A Practical Guide to VDI Change Management
Part 2: Why VDI is very sensitive to change
The second in an 8-part series, this practical guide to VDI Change Management highlights the importance of effective Change Management. With all the complexities of VDI environments, any failure can severely impact your business.
VDI chance of failure is higher due to infrastructure complexity
Centralized desktop and application environments such as Virtual Desktop Infrastructures (VMware Horizon View and Citrix XenDesktop), but also Server Based Computing (Citrix XenApp and Microsoft RDSH), typically use a complex and elaborate combination of many hardware and software parts, including CPUs and GPUs, storage, memory, hypervisors, publication layers, clients and more.
The more complex infrastructures become, the bigger the chance for something to fail. It is not only the number of different parts that increase the chances of failure, but also the exponential number of interdependencies between these parts that can fail. VDI is basically a big stack of interrelated components with a very high utilization. VDI environments therefore have a high risk of failure.
Conclusion: The more complex environments are, the more critical change management becomes.
Impact of VDI failure is high due to centralization
The most mentioned advantages of a centralized Windows user environment such as VDI, are flexibility and security. Also, the more efficient management of desktop images and servers is often mentioned. But the more consolidated infrastructures become, the bigger the business impact if something fails.
VDI introduces a single point of failure for all end-users of an organization as a group. In organizations with 10,000s of end-users, the size of the impact is obvious. Also in SME companies, with 100s of users, the impact is relatively the same if all users are unable to work efficiently, or not able to work at all.
Conclusion: The centralization of VDI dramatically increases the business impact of failure.
Different ways to quantify the impact of VDI failure
With IT transforming into a core competency for every modern organization, IT downtime causes an immediate and sizeable negative impact on basically every aspect of the business. In our white paper “The real costs of VDI downtime and how to mitigate” we look at what industry analysts say on this.
There are many estimates of what downtime costs a company, and they vary based on the size of the company and what systems are down. Here are some of the different estimates we found:
- Ponemon Institute Research did a study of multiple datacenters and estimated the average cost of datacenter downtime at approximately $7,900 per minute, and the average incident length at 86 minutes (Ponemon.org, Cost of Data Center Outages 2013).
- CIO Insight found that when systems are down, employees are only able to work at 63% efficiency (cioinsight.com, IT Downtime Carries a High Price tag).
- Gartner makes a very conservative estimate at the hourly cost of downtime at $42,000 (networkworld.com, How to Quantify Downtime).
- Enterprise Management Associates puts the cost of application downtime at $45,000 per hour, averaged across low mid-tier to large enterprises (zdnet.com, Real Cost of Application Outages).
Based on these reports, we can see that there’s little consensus on what downtime costs, but we can use this to come up with some conservative estimates. The Ponemon numbers are the most referenced and have the most backing data, so we’ll work with these, and we’ll use the CIO Insight research to assume users can still work at 63% efficiency while systems are down (good employees will find ways to do their job), so this conservative result bakes in some user ingenuity into the equation.
Conclusion: a VDI outage may cost a large company, on average, $5,000 per minute of downtime.
In the same white paper, we also explored, in-depth, the three key dimensions of the business that downtime affects and should be considered: productivity, lost opportunity, and reputation. Calculating these for your own organization will help to better materialize the impact of downtime.
Now just imagine this.
That all your desktops and applications are not available, or just too slow to be used, for 1 hour.
- Then imagine the total number of users in your organization that will be affected
- Calculate the total out-of-pocket cost of lost hours (in dollars/euros)
- Add any other out-of-pocket costs (in dollars/euros)
- Then add the lost-opportunity costs (in dollars/euros)
- Now you have a feel for the tangible damage such an occurrence brings to your organization
- Then add the angry customers, damaged company image, and you own position (priceless).
If you have ever experienced this, we need to say no more. If you haven’t we hope you get the picture.
It has become clear that the chances of IT failure are relatively high in an VDI environment, due to the complexity of the infrastructure stack. It has also become clear that the impact on the business can be high, considering lost productivity, lost opportunity, and damaged reputation. With change being the most important cause of potential problems, change management becomes key.
Conclusion: The more consolidated environments are, the more critical change management becomes.
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About the company Login VSI
The company Login VSI provides end-user performance insights for virtualized desktop and server-based computing environments. Enterprise IT departments use flagship product Login VSI (for load testing) and Login PI (for continuity testing) in all phases of their virtual desktop deployment—from planning to deployment to change management—to build and safeguard a good performance, a high availability, and (as a result) a good and consistent end-user experience. For more information about Login VSI or for a free test license contact us.