Essential Guide

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The definitive VDI cost savings guide

Introduction

Cost is perhaps the greatest barrier standing between organizations and VDI. Scaling up and down, licensing and managing the back-end infrastructure may come to mind, but these concerns boil down to money.

VDI cost is more than simply what an organization pays for infrastructure hardware and software. It also includes the labor that goes into deploying and managing VDI, as well as the lost productivity that comes with training and supporting end users in the transition to virtual desktops.

But the market is becoming more buyer-friendly as hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) and thin clients become more common and advanced. Vendors and service providers understand that the way to attract new customers is through VDI cost savings, so they are focused on making VDI more accessible for cash-strapped organizations.

Through deployment strategies, improved hardware, management choices and more, IT departments that once couldn't hope to deploy their own VDI can develop and manage it in-house.

1Hyper-converged infrastructure-

How HCI can help cut costs

VDI hosted on HCI -- a consolidated infrastructure that simplifies management by bringing compute, networking and storage into one piece of hardware -- can deliver major cost savings in the long run by lowering scaling and hardware replacement costs. It does come with significant upfront costs, however, as IT must purchase and set up the hardware. This initial investment was once a barrier to entry for smaller organizations, but cheaper, easier-to-manage HCI can ease the financial and labor burdens.

Tip

Manage separate VDI servers with HCI

The I/O profile, memory footprint and user-facing surface area of VDI servers are very different from other company servers. As a result, IT should run VDI separately. Continue Reading

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Identify the benefits of HCI

HCI can provide some major VDI cost savings IT pros might overlook, including the ability to easily add desktop storage space and reduce the time spent on back-end infrastructure management. Continue Reading

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Not all organizations can cut VDI costs with HCI

Some organizations have more to gain than others by adopting HCI for VDI. Smaller companies, for example, may not have the budget upfront to purchase HCI. Larger companies, however, will find massive savings from HCI's simplified scaling. Continue Reading

Tip

Get to know the vendors in the HCI market

There are several cost-effective options on the HCI market for organizations to choose from, such as HPE's SimpliVity and HiveIO. Each vendor offers different opportunities for cost savings, including discounted licensing, lower upfront cost and more. Continue Reading

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Converged and hyper-converged infrastructure offer unique VDI support

Both converged and hyper-converged infrastructures reduce the complexity of deploying VDI. HCI, however, can also lessen the effect of boot storms, improve I/O and run background desktop scans. Continue Reading

Tip

HCI and VDI deliver a storage-centric way to deploy desktops

IT can consider VMware's HCI with vSAN to store and deploy desktops on a tiered system that runs VDI based on organizational priorities. Continue Reading

2Thin clients-

VDI cost savings through thin clients

IT can save big on upfront costs with VDI if it turns to thin clients -- endpoints with minimal local hardware or functionality that host virtual desktops. Thin clients are cheap because they only run basic tasks but can still host virtual desktops. Thin client vendors cut away any nonessential hardware components and enable the VDI to do all the work. Of course, such machines have their drawbacks, including limited functionality, but IT pros that use thin clients in the right situations will find the devices can deliver without breaking the bank.

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Simplify management and lower upfront costs with thin clients

Thin clients enable organizations to strip away unnecessary features and only pay for what is essential to the end user. Raspberry Pi and Google Chromebook are just two examples of these cost-slashing endpoints. Continue Reading

Tip

Organizations can choose from a range of Dell Wyse thin clients

Dell's line of Wyse thin clients ranges from bare-minimum clients to high-powered devices that work as stand-alone PCs. Dell also offers mobile thin clients, which aren't as portable as the name suggests because they feature a bulky laptop chassis. Continue Reading

Tip

Google Chromebox can cut costs and simplify management

With a low cost of acquisition and minimal maintenance needs, Google Chromebox is an excellent thin client for cash-strapped organizations. Continue Reading

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Weigh the pros and cons of Chromebooks

Chromebooks enable IT to easily configure settings and applications, automate software patches and run other administrative tasks across all clients simultaneously. There are certain drawbacks, however, including lack of a stand-alone OS and problems with keystroke logging security. Continue Reading

Tip

When are Raspberry Pi thin clients suitable for the enterprise?

At just $35 per client, Raspberry Pi seems perfect for budget-constrained organizations. IT pros must keep in mind the device's limited functionality if they do choose this device. Continue Reading

Opinion

Citrix and Raspberry Pi offer a viable cost-effective thin client

Raspberry Pi thin clients are cheap but can be too limited to be viable in the enterprise. Citrix partnered with Raspberry Pi to create a more viable client for hosting XenApp and XenDesktop deployments. Continue Reading

Tip

Dell's thin clients improve virtual desktop security

Dell configured its Wyse thin clients with Windows 10 IoT Enterprise, which gives the devices a unique set of built-in features, including BitLocker, Windows Defender and Secure Boot. Continue Reading

3Licensing and deployment-

Get the most out of licensing and deployment spending

IT pros face numerous cost pitfalls when they plan a virtual desktop deployment. Many organizations require Microsoft Office 365, so IT pros must understand their licensing options. In addition, IT pros must decide how much customization their end users require and how much storage the entire organization needs. But vendors such as Citrix and Microsoft offer licensing by user, which can help simplify the process and cut costs for smaller organizations.

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VDI-friendly Office 365 accounts for nonpersistent desktops

Microsoft Office ProPlus licensing allocates the Office 365 license to the desktop itself rather than the user, making it a more cost-effective option for organizations with nonpersistent virtual desktops. Continue Reading

Answer

XenDesktop includes per-user and per-device licensing

XenDesktop's two licensing models each have uses. The user/device model operates per user account, which works best for companies with employees who all need app access at the same time. If a company has shared devices that multiple employees use, device licensing is the best option. Continue Reading

Answer

Get to know VMware's licensing options

VMware offers per-user and per-device licensing models for most of its software. For Horizon, VMware offers a per-concurrent connection model -- basically the same as per device -- which works best when users share a device. Continue Reading

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Consider all options before deploying VDI

IT must weigh the needs and resources of its organization when making decisions surrounding VDI, including which thin clients to use, whether to pick persistent or nonpersistent desktops and more. Continue Reading

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Capacity planning enables IT to avoid excessive spending

Overprovisioning a VDI deployment prevents capacity shortages but also results in overspending. If IT maps out the company's needs, it can find a balance between underperforming and overpaying. Continue Reading

Answer

Customization is still possible in nonpersistent desktops

IT can find VDI cost savings with nonpersistent desktops' low storage costs, while still allowing for some customization. Virtual app management tools, such as Citrix XenApp and VMware ThinApp, enable IT to apply customized app settings to user groups established through Group Policy Objects. Continue Reading

4Root cause analysis-

Troubleshoot and manage VDI using root cause analysis

Once IT pros deploy VDI, they must have a way to monitor and problem-solve at every level. Root cause analysis tools enable IT to identify performance inefficiencies through comprehensive monitoring of the infrastructure, including servers, hypervisors and user endpoints. IT pros can use these tools to cut down the time they need to troubleshoot and solve each VDI issue. This added efficiency saves IT labor time, which saves money in the long run.

Tip

Root cause analysis benefits go beyond troubleshooting

Root cause analysis enables IT to do more than just problem-solve. It also prevents recurring issues and improves VDI reliability, which lets IT pros focus on other tasks. Continue Reading

Tip

Choose from several root cause analysis methods

There are three root cause analysis methods that IT can choose from, including manual discovery, which involves an IT pro replicating the issue, evaluating event logs and solving the problem from there. Continue Reading

Answer

App management tools provide a range of services

To choose the most cost-effective app performance management tool, IT must weigh the cost of feature-rich software against the organization's need for the granular app monitoring it can provide. Continue Reading

Feature

Root cause analysis helps IT diagnose future VDI issues

IT can use root cause analysis to address the real issues with VDI and not just the symptoms of a specific issue. Quickly identifying the origin of a problem saves IT time and gives it the chance to find a comprehensive fix to the initial source of the problem. Continue Reading

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