quest vWorkspace Desktop Optimizer. It's free and it works on any VDI platform -- including XenDesktop and View.

How to analyze the cost of a virtual desktop deployment
Before you jump on the desktop virtualization bandwagon, you need to figure out whether your organization can benefit from the technology. In this segment of our four-part "Desktop Virtualization from A to Z" e-book, we'll help you analyze the costs of virtual desktop deployments.

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