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For Infrastructure & Operations Professionals

Hosted Virtual Desktops Versus Physical PCs: Understanding The Operational Cost Differences

January 3, 2013

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Why Read This Report

When considering hosted virtual desktops (also known as virtual desktop infrastructure, or VDI) as an alternative or in addition to physical PCs, it's difficult to find reliable information about the differences in costs between physical PCs and virtual desktops, especially in the operational costs. Forrester has reviewed various total-cost-of-ownership (TCO) calculators and guides from several vendors, and all have a predictable pattern: They typically describe the life-cycle costs of traditional PC environments in detail while overlooking the true operational costs of the supporting VDI infrastructure components. In this report, we evaluate the operational costs of VDI infrastructure. Our analysis is based on in-depth interviews with architecture and infrastructure chiefs responsible for some of the largest VDI environments in operation today. Our findings? Few firms have a clear understanding of what is involved in operating a VDI environment, which causes them to significantly underestimate the true costs.

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Table of Contents

  • The Relative Costs Of Hosted Virtual Desktops Seem To Defy Analysis
  • Your Use Cases Will Determine The Economics
  • Analyze The Life Cycles Of All Components To Understand Total Costs

  • How To Build Your Business Case
  • Supplemental Material
  • Related Research Documents

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