Reducing Desktop Costs Part 2 Virtualizing the Desktop – Tech Focus September 2009
Alan Le Marquand
The question posed in part 1 was Is the cost of ownership of your Microsoft client systems rising? Are you looking for ways to reduce the costs associated with deploying Windows and managing it thereafter?
There are two solutions available to help combat these costs. The first post covered deploying an actual client and the issues that need to be addressed there, this post and the next will cover the potential cost savings using the virtualization options.
So if deploying a Windows 7 client is not an option, then an alternative solution is to virtualize. There are two core options to this. Each has different cost saving benefits. The two options are:-
These are in no particular order. The potential cost saving depends on your current environment and what you obviously need to add or change to implement them.
This post looks at the desktop virtualization option and within this concept the first virtualization option is what is often called “ Presentation Virtualization”. Microsoft’s technologies for this option is Remote Desktop Services.
Remote Desktop Services, formerly known as Terminal Services, provides technologies that enable users to access Windows-based programs that are installed locally on a Remote Desktop Session Host server, or to access the full Windows desktop.
So what are the advantages and therefore cost saving of this? Basically Remote Desktop Services lets you deploy and maintain software from a central location. Because you install the programs on the RD Session Host server and not on the client computer, programs are easier to upgrade and to maintain, which in turn helps to reduce maintenance costs. Before going into the potential cost saving of this solution, it’s worth looking at these 3 webcasts to expand on the technologies more.
If you’ve watched these webcasts you now know that clients connect to a central resource to gain access to applications or a desktop. Clients do not have to be all local to these servers, the service can be made available beyond the corporate network with services such as TS Gateway and TS Broker service. There is an IPD guide for Terminal Services and a detailed web page that leads you step-by-step through the process of planning a Remote Desktop Service infrastructure. If webcasts above are a bit long there is also a video series on TechNet Edge, this also takes you through 5 steps to install and configure RDS.
So where do the saving come in?
Before we go further, one last point on RDS. If you’ve read the additional information above and the idea of making applications available via RDS sounds like something that you want to investigate further, then I’d suggest reading the next post in this series on Application Virtualization. For pure application deliver App-V is a better choice – also see the diagram at the bottom of this post.
Next on the Desktop Virtualization front is Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V). MED-V basically enables deployment and management of Microsoft Virtual PC Windows desktops, this is designed to help organizations upgrade to the latest version of Windows even when some applications are not yet functional or supported on this version. The diagram opposite shows the difference between MED-V and APP-V – which I will cover in the next post.
The bottom line to remember about these two solutions is that MED-V resolves conflicts between operating system and Application, App-V at a minimum resolves conflict between Applications running on the same operating system, however it’s potential use is much wider and potential for cost savings much greater.
There is a lot more to MED-V, more than I can cover in this post, plus article linked to the diagram above does a great job going through it in detail.
This post was about desktop virtualization using technologies like RDS, VDI and MED-V. Each solves a different business problem and so in that respect do represent a cost saving to your organization in respect of how you operate today. How you measure the saving depends on how fast a return you are looking for. VDI will potentially save you money, but the saving is offset by the initial outlay. In all the solutions above there is the potential for initial outlay in infrastructure, the level of outlay will obviously lengthen the time before you see potential cost savings.
Next up I’ll cover App-V, and this technology will certainly make you think hard about how you deliver applications in the future and the cost savings that entails.