The idea that server and desktop virtualization setups provide significant cost savings for IT departments is generally accepted, but few decision-makers do enough to ensure a real ROI from such projects, according to Computer World. There are four basic systems that should be used to determine this value, experts told the tech publication, each with its own strengths and weaknesses.

Activity-based costing, Computer World said, is largely a consumption-based strategy that can work well for companies that use an external service provider for their virtualized infrastructure, while tiered pricing might be a better choice for those that handle such matters and support in-house.

Comparing service costs to infrastructure costs is another viable option, according to the tech news source, as is direct or indirect weighting of expenses by individual business units' headcount or share of budget.

Regardless of the allure of virtualized infrastructure and cloud computing to IT departments, it's important to be able to present a compelling business case to those that control a company's purse strings, experts say.

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