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Digital Workspaces: Which Consumption Model is Best?

By Harold Bell

Empowering your teams to work better, faster, and more flexibly is one of the keys to success in any organization. Especially in the digital era. Though many organizations have struggled with this over the years, there is an emerging architecture within Nutanix that is helping customers achieve success. How exactly? Delivering digital workspaces that allow your teams to securely work where and when they need to and collaborate more easily, is exactly your answer. Nutanix supports all your application needs across your workflow—from virtual desktops, to asset management, to transcoding and analytics—on a single integrated platform. Virtualizing desktops and applications has never been easier. However, there is one really important thing to consider before diving in.

When a company upgrades their technology, procurement and consumption models are something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Whether you are only starting out, or simply exploring ways to accelerate the development of your enterprise, optimizing your financial model will provide you with a good foundation on which to build. More specifically, your choice is whether to deploy on-premise, deploy in the cloud, or deploy a hybrid model that utilizes both.

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On-premise Deployment

Digital workspaces that are deployed on-premise infrastructure are usually done so via a capital expenditure model. A capital expenditure, or CAPEX, simply refers to the acquisition or maintenance of a physical asset to increase your company’s value or boost its long-term productivity. This can include purchasing an entire manufacturing facility down to a single server rack for your data center. Capital expenditures will vary greatly from one business to the next. Unlike operating expenditures, capital expenditures are made upfront. Financing capital expenditures requires large amounts of money which means the management of your organization may wind up borrowing from lending institutions. 

In the case of digital workspaces, companies who deploy on-premise solutions estimate the number of virtual machines and applications that they will run, which in turn, translates to the number of physical servers they need. This projection is made based on the types of services they provide and the number of employees they have. In an educational setting, this likewise would be determined based on the number of teachers, faculty, and students, and the types of applications being used in the classroom. The benefit of this is that with the right use cases and knowledgeable IT staff, you can experience notable cost savings when compared to supplying high performance hardware for everyone. 

Cloud-hosted Deployment

On the flip side, cloud-hosted deployments are done so via an operating expenditure. Operating expenditures, or OPEX, is just one of the more prominent kinds of expenses a company can accrue over time. Operational expenditures aren't depreciated and have to be recorded as expenses for the month, quarter, or year in which they're incurred. Essentially is what’s referred to as “pay-by-the-drink.” You only pay for the capacity that you consume. As time passes, this model can evolve with your business, ensuring that you get the absolute most out of your finances, while continuing to supply an up-to-date service in compliance with the growing demands of your organization.

Going back to the digital workspace scenario, what an OPEX model offers is the flexibility to scale and contract based on the needs of your business. For the majority of organizations in today’s business environment, it’s almost impossible to forecast since your needs and employee base fluctuates. By leveraging vendor capacity, you also don’t need to worry about managing updates on your own or buying the latest hardware. Yes, there is the Blockbuster Video equivalent to renting equipment to deploy on-premise or co-locating your data center, but who wants to deal with finding a place to put the hardware for a temporary period of time?

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Hybrid Deployment

Demand for data center services has increased exponentially in the last decade. Thus, process re-engineering must take place to ensure spend is optimized. A number of tiered pricing models which are taking root also make it challenging to accurately model future license expenses. In reality, comparing the monthly price tag of a server’s capabilities against the purchase price of physical hardware is simple-minded at best, as it ignores a collection of both direct and indirect expenses. It is dependent on the sophistication of the project. Rent costs can fluctuate significantly from one area to another, etc., etc. With that said, you should download our Definitive Guide to DaaS to learn about the complete range of benefits you can receive by consuming your desktop virtualization needs either on-premises, in the cloud, or a hybrid configuration.

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