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Remote Desktop Services -licencing help.

Posted on 2012-03-25
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Last Modified: 2012-04-22
Hi,

On a Windows Server 2008 R2 server we need to deploy Remote Desktop Services (Formally Terminal services). We are a bit new to it but need to deploy quickly and we are confused by licencing.

1) Is it right that if we buy 5 user licences, we have to specify which users those licences are for? Cannot we just have it that 5 simultaneous users can use it?

2) If the point 1 above is correct, is it easy to change which users can use the licences. So if we buy 5 licences, we can assign them to 5 particular users, but it is very easy to change which users are using them quickly at any time?

3) We want to have Office 2010 on the RDS sessions we buy.  Am I right in thinking we cannot just by the boxed editions of Office 2010, we have to buy specific Terminal services one? The issue with this is that the prices I was quoted for a licence for “standard” office 2010 licence seem to be more than what we can buy the boxed retain edition which has a lot more flexibility. For example we were quoted £300 for part 021-09707 which I believe is the open licence edition of Office 2010. But do we have to buy this? If we just buy boxed retail editions instead can we use these with the RDS licences?  Actually I researched this question I came across:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg593610.aspx
which seems to suggest I can do a manual installation of a boxed edition?

Any input appreciated to confirm my thinking.
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Question by:afflik1923
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by:Dhec
ID: 37763833
first, I believe you have to ask Microsoft directly for that, they could assist you with the licensing issues.

second, are the users going to use RDP via LAN or Remotely? have you considered VMs instead? that way you don't have to worry about the license since you can use an OEM license for each installation together the Office installation.
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Lee W, MVP earned 250 total points
ID: 37763986
1) Is it right that if we buy 5 user licences, we have to specify which users those licences are for? Cannot we just have it that 5 simultaneous users can use it?

Microsoft does NOT license by concurrent sessions, they license by NAMED user or NAMED device (and when I say named, I don't mean account name, I mean HUMAN BEING.  If you try to share one account with 3 human users and only buy 1 license, you are violating licensing.  You can avoid this, somewhat, by licensing by device.  But device licensing means that your users cannot connect from devices that are not licensed, including cell phones, home computers, "loaner" laptops, etc.  In most cases, you are better off licensing by user.

2) If the point 1 above is correct, is it easy to change which users can use the licences. So if we buy 5 licences, we can assign them to 5 particular users, but it is very easy to change which users are using them quickly at any time?

No, licenses are "claimed" by users for 90 days (and devices in case of device licenses) as I recall.  It's a huge PITA (if it's even possible) to re-assign those licenses in less than 90 days.

3) We want to have Office 2010 on the RDS sessions we buy.  Am I right in thinking we cannot just by the boxed editions of Office 2010, we have to buy specific Terminal services one? The issue with this is that the prices I was quoted for a licence for “standard” office 2010 licence seem to be more than what we can buy the boxed retain edition which has a lot more flexibility. For example we were quoted £300 for part 021-09707 which I believe is the open licence edition of Office 2010. But do we have to buy this? If we just buy boxed retail editions instead can we use these with the RDS licences?  Actually I researched this question I came across:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg593610.aspx
which seems to suggest I can do a manual installation of a boxed edition?


ONLY the volume license editions are licensed to run on a terminal server/remote desktop server.  Even if there are methods of installing non-VL versions, you would be violating licensing.  Further, you need one copy PER USER.

I'm still trying to refine this analogy, but think about it... while the software may be essentially the same, the license is different.  Think about the entire package like a physical object.  Like a car.  You can have two Ford Focus vehicles, one has a 5 speed transmission and the other has a 6 speed transmission.  You may find the 5 speed is cheaper and opt for that, but then you simply cannot use the 6th gear.  If you opt for the cheaper version of office, you cannot use the RDS installation right - it's not there.

That said:
DISCLAIMER: Licensing advice offered here is a "best effort" and based on the understanding of the respondents. Licenses can change and we may not be aware of these changes or may misunderstand them. Further, licenses can differ by country and/or region and what we understand to be true in our region could be false in your region. "they told me on Experts-Exchange" will not be a valid defense in a software audit.  All licensing questions should be confirmed with the appropriate licensing authority (the maker of the software/issuer of the license).
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by:Aaron Tomosky
ID: 37764326
TS licensing is rediculous. It's cheaper to buy 5 computers with office on them and rdp into them. Stick them on a shelf somewhere.
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 37764731
For 5, yes, costs are CLOSE if you just get 5 PCs over a Terminal Server for 5 users, depending on the existing infrastructure.  Start adding more than 5 and the costs quickly skyrocket.  It's easy to add more users to an RDS solution - buy another CAL and VL for office.  MAYBE add some RAM and/or a CPU.  IT's a far more labor intensive task to do that with a PC solution.
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by:Aaron Tomosky
ID: 37766185
Yes space, a little labor, but I'm just illustrating that a $400 dell can give a remote user office. And at some point you will need another server to support more users. Microsoft needs to wake up and bring licensing for TS into reality.
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by:Cláudio Rodrigues
Cláudio Rodrigues earned 250 total points
ID: 37766500
Some comments to be added to the thread...
1. The decision between Per User and Per Device is simply a financial one. Let's say you have 10 users but these 10 may access the RDS Session Host from their office PCs, from a thinclient somewhere, from their home PC, from their iPads and from their Android phone. As you can see one single user is using the solution from 5 devices. If you then license per device you would need 50 licenses compared to only 10 if you go per user. So in this case per User makes way more sense financially.
Now if you have a factory where you have three daily shifts where these workers access the RDS SH from the same 10 devices (so 30 workers in total, sharing 10 devices on different shifts) it makes way more sense to license per device (10 vs 30) than per user as it will be cheaper.
One thing to be aware of, Per DEVICE is tracked AND enforced. Per USER is NOT enforced. That means if you buy 10 per user licenses and 50 people use the RDS SH, they will NEVER be denied a connection. It will be up to you to make sure you are compliant. Per device is enforced what means once you run out of licenses, connections will BE denied.
As pointed out by others, RDS is NOT licensed on a per concurrent user basis. This means if you have a company where at any given time there are only 50 users on the RDS box out of a 3000 user population you MUST buy 3000 licenses (if going per user) to be legal. But again, this is NOT enforced.
Also keep this in mind: for everything connecting (device or user) you MUST have a regular Windows Server Client Access License (Windows CAL) AND a Remote Desktop Services Client Access License (RDS CAL). It is NOT the RDS CAL only that is needed. Keep that in mind.
Keep in mind RDS SH requires a licensing server to be present and activated within 120 days and after that, RDS CALs can be issued on a temporary basis, good for 90 days. That means you can technically run without any license for 210 days. That gives you enough time to determine what makes more sense for you (per user/per device) and to make sure RDS SH is the way to go for your organization.

2. Office has to be licensed using the proper license in order to run on RDS SH and to be properly licensed. The link you posted has nothing to do with RDS SH but simply with machines with Remote Desktop enabled what are two completely different things.

@Dhec: if you use VMs you MUST pay Microsoft VDA licenses unless you are under SA what most small/medium companies usually are not. In that case, with no SA, VDA costs you $100 per device PER YEAR. So you can right there see how much more expensive VMs can be if you are not under SA. In comparison, a perpetual RDS CAL that INCLUDES licenses for App-V (when used on RDS SH) retails for $120 and it is a ONE TIME payment. So RDS SH is actually WAY cheaper than going VDI. And if we start talking about storage/IOPS requirements for VDI and the user density you get with VDI vs RDS SH, RDS SH blows VDI out of the water. Period. Much more scalable, proven and cheaper at this point. Not saying there is no place for VDI, there is. But VDI is no silver bullet at all and has several drawbacks associated to it as I pointed out above.

Finally RDS is way simple to deploy and manage than doing individual PCs. And if you know what you are doing and do it properly, performs flawlessly and in the long run is indeed way cheaper than doing single PCs. Not to mention power savings and so on.

Cheers.

Cláudio Rodrigues
Microsoft MVP - RDS
Citrix CTP
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