VMware: Virtual Desktops Are Expensive, But We're Working To Change That


It's no secret that virtual desktop infrastructure is expensive, but VMware says it is working on ways to cut costs and make the technology more accessible to the masses.

VMware has plenty of motivation to do so: VDI is part of its end-user computing business, which it has identified as one of three key growth areas in the future; software-defined data center and its vCloud Hybrid Service are the others.

End-user computing hasn't been anywhere near as successful for VMware as its core server virtualization business. And, after seeing strong end-user computing license bookings in its previous two quarters, VMware saw a "low single-digit" percentage drop this quarter due to a lack of large VDI deals in the Americas, COO Carl Eschenbach said on the vendor's third-quarter earnings call.

[Related: VMware Acquires DaaS Provider Desktone, Bulks Up End-User Computing Portfolio]

It's safe to say that the lack of big VDI deals had something to do with the fact that VDI is expensive, not to mention difficult to deploy. Everyone is interested in VDI as a way to deal with mobility and bring-your-own-device challenges, but when they get a look at the price tag, it's a different story.

According to Eschenbach, VMware has a plan for tackling the cost issues with VDI.

"We are all working hard as an industry to reduce the cost of VDI, because historically it's been a little bit capital intensive and hard to justify desktop and VDI virtualization," Eschenbach said on the call, according to Seeking Alpha's transcript of the event.

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger also weighed in, noting that "many customers find that they are upside down today due to different aspects of the cost model" of VDI. In other words, these customers had unrealistic expectations for the kind of return on investment they were going to get from VDI.

VMware is tackling the on-premise VDI cost problem with vSAN, a technology that pools together storage capacity from flash and solid state drives and lets it function as a virtual storage area network.

VMware is also planning to deliver Desktone DaaS from its vCloud Hybrid Service public cloud, Gelsinger said. Horizon View will also play some sort of role here, though VMware isn't yet saying what that will be.

Desktone, which touts its DaaS architecture as multitenant and fully compliant with Microsoft's licensing rules for virtual desktop, could be a way for VMware customers to get the virtual desktops they need without going through all the expense and hassle of deploying it.

"We expect that the Desktone type service from a cloud operation will have very compelling TCO model for customers as well," Gelsinger said on the call.

PUBLISHED OCT. 25, 2013