Where the return on investments for server virtualization is tied to the number of physical servers replaced, the benefits of thin computing are related to the workstation count. As such, the advantages of desktop virtualization scale more linearly, and are applicable to all – even the smallest SMBs.
I am evaluating VMware View for a SMB client, and it looks like an ideal choice for their situation:
- A small business with 75 employees, total.
- 60 of those are agents in a call center.
- The agents have access to a very limited set of applications: Internet Explorer, Outlook and Excel, and a customer account management tool developed in-house.
- Agent desktops are very tightly controlled, with very limited permissions. They don’t even have permissions sufficient to install Windows Updates.
- All of the agent PCs are 5 – 7 year old Dell PCs, well out of warranty,and due for replacement.
- The agents swap desks and rearrange fairly frequently, but their PCs are interchangeable.
- They already use roaming profiles and mounted My Documents and Desktops for the agents.
Given that the desktops are all due for replacement, and how tightly the desktop environment is controlled, virtual desktops are the ideal replacement for 60 individual desktops.
With a single virtual desktop template for the agents, when the company needs to update their customer management application, roll out patches, or make some other change to the desktops, they simply apply it to the View template, update the snapshot, and then have the agents restart their sessions as needed.
All of the aging desktops can be replaced with cheaper thin clients, which will greatly reduce noise and heat in their call center. Thin clients may not be much cheaper than new base-model desktops, but they will last longer with a lower failure rate.
The biggest hurdle will be redirecting the trickle expense of desktop replacement into the one-time purchases of a server powerful enough to run View, and the appropriate VMware licenses.