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PC or not to PC
Parmeet Chaddha - EVP, Products & Technology
In March 2008, Gartner computed that total cost of ownership (TCO) of a Desktop PC could be as much as $5,867 per year. However, this TCO could come down by 42% if the PC were “locked down and well managed.” Gartner also stated, “the emergence of alternative client architectures provides the opportunity to reduce client computing TCO.”
Here we are, 3+ years later. How is the TCO equation going?
Since 2008, tremendous strides have been made in leveraging virtual infrastructure for pushing the desktop into the data center. Even more compelling have been the display protocol innovations in delivering PC-equivalent experience to end-users from the data center. Broader and broader cross-section of the industry segments are embracing desktop virtualization, and every year is threatening to be a “year of the VDI.” I ask again, how is the TCO equation going?
Short answer is, “not too good!” As a matter of fact, in the latest Gartner report in Dec 2010 on TCO of hosted virtual desktops, the analyst has reduced the TCO advantage of virtual desktop to merely ~10% lower than a PC. In order to understand this lack of progress on TCO, one has to dissect the TCO composition. More than 80% of the TCO is the operational cost – CAPEX is no more than 20%. What is short-changing the OPEX promise of VDI? The answer lies in the fundamental flaw of deploying VDI in the client-server architecture, i.e. using a thick or thin computing client as the endpoint device.
Repurposed PCs or so-called thin clients, deployed in client-server architecture, will NEVER allow the promise of VDI to be realized.
The moment your endpoint computes and uses an (embedded) O/S and drivers, most of the significant ills that burden the desktop PC OPEX are back in play – data protection, malware protection, patching and updates, break-fix, huge power footprint – all are back.
Given that the cost structure of a repurposed PC is one that of a PC, and the cost structure of a thin client has already-established floors, one needs to re-think the endpoint strategy for both components of the TCO – CAPEX and OPEX.
This is where the true Zero client (i.e. no CPU, no O/S, no drivers, no updates) comes into play. This is where radical centralization comes into play.
VDI decision is and will remain incomplete without a fundamental decision on choosing radical centralization over client-server, and choosing a true Zero endpoint over repurposed PC or thin clients.
Take this bold decision and then tell us how the TCO equation is going!