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How do I calculate VDI ROI?

There's no magic formula or one-size-fits-all approach to figuring VDI ROI. Look at vendor calculators to see which costs they factor in, but do the calculations on your own.

Calculating VDI ROI is not always easy. There is no simple way of calculating ROI for VDI, but there are some things that you have to take into account.

First of all, many VDI vendors offer return on investment (ROI) calculators, but they may slant the outcome in a way that makes VDI look a more favorable than it really is in an effort to entice you to buy. Remember that anyone can lie with numbers.

When you're doing the math on your own, the first thing to consider is licensing costs. That includes licenses for the VDI software, VDI server operating systems, client access and the OS that will run on the virtual desktop.

You should also take a look at the cost of any required hardware. When implementing VDI, you will likely need some host servers to run the virtual desktops. You might also need other infrastructure servers, such as connection brokers. Some vendor calculators assume that you will reuse desktop hardware, but if you are planning on replacing existing desktop hardware, you must factor that cost in.

Some of the other costs that must be considered are a little bit less tangible. For example, what effect will the VDI environment have on user and administrator productivity? There may also be costs associated with power and cooling you should factor into the equation. Don't forget about ongoing maintenance costs, as well as the eventuality of a hardware upgrade or replacement.

If you are interested in determining the total cost of ownership or VDI ROI, do take a look at the vendor calculators to get an idea of the types of costs that they factor in. But always perform your own calculations to avoid any inaccuracies.

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Have you seen VDI ROI?

One of the reasons I joined Nutanix was the compelling ROI enabled for use cases such as VDI and private cloud, where future resource requirements are uncertain. The beauty of Nutanix web-scale converged infrastructure is that users can start out very small - with just a pilot, and then slowly migrate to virtual desktops, typically in conjunction with the normal refresh rate.

So rather than purchasing a monolithic storage array with extra capacity that starts depreciating on day one, organizations can utilize Nutanix nodes only as needed. And because of Moore's Law, the density of virtual machines to node is guaranteed to increase over time, further increasing the ROI in the process.