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Cloud PCs: Comparing the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for Workspot & AVD

By Matthew Davidson, Tarun Pandit and Michael Keen

I remember many years ago, at the age of nineteen years old, I was buying my first brand new car. I have always loved “muscle” cars since I was eight years old, and my heart longed for a Dodge Charger. It was the spring of 1999. I had graduated from college the previous Spring, started my career by landing my first job in the tech sector, and was ready to check the box on my bucket list of owning my dream car. I couldn’t wait to show it off to all my friends and family!

I will never forget showing it to my Dad for the first time and how excited he was for me. It also didn’t take long for the “Dad” in him to kick in and start asking me questions like, “how much is your payment?”, “what interest rate did you get?”, and “how much is the insurance?” You know, all the typical “Dad” questions. At nineteen years old, my Dad taught me the concept of total cost of ownership (TCO). The car dealership sold me my beloved Charger for X dollars/month at a payment that I could afford. But, as my Dad would point out to me, that affordable monthly payment did not include things like insurance, taxes, gas, and maintenance (brakes, tires, oil changes, etc.). All the things that come along with owning a vehicle. Thankfully, that wasn’t a lesson that I had to learn the hard way and I was able to still comfortably afford my dream car.

Just like buying a car or a house, when it comes to cloud-based desktop virtualization, you have to take into account the total cost of ownership. It’s way more than just the monthly machine cost. Spinning up a virtual desktop in AVD for $33/month gives you a virtual machine with CPU, RAM, hard drive, and a NIC. The virtual machine is not connected to your internal network, does not have your corporate image and apps installed, and is not optimized to deliver that perfect working solution to your end users. What you get is the equivalent of ordering a physical PC from a reseller or picking one up at a big box store and powering it on.

It’s important to compare Cloud PC TCO. To understand the total cost of ownership, there are five main factors that must be considered:

  1. Design and implementation of your cloud-based virtual desktop environment. These virtual resources will have to be configured, provisioned, and integrated into the technology environment so they seamlessly work together to provide a functional virtual desktop. To put this into perspective, industry estimates show that it takes approximately 400 hours ($100K), from design to rollout, to fully implement a production-ready, end- user optimized virtual desktop. It takes time and personnel resources to prepare a desktop that is connected to your internal corporate network, secured, validated, tested, documented, and production-ready for your end users. Whether you hire an MSP or use your in-house technology team, there is a real cost that you must factor in to your TCO.
  2. Infrastructure in the cloud tenant is required to support your virtual desktops such as compute, storage, and networking resources.
  3. SLA monitoring tools are essential to every technology environment. Power management and SLA monitoring are of utmost importance to control costs and ensure a good user experience.
  4. Management of multiple cloud desktops, supported by various virtual resources, across multiple cloud regions and integrated monitoring tools must be maintained. This ensures the production-ready virtual machine continues to deliver the performance needed for users to be optimally productive. It is estimated that to properly manage the complete virtual desktop environment of 1000 users, from helpdesk to infrastructure needs, requires the expertise of three technology teammates. A total estimated cost of approximately $420K/year including salary and benefits.
  5. Enterprise add-ons such as SIEM integration are paramount in helping organizations recognize potential security threats and vulnerabilities before they have a chance to disrupt business operations. It provides real-time monitoring and analysis of events as well as tracking and logging of security data for compliance or auditing purposes.

Careful evaluation will reveal the true TCO of virtual desktop solutions.


When you compare Cloud PC TCO you can quickly see and understand the difference between a $33/month (AVD) basic cloud pc that is compute, storage, and networking, compared to an $89/month (AVD) or $75/month (Workspot) Cloud PC that is fully integrated and optimized for your specific use case. Always look strategically at the solution you are seeking to implement and consider the resources required to operate the solution as a whole. Then, and only then, will you understand your total cost of ownership.

Ready to see how the Workspot Cloud PC platform works? It’s time to go SaaS! Schedule a demo now.