back to article Bunging apps, files into virtual desktops ain't worth it - Gartner

The financial arguments for turning PCs into glorified remote terminals just don't stack up, says a Gartner bod. The bean counter estimates "virtual hosted desktops" - which shift applications and file storage into a centralised farm of servers - will form a market of 80 million units worldwide by 2016. This is a four-fold …

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Silver badge

VHDs are questionable

I mean what's the point of just moving a single user installation from the desktop to the datacenter. Terminal servers would have some advantage.

Still virtualisation on the desktop is a great tool for running legacy software. For example at work I have a virtual system for running "Windows" which is needed for some 1990s CAD package we need.

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Black Helicopters

Bunch of yoofs I am guessing

Are making the decision on whether to deploy VHD, otherwise known as diskless workstations, or thin clients. Learn from your elders, only deploy these when necessary. You won't save any money, but sometimes they are necessary. We have plenty of them where I am currently employed, however we also have network cables running in pressurized steel tubing to detect possible tampering.....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bunch of yoofs I am guessing

Centralisation in one from or another is often presented as a money-saver but in my 3 decades of experience, I have yet to see thin clients, virtualisation or any similar centralisation technology result in a reduced IT budget. This could be because the people making the presentations that claim huge savings have a vested interest in selling their stuff and may be economical with the truth in order to get a sale.

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Vic
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Re: Bunch of yoofs I am guessing

> I have yet to see thin clients, virtualisation or any similar centralisation technology

> result in a reduced IT budget

It works quite well if you've got "outworkers" - users who control (and probably own) their own desktops, but expect flawless execution at all times, ro else they'll stop doing anything. But such people are generally only an issue for charities and other volunteer organisations.

For everyone else - I'm right with you. Lots of noise, lots of promises - but I've yet to see anything realised.

Vic.

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Silver badge

IT generally isn't a 'one size fits all' proposition. Whether you will benefit from virtual desktops depends on your environment. If you're supporting a thousand desktops in a massive call centre, you probably won't save much by virtualising them. If you're supporting a thousand laptops in your sales division, there could well be significant savings to be made.

The real benefits are not simply cost savings, but more flexible working (equally effective using home PCs Internet cafés or smartphones) and increased security - especially in the 'thousand laptops' scenario.

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It's not just about saving direct costs

Agreeing with others here and those in the main article, it's about increased security and improved productivity as users can publish their desktop of applicaiton to a number of different devices and access them in the most convenient way. It's also about enabling scale, managing moves and changes. It's far easier to deploy and manage new desktops using VDI model.

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Capital vs Operational Expenditures

Not only does the CAPEX perspective make VHDs a no-go from the start, but if you also compare the Operational expenditures of STILL HAVING TO STAFF A HELPDESK for end users plus the added cost of hiring the right people to manage the centralised, expensive, and complex kit for the host servers, it makes even less sense.

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Anonymous Coward

It isn't just about cost you dumb beancounters

It is about:

Manageability. Pushing out a major new suite using even good tools like SMS is a headache, taking support staff days/weeks/months. Cloning your master machine out to thousands of users with View / Xen etc is a simple overnight job.

Security: moves model away from end user having 'their' machine with 'their' data silo and 'their' odd range of security malpractices. Bring it to the datacenter and you can give remote access via browsers / tablets etc without the user taking half the company's data on their hard drive.

Reliability: laptops / desktops go flaky and are high maintenance. Centrally located VMs are easy to refresh and get user back working in little time.

Features. Work from home on your own device with all sorts of nice multi factor authentication gateways.

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Re: It isn't just about cost you dumb beancounters

Alas it's also about having a load of people having slow response times when there's server troubles. If they had their own machine they could at least be somewhat shielded from overloaded servers.

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Bronze badge

Re: It isn't just about cost you dumb beancounters

Everything you said there also applies to SBC (XenApp and Remote Desktop Services) which is an order of magnitude cheaper when compared to VDI.

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Re: It isn't just about cost you dumb beancounters

Yes, but there is also the possibility of just using a Terminal server. You have very few servers your users in with their "dumb" terminals.

Besides if you re-image your virtual systems over night, you will be greeted with lots of calls from dumb users who stored data locally, despite of loosing it several time and despite of company policy advising strongly against it.

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"I'd say the cost of deploying virtual desktops is roughly equitable to deploying standard desktops in terms of capital expenditure."

Sorry Sam but even with Softcat prices I don't see how buying endpoints AND central infrastructure is ever going to cost the same as just endpoints. It just won't. Don't even get me started on VDI OP-EX!

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WTF?

Costs? Productivity? What's those?

It's largely just another management fad--something to talk about at meetings with other faddists and with potential suckers/investors. It's not as if all the execs pushing the purchasing decisions are playing with their own money, or staking their own functionality (such as it is) on the new systems.

As for security, the more unworkable the system is, the more frequently people will just work outside it.

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Meh

small point

"I'd say the cost of deploying virtual desktops is roughly equitable to deploying standard desktops in terms of capital expenditure."

Sorry to be pedantic, but shouldn't Sam Routledge have used the word "equivalent" rather than "equitable" -or am I being inequitable?

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