MS RDP environment

Hello,

How does the Windows RDP environment wrk? Let's say i want to purchase 3 Windows 2008 R2 servers will i be able to have RDP conections at least three at a time to each server? ALso does microsoft require we purchase CALs for each server used or just for the DC ? Do we need RDP Cals on top of the User CALS?


JD
JoseD7Asked:
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
You only need RDP (RDS really, formerly known as Terminal Services) connections if you want to use Remote Desktop Services for your end users.  All Windows servers can have up to 2 connections for administration purposes only.

CALs are required for all NAMED users and/or Devices that will access the servers.  Put another way, the licenses are NOT concurrent (RDS actually enforces this).  Put yet another way, if you have 20 users but no more than 10 will ever access the server at once, you still need 20 CALs.  Further, the "named" part does not refer to user accounts - it refers to ACTUAL PEOPLE.  Licensing by user is the most common as users typically access systems while at the office AND while at home or on the road.  Device CALs COULD be used instead and make sense in specific circumstances.  For example, a factory floor where you have perhaps 20 people working but only 2 computers that access the server for any reason.  If those 20 people NEVER need the server for anything EXCEPT what those two factory floor computers do, then you can buy 2 device CALs for those factory floor computers instead of 20 user CALs.

Windows CALs cover access to ALL servers on the network that are the same version or lower.  For example, if you had a 2003 server today with 20 CALs and wanted to add 2 more 2003 servers, you could, no more CALs needed.  If you wanted to add a 2008 server, THEN you need 20 NEW CALs for Server 2008. One other note - "R2" editions require you buy a new operating system license (or have software assurance, but DO NOT require new CALs.  Meaning if you had a 2008 server with 20 CALs, you DO NOT need to buy 20 new CALs for a 2008 R2 server, even though the 2008 R2 server is NEWER.

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JoseD7Author Commented:
ok lets see if i understood ...So our intention is to have about 3 or 4 users accessing a specific server at a time thorugh RDP . We have 20 employees and plan on getting 3 server Windows 2008 licensed and 20 User cals for the users. Will this allow us to access the servers through RDP 3 or 4 people at a time or are we also in need of the RDP licenses ( an extra 20) or the previous  20 user cals will cover the RDP conncetions?

JD
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Standard User CALs do NOT cover RDP access.  You need RDP CALs for that.  If you have 20 employees (and are a typical business - meaning I'm not going to do all the "unless you have devices.." stuff), then you need 20 User CALs.

If ALL 20 of those users are expected - at one time or another - to access the Remote desktop server, then you need an ADDITIONAL 20 RDS CALs (Think of RDS CALs as adding rights to the base CALs).  EVEN if you never expect to have more than 4 users accessing via RDP at once.

Another important note - you must also get appropriate licenses for your software running on the RDS server - meaning if you expect your users to access Office applications from the RDS server, you need a copy of office for each RDS CAL you use - further, you can ONLY install Volume License editions of Office on an RDS server.
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JoseD7Author Commented:
ok great... one last thing.... Do these RDS Cals cover all the servers on the network similar to the windows cals?
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
They should, but while I'm 99% certain of everything I've said so far (licensing can change and your geographic region may have laws that make some of the limitations illegal and they might therefore not apply), I'm only 90% certain on this because for the most part, as far as I can remember, I've never had two terminal servers in use at any time... but because RDS/TS uses a license server and the RDS servers must communicate with the license server to validate licenses, it stands to reason that your users need just one RDS CAL per user to access any RDS server in the domain (possibly even the company's network in a multi-domain environment).

BTW, I normally throw in a typical disclaimer when it comes to licensing questions - but I don't have the text handy to copy and paste, so I'll do my best to state it from memory:

Licensing advice here is provided on a "best efforts" basis.  The advice we offer may turn out to not be applicable to you due to regional differences in laws, misunderstandings on our part, and/or changes to licensing we may not be aware of.  "They told me on Experts-Exchange" will not be a valid defnese in an audit.  You should always contact the license granting authority (that doesn't mean the reseller, but in this case, Microsoft) and verify any information provided here.
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Windows Server 2008

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