Today I was reading “Virtual desktops and thin client computing” where the author makes a number of assertions about why virtual desktops havn’t caught on. I think he misses the point by a mile.
Where are the cost savings on implementing virtual desktops? The first saving is condensing the only part of the virtual desktop that is likely to require hands on work in one place. Instead of having to mess with computers all over the place, the virtual machines are all in one place and can be accessed from anywhere in the world by a simpler piece of equipment that doesn’t require hands on support. Saying any support should be able to be done remotely is naïve.
Suggesting that computers are not going to require replacement as often is also far from correct. Every upgrade of Windows results in more old hardware becoming unsupported, it doesn’t matter if it still works fine.
The servers required to replace physical desktop machines are also far less in cost than those machines. Instead of wasting most of the capacity of individual machines and the electricity required to run them, servers running virtual desktops run at a much higher percentage of usage, making them a far more cost effective and green solution. Even assuming you pay for the hypervisor software instead of using excellent open source options such as Xen, the virtual desktop still far outweighs the physical desktop from a TCO (total cost of ownership) standpoint.
Finally, there’s the security standpoint. All data is retained in the data center and easily and verifiably backed up. Users can even take a thin client home with them and telecommute with no more risk to the data than working in the office. Lose a thin client and it’s no big deal, lose a hard drive full of confidential information and see what happens.
So, why don’t businesses jump on this? It’s simple, they have a bad case of “computer hugging”. They have the sense that it isn’t real unless they can lay hands on the computer itself.
And this is the perception that data center providers of virtual desktops need to change.
Vern, SwiftWater Telecom