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Virtual Desktop InfrastructureBeware the wolf in sheeps clothing

Andre Kiehne | Nov. 23, 2010
<p>The implementation of a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure is the biggest desktop computing change since the PC revolution of the 1980s. VDI presents many advantages but organisations of all sizes should be careful before blindly following the trendand beware of the pitfalls.</p>

On paper, its a compelling argument: organisations large and small will enjoy huge performance and cost benefits from the immediate, wholesale adoption of the latest technology thats sweeping the market: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure. Hailed by cynics as a return to the dumb terminals of the 1970s and 80s, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, or VDI for short, is much more than a green screenin fact, the end user may not even realise that their familiar old desktop PC has been replaced by a desktop image sitting on a virtualised server elsewhere in their organisationor in a remote data centre anywhere in the world, come to that.

The virtualisation revolution, which started with servers, is now spreading to the desktopand delivering a range of benefits that traditional PCs cannot match.  Centrally-hosted and managed VDI provides a compelling combination of benefits in terms of security, service quality and flexibility, which all add up to cost savings in comparison to running a traditional PC-based network. And whats more is that migration is straightforward, especially in environments where server virtualisation has been introduced, as companies have already laid the foundations.

Just like all great advances in technology, its the implementation phase thats most critical. Base your VDI on the wrong metrics and its bound to disappoint, frustrate and fail to deliver those promised cost savings. This is why Fujitsu is focusing very much on a Managed Service approach, offering a range of alternatives, plus hybrid models, enabling customers to measure their success simply on a flexible Service Level Agreement (SLA). Everything else is just detailFujitsu takes care of the operation and support of a VDI, while customers pay per seat, following the established enterprise software model.

And its especially on software licensing where it is important to beware the wolf in sheeps clothing. If you choose a VDI infrastructure offering simply on the basis of promised cost reduction, then you should beware of the license models. Dont be forced into accepting a one size fits all solution or fall for the promise of improbable reductions in per-user operating costs. Why? Because its easy to artificially lower overall costs on paperyou just cut out essential services like maintenance and support. Also for every endpoint device used without a full Microsoft Windows operating system license, such as a thin client or Zero Client, companies need to factor in the subscription to Microsofts Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) service, which costs around US$100 per device per year. And this means that todays VDI bargain may be your IT albatross by 2012.Our advice is to look at the costs over the lifecycle of a traditional PCthree to five yearsand to keep an eye out for hidden costs.


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