Tips for Keeping VDI Cost to a Minimum


One of the biggest challenges that businesses face when implementing IT infrastructure is CapEx. Initial installations, especially for large-scale infrastructure changes, were labor-intensive as well as expensive. Any growing company looking to expand its operations had no choice but to opt for a complete and non-friendly budget overhaul. With the emergence of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), things have changed. The technology has proven to be an effective tool in more ways than one. It can be deployed quickly, utilizes fewer resources, and offers better results than legacy systems. 

Virtualization is fundamentally the process of running a desktop operating system on a centralized server in a data center. offers users personalized desktops which they can access on demand anywhere, anytime and on any device. The centralized management UX in VDI boosts efficiency and productivity and reduces overall business costs.

Why Virtual Desktops?

Let’s conduct a brief VDI cost-benefit analysis. Advancements in technology have eliminated unnecessary CapEx that appears in the form of costly computers and servers. These often have high operational expenses and demand constant updating. Another problem that administrators face is the cost of running and maintaining servers. Let’s assume that a single server comes with a price tag of thousands. Add the cost of proprietary software as well as licensing, maintenance, and administration fees, and the total can be overwhelming.  

Virtualization puts an end to these purchases and setup expenses, which means potential savings in installation alone can start from tens of thousands of dollars. The platform also eliminates unnecessary hardware, server costs, and anxiety about lengthy infrastructure recovery times. One can run any or all modules on their native hardware while connected to the cloud. As a result, there will no longer be any potential asset loss or fluctuating costs. Expenses become streamlined, predictable, and reliable. 

Cost Considerations

While the real costs of VDI are not easy to identify, there are certain tangible expenses that one can look into. First, you have end-user licenses that consist of VDI cost per user and per end device. Next, take into account server-side licenses and Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) licenses for using virtualized Windows OS on the VDI servers (or Microsoft Software Assurance). Each instance should have a VDA or a Microsoft Software Assurance license. Then, there is the server hardware initial cost, amortized and average. When it comes to solutions that are based on running VMs on a server, a server must be acquired per 30-50 users. These servers need a significant amount of processing power and RAM. Note that costs may also vary between vendors and configurations. 

You can also use a VDI cost calculator to analyze the TCO for a certain solution. One can achieve cost savings by a combination of low cost and less complex server hardware, as well as affordable client devices that include a full VDI software solution at no extra charge. Ideally, calculate TCO for five years, and refer to this list of what you should factor in:

  • Upfront Purchase Price

This includes acquiring the hardware and software, laptop/desktop PCs, or servers and Thin Clients.

  • Deployment Expenses

This consists of setup and installation labor

  • Annual Power Costs
  • Annual Internal IT Support Costs
  • Annual Hardware Refresh Costs 

You should take into account the upfront cost and estimated lifespan.

  • Annual Maintenance Costs & Vendor Support

Companies are showing a growing interest in the best low-cost VDI options because of the benefits they offer. The fact is: VDI is thriving in today’s IT world and will continue to do so in the future. Let’s look at a press release by MarketsandMarkets. It estimates VDI’s worth to rise from USD 7.83b in 2017 to USD 13.45b by 2022.

In light of the above, why are some companies yet to move to virtual desktops? One might say that the total cost of owning and maintaining such a setup is too high. This could be the case only if you do not carry out prior research prior to implementation. Also, setup, licensing costs and storage needs back then meant that companies invested more than what was necessary. 

However, because of IT recent progress, there are many low-cost virtual desktop solutions that you can consider. Let’s look at the possibilities.

Consider Hyper-Converged Infrastructure (HCI)

HCI integrates storage, compute, networking and virtualization hardware and software resources into a single system. With HCI, data does not travel between hardware components and this boosts performance. This is because HCI devices streamline planning, meet full-size virtualization disk requirements and manage hardware complications. You only need to find one HCI device that does everything to simplify VDI management. It is this very feature that makes it a low-cost option.

How does this work? Companies planning a large-scale implementation will face scalability issues with traditional infrastructure. For example, provisioning enough storage to manage varying user needs is time-consuming, difficult and costly in a legacy system setting. 

With HCI, companies can attach one or more infrastructure nodes as per their scaling needs. This prevents interruptions and reduces the risk of system downtime. You would be pleased to know that this has been backed by research. According to Data Center Knowledge, you can decrease operating costs by 50% because of HCI. This is because the platform integrates virtual and storage computes management into one console.

So, HDI lessens VDI to load on the data center by cutting administration and support costs through the server, network, and storage consolidation. This saves money and keeps overall costs low.

Look Up Desktop as a Service (DaaS)

Consider a setup where each computer locally manages your desktops. The result is a dispersed network across all onsite PCs and this sort of arrangement is costly and inconvenient. Many companies use VDI to build a virtual network of desktops and manage infrastructure in a centralized system. The challenge here is that even with virtualization, a thorough IT setup needs to be built from scratch. This is where DaaS comes in.

DaaS is a cloud computing technology that outsources VDI to be managed by a third party. It does not need high initial investment and is a useful resource to boost desktop capacity. Compared to legacy systems, DaaS provides virtualization efficiencies with economies of scale. This is because there are no set-up costs and physical infrastructure involved. It consolidates an entire IT structure on its own, hence saving money on maintenance.

Apart from using DaaS for contracting out actual VDI, companies can also assign management tasks to a cloud provider. All they need to do is simply pay ongoing service fees. This helps keep virtual desktop expenses in check.

Go For Low-Cost Thin Client Solutions

With so many choices available, it is tough to select one that best meets unique business and performance needs. To begin with, Dell offers Thin Clients that boost security, ease IT processes and improve overall UX. You can choose from their range of Wyse thin and zero clients available between $329 to $760. These clients deliver simplicity, flexibility and high performance across VMware, Dell, Citrix and Microsoft-based platforms. Users can also opt for Wyse’s All-in-One thin clients with prices starting at $549. Moreover, their mobile thin clients can be bought for $760 or more.

Another option is HP thin clients which cost around $245-$612. For example, they offer mobile thin clients at a starting price of $449. Also, those looking for highly configurable options that can manage graphics-intensive applications may consider HP’s zero clients. These clients are available between $249-$309.

The question is: are these the most affordable thin clients you can find in the market?

Perhaps not. Do some research and you will come across even better low-cost solutions. One option is the C3Pi Raspberry Pi 3 Thin Client which ClearCube offers at a price of only $119.95. It includes features like: 

  • VMware Blast Extreme display protocol for greater VDI connectivity and manageability.
  • Imprivata OneSign integration. 
  • High-performance multimedia and graphics. 

Also, this low-cost thin client is not only easy to set up and manage. It optimizes power consumption and integrates state-of-the-art security features into VDI. Furthermore, C3Pi Raspberry Pi meets heavy-duty configurations in VMware Horizon and other VDI settings. You can always contact one of our experts to know more.

Software Licensing Costs

One of the main expenses is software licensing. There are different costs for server-side and end-user licenses. For example, Windows Virtual Desktop Access License (VDA) is $100 per year for each device. Prices may vary based on user location and agreement with Microsoft.

Another example is the Citrix XenDesktop VDI Edition at a unit price of $102 per user for its perpetual license. You can also go for its on-premises subscription license as a concurrent user at a unit price of $98. Also, VMware has a range of Horizon clients that offer flexible and high-performance UX. The basic support level VMware Horizon Standard concurrent user license is available for $3025 annually. You can also buy the production support level type for $3125. 

Moving on, look into VMware Horizon Advanced and Enterprise software solutions. A named user can buy its yearly basic support level license for $3025. On the other hand, a concurrent user can get the same for $4840. In the same way, named users can buy the Enterprise software annual basic support level license for $4235 each. Once again, the same will cost $6958 per concurrent user.

At ClearCube, you can avail 40% off on our Teradici All Access Software till Jan 31, 2018. Feel free to get in touch with us for a quote. 

Closing Remarks

All in all, create a use case so that you can choose the most affordable business solution. This is where ClearCube can help as it offers virtualization software for every possible setup. You can always visit us for real-time help with any questions or concerns you may have. 

Please note this disclaimer. ClearCube does not accept responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of the above prices and product availability. Both may be subject to change anytime. To the best of our knowledge, all information is accurate as of January 25, 2018.

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