As a concept, “Bring Your own Device” already exists for a long time. Especially for mobile devices (smartphones) and now more and more for laptops as well. Why especially now? The COVID-19 outbreak really increased adoption of ‘WFH’ (work from home/homeworking) and this went hand-in-hand with employees (or contractors) using personal devices as they were not equipped by their employers. Having had a first taste of this ‘BYOD’ world, we know from lots of discussions that both IT departments and users are looking forward to keep using this way of working post COVID-19. Each have their own reasons and benefits. For the IT department, the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) certainly is one of the drivers. I was shocked when researching this topic: I couldn’t find any good studies or analyses that took any realistic level of detail into account. In this blog post we’ll outlay a number of BYOD (or ‘BYOL(aptop), really) scenarios and look at the TCO.
About the scenarios
Bring Your own Device can have many interpretations. In this analysis, I’m looking at 3 cases that – I believe – are a pretty good reflection of reality:
- Desktop with local apps (no SBC/VDI) in the office with BYOD for homeworking; if you look at it, this group doesn’t have the ability to work remotely. By adding Awingu in the setup, users can access their desktop remotely (from home for example) in HTML5. Thus, from any device, including their personal one (BYOD). The benefit is that this is a very light and low cost addition to an existing scenario. There are furthermore no RDS license costs that apply.
- Desktop with SBC in the office, with BYOD for homeworking; here users already have a remote desktop access into a central server. In the office they use a full desktop (could also be a Chromebox or thin client). We’re adding Awingu for remote and home access to their same remote desktop at home using a personal device. In this scenario too, the extra cost is very light compared to the benefit. RDS CALs are typically already in place and thus not an extra cost either.
- SBC with full BYOD; here users don’t get any device from their employer. They use their personal device in the office as well as at home (or anywhere else). This could also be applicable for contractors, obviously. There is already SBC in place, which makes the scenario easy to implement.
I’m benchmarking these 3 scenarios with classic managed laptop running everything locally. For remote access this laptop is equipped with a VPN, which is still a very common scenario for WFH.
BYOLaptop with Awingu up to 45% lower TCO
We understand that each context is different. So the absolute numbers can be (will be) different in each case. The trend and insights from the relative numbers are a lot more valuable and comparable. So obviously, use the data as such.
The relative comparison between scenario’s indicated “SBC & Awingu for full BYOD” is the most cost effective scenario with a 45% lower TCO compared to our baseline scenario (fat client laptop with VPN). The saving is present in all cost categories and not just in the hardware category.
The second best TCO is generated by the “fat desktop + Awingu in BYOD for WFH” scenario. It has a 32% lower TCO compared to our baseline. Especially businesses that already have users equipped with desktop and local software will see this as a benefit. There are no switching costs and the time to setup WFH is almost instant. Especially for more occasional WFH, this is a perfect scenario given the investment and switching cost.
The SBC with “Desktop + Awingu in BYOD for WFH” offers a 29% lower TCO compared to baseline. The cost of this scenario is slightly more expensive compared to the fat desktop, mainly because of the Microsoft RDS CAL and the fact that simulate deployment in public cloud (which is therefor not the best option from a pure TCO perspective). The differences are however negligible.
The analysis excludes costs that are considered the same in all 4 scenarios (i.e. software license costs, excl. scenario-specific costs).
Key assumptions behind the model
Just like any model and analysis, the numbers are as good at the underlying hypotheses and assumptions. No secrets here. The base model and model structure come from analyst Gartner (understanding the financial impacts of BYOD, 2014). Where I kept the model, it was completed with new and up-to-date data points from Awingu customers. The numbers were benchmarked as a reality check with Gartner data.*
Let me outline some of the most important once.
- #users: we assume a large SMB business with 1000 users
- Devices: prices were simulated on dell.com in May 2020
- Desktops based on Dell Optiplex, write-off over 6 years and a 20% ‘volume’ procurement discount is assumed. This makes for a yearly cost of €109. On top of that, an annual maintenance cost of 15% is added (another €16)
- Laptops based on Dell XPS New 2015, write-off over 3 years and a 20% ‘volume’ procurement discount is assumed. This makes for a yearly cost of €307. On top, an annual maintenance cost is added of 15% (another €7)
- Cost of Awingu
- Awingu only for home usage (* scenario): a 60% concurrency ratio is assumed (i.e. 6 out of 10 users will work from home at the same time)
- Full BYOD usage at home and in the office (** scenario): a 100% concurrency ratio is assumed
- Awingu annual subscription cost per concurrent user for of 84€ (see our pricing page)
- Awingu IaaS cost (cost to host Awingu) of 0,8€/month per concurrent users. This number is based on Awingu analysis in May 2020, deploying Awingu for 1000 concurrent users in Google Compute Belgium with HA without usage of Reserved instances. Note: when using 3Y reserved instances the same cost goes down to €0,57/cc users/month on GCP and even €0,49 on Azure Western Europe)
- Cost of support specific to Awingu: from our customers we understand there is a peak of 2 tickets per 100 users per month. Tickets are typically simple and straight forward (e.g. MFA reset). We apply this ‘peak’ as default and as such over-estimate this cost.
- Cost of an IT helpdesk employee of €29K/annual (based on payscale.com info in May 2020)
- Cost of Server-based Computing (SBC)
- We assume users get access to a full desktop (remote desktop) which is hosted in a public cloud for a cost of €10,6/user/month. This number is based on Awingu analysis in May 2020, deploying SBC for 1000 users in Google Compute Belgium (no reserved instance). Note, when using 3Y reserved instances the same cost goes down to €9.25/cc users/month on GCP and €11,16 for Azure Western Europe). Note: an additional cost is added to cover for the Microsoft RDS CAL
- Cost of VPN
- We apply pricing from PulseSecure’s calculator (May 2020). The assumptions are 1000 named users, 1500 devices and 50 applications. The cost for PulseSecure is $100615 annually (I assume $ equals € which is pretty close to reality at this very moment). That makes for a cost per year per user of €100,6 for the VPN (incl. SSO, MFA, … which are also part of Awingu).
- PulseSecure’s price calculator also provides a simulation when using alternative VPN vendors. In this case, the annual cost is estimated by PulseSecure to be $263235 (or €263,2 per user per year). By using the PulseSecure price point, we believe we’re on the safe side not to overestimate anything.
- Cost of support specific to VPN: we don’t have any data on this and assume the same cost for support as for Awingu (which is very low and probably optimistic for the VPN scenario).
- Network and bandwidth: we’re making abstraction of extra network costs; this really depends on the VPN setup and type of usage. In some cases however, there can be a very considerable extra cost.
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* the numbers shown are not Gartner data