Switch to virtual desktops – how much would it cost? (infographic)

  • On July 25, 2018

So you’ve gone through the general convincing process, the whole management board is more or less in favour of the VDI migration and now you have to put in the effort to calculate how much it will cost and how long it will take. To make things easier for you we have produced a pathfinder infographic that summarizes the key phases you need to go through and some estimation of the resources you need to allocate. Beware that despite all optimizations and cost savings that the desktop virtualization will bring you, it is not an easy and cheap project to integrate. At c-wise we guide our clients to make it a smooth and cost effective experience but it requires your commitment and you have to embrace that. Here’s an infographic for you (article continues below):



The first phase is for planning and sizing of the whole project. It is not the same if we are virtualizing 100 designers or 100 office assistants – completely different software solutions and underlying hardware is required in the two cases. Make sure you expect and get from your provider the following reports on:

• How many users / desktop machines will be virtualized?

• What applications will be used (having in mind the strategy of the company for development – growth, restructuring, merger etc.)

• What are the hardware requirements of the needed applications (there are apps that require physical machines and cannot function in virtual environment)

• What virtualization software we recommend (e.g. Xen, vmware, Hyper-V, KVM etc.)

What is the necessary hardware and what is its cost (here we provide lifecycle information, taking into account the manufacturer specifics)

All this data is used to plan the hardware that will carry the virtual machines and how they will share the available resources within it.

That allows for the second phase to take place and to produce a design proposal. It has to include all processes that will happen during the migration including the so called customization policies wallpapers, printers, login scripts etc. And let measure you we need to put serious thought into user profiles (the collection of settings which defines their desktop environment, including the wallpaper image they love) when everyone was on physical desktops. The ability to manage and troubleshoot user profiles is a critical element to a good VDI implementation. We can configure folder redirection or roaming profiles in a Windows environment to ensure users will have the same settings/access, no matter where they log in.

A month will have past and we shall start the actual building of the host or the environment where the virtual desktops will “live”.

Unless Amazon WorkSpaces is used, then the necessity of this phase drops out as the environment is ready to use. By he way, Amazon have prepared a wonderful video describing the Amazon Workspaces service. You can spend a few minutes on it right here.

During the next pilot phase we migrate 10 out of 300 users for example and let them work on the new virtual machines for a week to monitor the performance and the overall impression/satisfaction. If there is anything that has to be changed before everyone migrates – now is the time before we roll all the other ones! This is when you have the opportunity to see the migration process first hand and to try the virtual desktops with their functions.

Now comes the time for stress testing phase. Couple of migrated virtual desktop machines will be run with scripts simulating real user behavior – opening windows, icon clicking, web-browsing etc. By gradually multiplying results and comparing them with the hardware resources we assure that the hardware can sustain all virtual desktops planned for the final stage

During this phase we make sure that the equipment will sustain the pressure and will not suffer in productivity within its whole lifecycle (it is usually 4 years long).

We proceed with the final migration. This usually takes around 1.6 hours per virtual machine of our experts’ time. The actual data transfer can take longer (even days and weeks) especially if it is done via Internet.

In such cases we recommend the copying of all so called Images (mirror copies of machines that are about to be virtualized) on big and fast hard drive and their physical transportation to the place where their hosting hardware will be located (e.g. Amazon, co-location servers etc.). When the virtualization server is situated in the company we rely entirely on the capacity of the local network so we anticipate we might encounter hurdles here. That is why it is not feasible to guarantee speed and tight deadline of implementation. We support our clients with the calculation of the approximate timing though. If you want us to calculate that for you do not hesitate to contact the c-wise team.

We also have hardware calculators to estimate the cost of the hardware that will be necessary to host the virtual machines – the so called “Virtual Desktop Host”. For example a server with 256 GB RAM and two processors is usually sufficient for about 10 virtual desktop for developers who are going to use heavy programming software. Such hardware costs approximately EUR 25 000. At the same time on the same host we could fit 16 virtual desktops which will be used for standard office work (Word, Excel etc.) We are happy to discuss your needs in detail – just let us know.