Guide to calculating your VDI Costs
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In order to find the best solution for our businesses, let’s compare traditional infrastructure versus virtual desktop one for 200 end users with Windows OS and VMWare VDI.
When comparing VDI with conventional desktops (laptops), costs can be separated in several categories:
- Hardware Lifetime
- VDI licenses
- Microsoft Licenses
- Operational expenses
- Energy costs
The VDI costs are significantly more complex to calculate than the desktop ones. Let me simplify that process or you with the example below, which can give you the big picture and help you predict your budget successfully.
The lifetime of servers hosting your VDI is 5 years. For the thin clients (if any) it is at least 7 years. Therefore, let’s calculate the VDI costs for 5 years and then compare them with traditional desktops.
The cost of the VMWare Horizon concurrent user license pack, if purchased with hardware, is $2200-$2400 per 10 concurrent sessions including 1 year of support. Depending on your workflow or on whether your users are separated in different time zones, you can buy for 200 users in between 100 and 160 concurrent sessions. Let’s use the average of 130 sessions or 13×10 concurrent users pack in our example. This will cost $29900 + 4 years extra support (~$45000) = $75000
There are also several pricing options for MS Licensing. If you already have O365 subscription you can add Windows for as low as $5 per user/month. Then, the total cost for 5 years for 200 users will end up at $60000 (applies if the clients you use to access your VDI have MS OS). In rare cases if you use open source based clients you should go for a Microsoft VDI License $100/user/year or $100000 for 5 years.
One of the biggest benefits of the virtualization is the consolidation of the hardware resources. Running those 200 virtual desktops on 4 hosts will give you all the benefits of a VDI.
- Servers – Let’s say your 200 Windows10 virtual desktops with 2CPU cores and 6GB of memory each (enough for word, excel, couple of browsers, softphone, Skype, etc.). Each of your 4 servers will need two 10-core processors and 320GB RAM (~$5000) or $20000 in total.
- Storage – VDI also consolidates the storage usage for the virtual desktops. 200 desktops can run on as low as 4TB storage (Let’s give ourselves some expansion options and a little bit of extra space for user data and we end up with 10TB). For best user experience it’s highly recommended to run VDI on SSD storage only. Total SAN cost will be ~$20000.
- Networking – you need at least two stackable (preferably 10G) core switches – around $5000 for both.
- Thin Clients – you will also need thin clients at an average price of $200 or $40000 in total.
Total cost for VDI hardware for our 200 machines for 5 years will be – $85000
Operational expenses (or what you pay for your IT staff to support your users)
Usually, you need one support person per 50 users – 4 in our case (or 3 if we try to cut costs). With the VDI this will be reduced by up to 50% – or you will save at least 1 or maybe 2 salaries. If an annual salary is $30000 – VDI will save you at least $150000 for 5 years.
Thin client consumption is an average of 45-65W/h(average of 50W/h) or 400W/day (5 times less than traditional desktop) or 92000kW/h for 5 years + 4 servers (each consumes 5kW/24h ~ 37000kW. The total power consumption for the VDI for 5 years will be around 129000kW/h
If a kW/h costs $0.15, VDI will save you nearly $50000 for 5 years, not to mention the air conditioning energy savings and the clean, dust free environment you will have in your office.
Hardware Lifetime – The lifetime of a desktop or laptop is 3 years.
Microsoft Licenses – $5 per user/month
Hardware – at a price of $900 per desktop or $300/year total cost ends up at $1500 for 5 years period.
Energy costs – Desktop power consumption is around 250W/h or 2kW/day – 230 working days a year = 460000kW/h for 5 years (3 times more than VDI)
The Math – 200 VDI vs 200 Desktops
VDITotal Cost - 200 users for 5 years
- Microsoft Licensing $100k
- VDI Licenses $75k
- Hardware $85k
- IT Stuff $300k
- Energy Cost $20k
- TOTAL $580k
DesktopTotal Cost - 200 users for 5 years
- Microsoft Licensing $60k
- VDI Licenses $0
- Hardware $300k
- IT Stuff $450k
- Energy Cost $70k
- TOTAL $880k
In the end of the day, after all the calculations we have over $300000 saving for 5 years by using VDI!
3 more ways to save cash on your Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
If you already have some old desktops and laptops, you can convert all those old machines into clients instead of buying thin clients and save even more from your initial investment. If those old machines have Windows OEM licenses you can save from Microsoft VDI licenses as well – another $20-60k savings on top of the $300k from the above example.
After the initial 5 years of the VDI implementation all the servers, storage and networking will be out of support and warranty. You should consider though that they could be used to accommodate virtual servers or smaller VDI for non resource demanding users. You just need to upgrade the infrastructure and then you save even more from your IT budgets in the following years.
Bring your own device policy in your company can eliminate clients purchase costs. It can also make your users feel better working on their own devices and reduce the workload of your IT stuff to keep inventory and setup hardware.
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