This content is part of the Conference Coverage: VMworld 2016 conference coverage

IT's VMworld 2016 wish list: Bring VDI costs down

IT experts share their wish lists for VMworld 2016. For SMBs, it's high time VMware brings cheaper VDI to the table.

IT pros at small businesses want VDI costs to come down, and they hope to see signs of this at VMworld 2016.

VDI costs are holding back adoption, and VMware's reputation is it's even more expensive than some of its competition, according to IT pros and industry experts. They are looking to hear more about affordability at VMware's annual user conference, which takes place next week in Las Vegas.

"It's tough to talk to customers about VMware in terms of pricing," said Doug Grosfield, president and CEO of Five Nines IT Solutions, an IT consultancy in Kitchener, Ont. Grosfield's former company, Xylotek Solutions, partnered with VMware.

"Their products are typically priced above what some of their competitors are," he said. "I'd like to hear more about becoming more affordable."

Technical advancements in VDI, on their own, are not as compelling anymore, especially for smaller businesses that can't afford to pay big, Grosfield said. VDI vendors, including VMware, need to please businesses of all sizes, but they are missing out on a piece of the market by not appeasing SMBs.

I would like to see VDI make more sense for companies like ours.
Jim Daviesdirector of IT, Ongweoweh Corp.

"It doesn't pay for us to use VDI," said Jim Davies, director of IT at Ongweoweh Corp., a pallet and packing management company in Ithaca, N.Y. "I would like to see VDI make more sense for companies like ours. The prices have to come down."

VDI could benefit Ongweoweh, which has about 80 employees, but it doesn't make sense financially at the moment, Davies said. The company is a VMware ESXi customer, and it is pleased with the vendor's technical support staff and disaster recovery technology, he added.

Heavy competition in the market, specifically between Citrix and VMware, could help make VDI more affordable, said Robert Young, analyst at research firm IDC.

"You've got some competition in the market, and that benefits the customer," Young said. "As the technology evolves, I'd like to hear more from the vendors on this."

Dell discontinued vWorkspace, its VDI product, in April, so its customers may be weighing new options. With a piece of the market up for grabs, it is important for VMware to differentiate Horizon from Citrix XenDesktop at VMworld 2016. But it is likely more of a priority to differentiate Workspace One, VMware's larger desktop and application delivery suite, from the competing Citrix Cloud, Young said. Citrix and VMware's VDI products are included in their respective workspace suites, which target larger businesses.

Additionally, with Citrix and Microsoft strengthening their partnership, VMware will likely use VMworld 2016 to highlight happenings around its partnership with IBM, Young said. VMware offers businesses the option of delivering desktops and apps with Horizon Air on IBM's cloud.

Dell-EMC deal is top of mind

The elephant in the room at VMworld 2016 is Dell's impending acquisition of EMC, VMware's parent company. The deal, which is expected to close by the end of October, leaves VMware customers wondering if any changes will come from the new ownership.

"I don't believe that this will result in a major impact to VMware customers, but it would be good to hear what they have planned," said Gus Medina, IT manager of systems integration at Molina Healthcare Inc., a VMware customer in Long Beach, Calif.

VMware and Dell have stressed that Dell will treat VMware as a separate company.

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