While organizations are turning to server virtualization to reduce costs, Microsoft recently told IT departments they shouldn’t necessarily expect a huge benefit from desktop virtualization.
Though desktop virtualization has advantages for businesses in many situations, virtualized desktops are still, overall, more expensive and less powerful than their physical counterparts, wrote Gavriella Schuster, senior director of the Windows commercial product management group, in a recent blog entry.
Schuster cited a recent study, which found that:
- Virtualized desktops generally cost 9-11% more than a corresponding PC environment
- Virtualization cuts hardware costs for desktop machines by an average of 32% — but those savings are canceled out by a 64% increase in software costs in the data center
- Help desk costs are reduced because virtual desktops are easier to maintain — but the additional expertise needed to run a virtual environment can add to IT’s costs by the same amount, and
- Users working on virtualized desktops often complained of worse performance, due to the dependence on network connectivity.
That’s not to say desktop virtualization is a waste of time and money. Says Schuster: “We think VDI [virtualized desktop infrastructure] is good for all organizations but not necessarily all users.
For example, some folks may need to run more than one environment — likely on two different PCs. VDI would allow that user to run both on the same machine.
Also, many users in a company may be able to handle the performance loss of virtual desktops, while some will always need a separate workstation.
As for other types of virtualization, it seems companies are finding more value in server virtualization, at least based on adoption rates. As we reported earlier, the percentage of servers that are virtualized has increased by 3% in the past year.