Everyone who has looked at desktop virtualization or is currently looking at desktop virtualization is immediately drawn to its high cost. However, there are ways to "value engineer" a virtual desktop solution and make it cost effective for everyone. A virtual desktop solution is made up of many layers and each of the layers adds cost - ultimately driving the overall solution cost out of range for most organizations. One of the ways to reduce the cost of the solution is to leverage "tiered virtualization" which minimizes the cost of the hypervisor layer.
The concept of "tiered virtualization" is something that I defined based on Accelera’s motivation to make virtual desktop solutions more cost effective. The theory behind it: virtual desktop workloads are short term workloads by nature and therefore do not require the enterprise class features of a high-end hypervisor.
For example, you don't need VMWare vSphere Enterprise Plus to run a Microsoft Windows 7 virtual desktop. It doesn’t need DRS or HA (or for that matter any of the other features of the Enterprise Plus version) because the workload lifespan is typically no more than an 8 hour work day and then it's recycled.
Why spend the money on an expensive piece of software like vSphere Enterprise Plus to support this workload?
You can get away with free hypervisors like Hyper-V or if you're using Citrix XenDesktop you can use XenServer at no cost. This will reduce the overall cost of supporting a large number of virtual desktops. It's important to note that I'm not suggesting you stop using VMWare for all of your workloads, by all means you should continue using it for the mission critical workloads like Microsoft Exchange, Active Directory and application servers.
Virtual desktop solutions require a significant amount of virtual infrastructure to support a large user base. By reducing the cost within the layers it does become cost effective and the solution will demonstrate ROI. Continue following this topic, I will be adding other tips for “Value Engineering” your virtual desktop solution.