I’ve been working on cost analysis for a Windows Virtual Desktop solution versus a PC solution for customers and thought it might be useful to share some info about what to consider if you are thinking of a WVD project.
Computing devices that connect and communicate with a network. PCs, laptops, tablets, phones, thin clients possibly even a fridge! A traditional office setting will have PCs or laptops at workstations. Things had been moving more towards working from home and hotdesking and this has been accelerated considerably with the COVID crisis. A common reason for customers to look at WVD would be when PCs need to be replaced and they want to move away from the traditional model.
Let’s think about the overheads involved in replacing and maintaining PCs first, it’s way more than just buying the boxes.
- PC lifecycle management including procurement, build, deployment, and decommissioning. Think about how long it would take and how many staff would be needed to roll out new PCs. Says its 50, for example, and 1 technician can set up 5 users a day. That’s 10 days of their time and salary.
- Operating system build, design, deploy
- Security for PC environment
- PC and user footprint across locations. PCs take up space and so do people! PCs have noisy fans and create heat and eat power. And say you have multiple locations that staff move between. Do they have desks and PCs at each location? If you didn’t have that, think of what’s possible. You can downsize your offices and have hot desks for employees, most of whom may work from home now anyway.
- Unplanned repairs and upgrades
- Support staff
- And before you know it, the PCs need to be replaced again, say every 4 years. And you need to decommission the old ones
All those PCs need applications to be useful you’ll need
- Desktop Applications lifecycle management – right from installation, standardization, packaging, deployment to patching & upgrades
- Application catalogue of both standard and non-standard applications, including off-the-shelf and in-house built applications. This can be a considerable amount of work and downtime especially if some apps have regular patches to be rolled out.
- Again, support staff
- Regulation & compliance
- Application & Infrastructure vulnerability management
- Data protection
- Identity & Access management
- Network security
- Monitoring & analytics
Some of the network services to consider the cost of to run these PCs. Also consider the footprint here, the rent you pay to have a data centre, power and cooling costs, maintenance staff.
- Datacentre services
- Network services
- Identity & Access Management platform
- Anti-malware platform
- Messaging platform
- Data protection platform
- Server infrastructure
- System centre configuration platform
- Desktop management services
- Application distribution platform
- Backup & Disaster Recovery
Now let’s compare that to setting up WVD for the same group of users?
In our previous example the endpoints were PCs. To access your WVD environment you can use any endpoint use any devices that can connect to the internet. If you’re away with the family and need to get to your work desktop you can just borrow your kids iPad and log on, probably not worth doing but I’m just highlighting ease of access here! Staff can use their own devices (referred to as BYOD bring your own device) or company bought ones.
In an office-based scenario you can use thin clients instead of PCs. These are small devices that sit with a monitor to allow you to connect to the internet. They are cheaper (average €280), have no moving parts to repair or heat the environment, you only replace every 7 years and use they considerably less electricity. Conservative PC usage would be around 50 kWh per month while a TC is around 7kWh. If you’re paying €0.13 per kWh for electricity you will save, for 50 users, €280 each month.
To compare the cost consideration to the PC scenario, if you compare to TCs, hardware and running costs are considerably less. They need negligible support, set up might take 2 day for 50 users. No support staff after install.
- Licenses – you still need these and a WVD license but fortunately Microsoft 365 F1, E3, E5, Business Premium and Windows 10 Enterprise include this license so there’s a good chance you already own it
- The beauty of WVD is all the hassle with apps is significantly reduced as the apps sits in the cloud rather than on each endpoint. An upgrade or patch is applied only once, and each user accesses the updated app. This includes the Windows operating system. You can also create ‘images’ for users or departments. For example, HR and Accounting might use different packages so when a new HR user comes on board just point their login to the HR image and they can quickly access all the apps they need. There is way more to this and many benefits but for today we are just looking at cost, so I’ll keep it to that.
- Windows 7 is supported, and extended security updates are included so no need to purchase costly support contracts. You can easily virtualize and continue using your Win 7 apps.
- Multi-session Windows 10 means multiple users can log on to one WVD. For example, you might configure a virtual desktop to host 8 users of medium workload. So, you need only pay for one desktop for eight users.
In comparison to the PC scenario after initial set up this is easy to maintain; it takes minutes to add/remove users departments etc keeping staff costs minimal.
Network & Security
Most of this is taken care of by Microsoft so all that cost is gone.
Goodbye to data centre services, network, storage, maintenance staff costs. Much of your security requirements will be covered from within Windows 10 and Microsoft 365. You do need to think about identity and device management, app security but again this may be included with your M365 package. It’s important to get the security right from the start, I would recommend having an expert Cloud Service Provider, like FutureRange, set this up for you.
You will have operational resilience with disaster recovery, high availability, no unplanned outages and hardware is kept evergreen at no cost to your business.
Business agility with 24/7 availability, easy remote working, add/remove employees/departments quickly, easily add/remove resources.
Take a look at our Windows Virtual Desktop site here www.windowsvirtualdesktop.ie
Look at WVD as part of your Modern Workplace Transformation Modern Workplace Solutions
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