Today I found this blog entry, which links to this PDF of a whitepaper by Microsoft. (The whitepaper is from May, but I doubt its figures are too out of date.) The whitepaper says it’s 11 percent more expensive to use VDI in a well-managed Windows 7 environment for office workers than to use physical hardware.
The blog writer draws the conclusion from this whitepaper that Microsoft prefers traditional desktops over VDI. To me, the more interesting idea from the whitepaper is that you can choose VDI for only 11 percent more (or 9 percent if you’re on XP).
From an IT pro perspective, managing VDI has some notable advantages over managing desktops, even if you’re paying more to do so. The hardware with your machines stays in your control—your users don’t have physical access. VDI management tools let you do things like spin up new machines from gold images in a fraction of the time it’d take to install an OS on an aging desktop. And VDI can be a gateway to new things, like Windows desktops that follow users from one device to another and Bring your own PC.