IBM researchers unveiled a new technology that can reduce virtual desktop storage costs by up to 80 percent:
Here's the relevant portion from the announcement about the Virtual Storage Optimizer:
The new phase of "cloud computing" gives end-users access to the critical information they need remotely, from any device, anywhere. IBM helps organizations benefit from this new model with its Virtual Infrastructure Access (VIA) services that give end users with Internet-enabled PCs and other devices the ability to access applications and data through a centrally managed computing environment. Until now, virtual desktop deployments have been hampered by the cost and complexity of managing storage, one of the most expensive hardware components of any virtual desktop environment.
Available beginning today, the new IBM Virtual Storage Optimizer solution for VIA directly addresses this challenge, helping businesses further optimize their virtual desktop environments, while saving time and money on storage requirements. Based on an algorithm developed by IBM Research, VSO dramatically reduces the large physical storage requirements associated with storing virtual images. The solution also allows organizations to streamline operations by creating new desktop images in mere seconds or minutes, a process which previously could take up to 30 minutes - a 75% reduction in the time required to create and deploy new virtual machines. This represents a tremendous operational savings for clients, and allows them to realize more immediate returns on their investments."