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Terminal server licensing across a VPN

Posted on 2013-01-30
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I am trying to figure out the best place to put my terminal server licensing server.  I have my primary location that will get the most use and then my secondary location which should only get use should something happen at the primary location.  The two locations are connected with a site to site VPN.  If I place the licensing server at my primary location and it is down, will the TS at my secondary location work to service my needs?  What about the other way around, if I put it in my secondary location and the VPN is down, will my primary location not work?  Does the terminal server contact the licensing server each and every time and connection is made?

I am working with 2003 terminal server user cals.
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Question by:rivkamak
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by:Rob Williams
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Yes the TS licensing server must be accesible by the TS in order for users to connect.  Therefore I would assume it should be at the site with the TS that has the most users to cause the least disruption.

If you have multiple TS servers at multiple sites, you can have multiple licensing servers.
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by:arnold
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Presumably you have a DC at both location. Robwill, pointed to having a licensing service at each site.
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by:rivkamak
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Yes, I have DC at both locations.  Can I put the same CALs on both licensing servers?  I don't want to have to purchase additional CALs for the second location.
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arnold earned 500 total points
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You have to check with MS dealing with Licensing dealing with backup license servers.
Whether you can have one as a backup for the other.
http://www.virtualizationadmin.com/articles-tutorials/terminal-services/licensing/terminal-services-license-server-high-availability-recovery-part1.html

You may have to have a minimal set on the remote site given it is a backup.
Depending on your licensing model. you might to split the ones you buy/bought. Example of split:bought 20 cals with 15 installed in the main while 5 installed in the secondary.
If the main site is totally down. Can everything you need be accomplished via the backup site?
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by:rivkamak
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In your scenario, if I only have 5 cals at the second site, if I'm using per user cals, does that mean that only 5 users will be able to login simultaneously, if the primary site is not available?
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by:Rob Williams
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Nice article/link arnold.  Very interesting.

>>"Can I put the same CALs on both licensing servers?"
Not unless there is a way to do so that I am not aware of.

Not to suggest a method for thwarting licensing, and it is also stated in the link provided by arnold.......
You mentioned you have per user CAL's.  As I stated before user CAL's are not tracked, it is strictly an honor system.  Thus I would think you could have a License server at each location in Per User made and have the TS CAL’s safely documented, but you must have enough to cover all users.  I would verify that with a Microsoft Licensing specialist.
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by:arnold
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The licenses are allocated per connection to a user so to answer your question, and is not dealing with simultaneous setup, only five users will have allocated licenses a sixth user may get an error that a license can not be allocated.
How many users/connections do you need to support?
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by:rivkamak
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The second location is a branch office but will also be functioning as a disaster recovery location, should the primary location be down.  So potentially, we would need to support as many Terminal users as the first, but only in a scenario that the first location is down.
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by:Rob Williams
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The primary question would be, can you confirm you have User CAL's, rather than Device CAL's
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by:arnold
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Since win2k3 TS licenses can not be used in a newer win2k8 or win2k12, you would need to purchase new licenses or a single connector at which point the existing licenses can be transferred to the branch with the older OS TS server.
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by:rivkamak
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I can confirm that I have User Cals.
Also, all the Cals as well as the OS of both TS servers in both locations are win2k3.
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by:arnold
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Certain versions of windows include a device cal for terminal services. I.e. XP pro, etc.

If the branch TS is nly to be used in the event of a disaster, you might want to check with MS on what the rules for a hot standby are for TS.
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by:Rob Williams
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I belive the integrated TS device CAL ended with Windows 2000.  XP as I understood it was only covered if it was an upgrade from 2000 using software assurance.
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by:rivkamak
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I'm thinking of possibly doing something else.  Being that I will only need this TS in case of an emergency, as long as I don't install the TS services now, I can do it then "if" an emergency happens and I would get my complimentary 120 days.  At that point I would need a plan for the next emergency after the 120 days.  But for now, this may just be the simplest contigency DR plan.
What do you think?
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by:arnold
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Ref link I provided on how to transition from one licensing server to another dealing with purchased CALs..
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