Virtual Desktop Pricing: Understanding VDI Costs

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The idea of moving from distributed physical desktops, which require each individual machine to be set up, updated, and secured on a regular basis, to an enterprise virtual desktop infrastructure is an appealing one. Centralizing governance, security, and control to either an internal virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) IT staff or outsourcing this function to a third-party desktop-as-a-solution (DaaS) provider can streamline the management and maintenance of desktops. This is particularly important in this day and age when remote and hybrid work is an inevitable and growing segment of the overall workplace.


Before making this shift, organizations will want to address the question, “How much does VDI cost?” The answer must take into account not only upfront capital costs but also ongoing maintenance and labor resources that may be required.


What is involved in virtual desktop pricing?

Many factors play into the pricing of VDI or DaaS systems. Capital equipment expenditures may vary depending on what existing machines will be re-commissioned for the new infrastructure. Acquiring new hardware, licensing fees, and where a company is in the payment cycle of those fees, as well as the availability and experience level of the professional IT staff can play an ongoing role. Unforeseen and required maintenance costs attributed to the VDI hardware can be significant and leave you in a tough place if you need that help and do not have it.


In addition, companies need to take into account those softer costs that are harder to quantify on a spreadsheet. For example, what is the cost of being able to onboard new employees within minutes vs. weeks or even months? How do you quantify the increased security that’s built into a VDI system compared to the vulnerabilities in a traditional distributed desktop infrastructure? What is the value of having experts at your disposal compared with trying to recruit and train an IT professional in this tight labor market?


Calculating VDI costs

In order to address these issues, a VDI cost calculator must take into account the following components and factors: 

  • Hardware. If you plan on managing your VDI system in-house and do not have existing infrastructure, a huge part of your costs will sit in this category. Purchasing physical servers, power supplies, network equipment, storage controllers, and climate control systems can be expensive. Some of these costs may be doubled to accommodate redundancy security requirements. In addition, there are rising costs for this approach versus DaaS as inflation has added another 10% to the bottom line along with gas price increases.
  • Software Licenses. VDI solution licenses that allow multiple users access to virtual applications and software tools from multiple devices will be required for organizations that have a remote or hybrid workforce. However, in situations where one desktop may be shared by multiple users like in a call center or in a company that runs shifts around the clock, per-device licenses may be more cost-effective. In addition, licensing costs for other support and applications can be added to these basic VDI solution costs.
  • On-Prem Considerations. Managing a VDI system in-house will require resources to build and deploy such as hypervisors, databases, and directory-based software. Proprietary systems can increase costs rapidly, especially in finding the certified IT experts that are so rare today.
  • Maintenance. Support and maintenance for the VDI hardware and software including updates and security will become operational costs. For those using a virtual desktop cloud system, you will need to pay the cloud provider’s annual fees. The more complicated the VDI system, the higher the operational costs will be.
  • All the hardware, servers and systems in a VDI system require a great deal of energy to run. In addition, cooling costs will be higher to maintain the ideal climate for all this expensive equipment.


Popular types and benefits of enterprise desktop virtualization

The two most popular types of enterprise desktop virtualization are internal VDI systems and hosted virtual desktop providers. However, in this latter category, the pricing structure can make a significant difference in overall costs.


Both solutions offer a wealth of benefits including:

  • Centralized governance and maintenance. Whether you use an in-house or outsourced VDI solution, both will reduce the cost of maintaining individual desktop machines. For example, instead of physically updating every desktop, the updates can take place on the centralized system and be instantly accessible to all users.
  • Ability to scale easily. For organizations that may need seasonal workers or fluctuating customer volumes, VDI solutions allow adding and removing contract employees easily and security by simply managing user access and privileges, compared with potentially commissioning an entirely new piece of equipment or having unused equipment in storage.
  • Lower endpoint device costs. The storage and capability requirements of VDI endpoint devices are often much less than conventional desktop machines. They also use less energy.
  • Greater productivity. Both the centralization of maintenance and troubleshooting as well as the flexibility of access from different endpoint devices means employees stay productive for a greater amount of time.


On-Premises VDI Systems Pricing

Perhaps the most expensive of the solutions, on-premises VDI may be a workable answer if an organization has already invested in the equipment required to run this solution internally. Shifting to a public-based cloud may reduce long-term expenses but holding onto the necessary IT staff today can be a more difficult endeavor. Evolve IP sees many opportunities where the prospect ran VDI in-house for 5 years and now due to costs of maintaining and upgrading the equipment, they are going the DaaS route. VDI requires a staff just to manage VDI infrastructure outside of the usual internal IT.

The additional benefit mainly revolves around control; having an on-premises VDI means that your organization can prioritize updates and features as you see fit and complete them in your timeframe.


Conventional DaaS Provider’s Pricing

 Most DaaS providers offer a very similar pricing model based on “seats” and associated features. These typically include remote monitoring and management, anti-virus, operating system, and patching and maintenance. Sometimes, additional storage or higher levels of security can be purchased at an additional fee.


The downside of this pricing structure is that it treats all users the same. However, in most companies, one set of users may only need to access software-as-a-service (SaaS) tools, another requires SaaS as well as proprietary applications. There are also users who are on RTAV calls via Team, Webex, and Zoom as a part of their role, and a third group requires these as well as DaaS tools.


Evolve IP Virtual Desktop Pricing

A key differentiator of Evolve IP workspaces is the pricing model. By offering different pricing for those users only needing SaaS, those requiring SaaS and applications only, and those who actually must have a full DaaS solution, Evolve IP helps bring the total cost of ownership down significantly for its customers. Reach out today to learn more.




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