RDS/RDP Licensing Issue

ullman used Ask the Experts™
We have an SBS 2008 Standard (NOT R2) Server and would like to implement RDS/RDP access for remote users.  We also have a 2003 Server (Enterprise Edition) which currently provides file storage for the network and we'd intended to use it to run Terminal Services. We've purchased "Windows Server 2008 RDS license packs", but find these are R2 licenses which aren't compatible with w/ SBS 2008 (Std) server.  Contacted both vendor and Microsoft and find ONLY Windows Server 2008 R2 licenses are available (i.e, No 2003 or 2008 (prior to R2) licenses are available from Microsoft.

The alternatives provided by MS are: a) purchase the SBS Premium Add-On; b) purchase Windows Server 2008 license to run terminal service.

I've looking for viable alternatives to the two suggested above and hopefully ones that avoid additional purchases (i.e, use what we currently ahve in place).....Thanks in Advance
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Two option both require spending money unfortunately. First option upgrade your SBS to the dedicated license packs that you have ( not economical). Purchase the 2008 server license use that as your RDP connection server to leverage the SBS server offerings until you grow large enough to be able to bring in the full 2008 server environment. What ever you chose is going to cost money there is no two ways about it. You cannot use the existing packs that you have because they are for different version. One other option if you speak with the Microsoft clearing house you might be able to downgrade your license pack or split it up to provide your 2003 server with the licenses and use that as your rdp server. Just throwing out possibility's for you is all. If it were me I would get rid of the SBS server and start breaking off into perhaps a VM environment.

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Most Valuable Expert 2013
I disagree with TroyHrehirchuk... at least I think I do.

First, you need to understand SBS 2008 CANNOT be a Remote Desktop Server - it's designed to be your DC, Exchange Server, and file server and making it an RDS server as well is horribly unwise.  Microsoft REMOVED that ability in SBS 2003 in part because of that.

You said you have 2003 Enterprise as well.  Is that R2?  2003 NON R2 is no longer supported but 2003 R2 IS supported and provides for up to 4 VMs running off the same hardware.  

(In my opinion, offloading file services - anything really - from SBS is silly because it's required to run Exchange which is by far the biggest resource hog and file services and domain controller services are really NOT resource intensive tasks, especially if you configure the server properly (Gig NIC, fast, dedicated spindles on the data drives - that is, if you even need fast access to the storage and aren't using just Office docs).

What you can do, what I would do:
If supported on the 2003 Enterprise server's hardware, I would install Hyper-V and then install one - MAYBE more - VMs running 2003 Enterprise - one would be your Terminal Server and if you REALLY wanted to keep file services separate, create a second VM for that.

Otherwise, move file services back to the SBS box and make the Enterprise server your Terminal Server ONLY.  Microsoft SHOULD downgrade any RDS licenses you bought to AT LEAST 2003 R2 Terminal Services Licenses.  Call them.  Tell them what you have and if they refuse, ask to speak to a manager because you understand downgrade rights allow N-2 where N is the current version and then two versions prior. (which means, as of today, 2008 R2 (is N), 2008 (is -1) and 2003 R2 (is -2)).


Thanks Leew; A well thought our response and presentation.  I'd already been in discussion w/ Microsoft relative to downgrade rights and the Hyper-V option seems doable.  Again, thanks for your response.

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