I was recently at the Citrix conference in San Francisco’s Moscone center (May 2012). One of the sessions I attended broke out the different hosted virtual desktops (HVDs). Below is our view on Hosted Windows 7 desktops, one of the flavors of HVD.
What is a Hosted Windows 7 Desktop?
Before we discuss this, I want to clarify my definition of a Hosted Windows 7 desktop. This is a virtual desktop, running true Windows 7 – Pro, Enterprise, etc. In order to run true Windows 7 hosted desktops, your company needs to be licensed correctly with Microsoft. This means your end point devices should have Windows and then you can leverage Software Assurance (Microsoft maintenance) or another Microsoft SKU to be compliant. I will leave the licensing discussion separate.
How is Hosted Windows 7 different from ‘Windows 7 Experience’?
The difference between the Windows 7 experience and Windows 7 hosted desktops is the actual operating system. Most hosted virtual desktops advertise the ‘experience’ because it is running an operating system of Microsoft Windows Server 2008, modified to look like Microsoft Windows 7.
The key difference is really around application compatibility. Typically, with a Windows 7 experience, you are looking at a 64-bit operating system. Not every application will run smoothly in this scenario. Being aware of this, and testing for compatibility on critical applications, helps you avoid deploying a hosted Windows 7 desktop that doesn’t work in your organization.
The Cost of Hosted Windows 7
In a hosted environment, where your company is using another provider to stream hosted Windows 7, Microsoft is enforcing specific parameters. The multi-tenant architecture of running the same infrastructure for multiple customers is not allowed in hosted Windows 7. Therefore, the cost goes up from an infrastructure perspective. Given the above licensing requirement from Microsoft, you may also incur a slight increase in software to remain compliant.
On the other hand, if your business requires true Windows 7, and you already have made investments in Software Assurance, a hosted Windows 7 may very well be the right choice for your business.
A Hosted Windows 7 is still less than doing it yourself
IT Analyst firms typically peg the total cost of ownership for running your own PC fleet at $250-400 per MONTH, PER user.
InformationWeek recently also suggested the low-end around $120 if you looked at pure hard-costs and took out some of the productivity loss reflected in the $400 figure.
Thus, while hosted Windows 7 is not the least expensive of hosted virtual desktop flavors, it certainly will save you money. With dinCloud, you could see savings of 30-50%.
Article by Ali D., Chief Marketing Officer, dinCloud