How to determine RDP license useage in Server 2008

Posted on 2013-06-26
Last Modified: 2013-07-02
I have a standalone terminal server machine. - Not on a Domain. - I have added 50 rdp user cals to this machine and it reflects that in the remote desktop licensing manager. The problem is I can't tell how these are being utilized and if I'm getting close to needing more. There is an option to run a report on the license, but the link is greyed out (disabled).  how can I monitor the useage of the installed licensing.
Question by:BradleyCleveland
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Expert Comment

ID: 39280204
You can get access to the licensing details by going to Start -> Administrative Tools -> Remote Desktop Services -> Remote Desktop Licensing Manager. Click on the name of your server in the left panel and you will see the types and numbers of your licences listed. Clicking on each type in the left panel will give you more detail on how each type is allocated.

Alternatively, in the Server Manager, go to Roles -> Remote Desktop Services -> RD Session Host Configuration and then click on Licensing Diagnosis.

Once that has loaded, if you scroll to the bottom and find the Summary area, if you click on the name of the license server in the list, the details of your installed licenses will be shown underneath, including how many of each type of licence you have available.

Both the RD Session Host Configuration and Licensing roles must be installed.

Author Comment

ID: 39280624
duttcom: Using the first section of your comment doesn't work. That is what I was doing already where the Per User Cal Report option was disabled.

Using your second option the system shows 50 license installed and 50 available.  Does the server not track the licensing until after the initial 180 day grace period or something? I know this server has been accessed through more than a dozen different user accounts.
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 39283168
Okay, looking at the help file for the Remote Desktop Licensing Manager under "Track the issuance of Remote Desktop Services Per User Client Access Licenses" it states -

RDS Per User CAL tracking and reporting is supported only in domain-joined scenarios; that is, the Remote Desktop Session Host (RD Session Host) server and the license server must be members of a domain.

RDS Per User CAL tracking and reporting is not supported in workgroup mode.

Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) is used for RDS Per User CAL tracking. The information about the RDS Per User CAL that has been issued to a user is stored as part of the user account in AD DS.

So it appears that your being unable to run the report is not an error as such because your server is not on a domain.

My server also shows all of my installed user CALS as being available. As long as you are not receiving the grace period warning in the Licensing Diagnosis Information panel and you have available licenses then you are okay.

Author Comment

ID: 39288079
so does this mean that the terminal server machine is not actually tracking any license usage?  The only reason to really purchase additional licensing is in case of a Microsoft audit?
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Accepted Solution

duttcom earned 500 total points
ID: 39288703
In a nutshell, yes. If your licenses are installed correctly and your licensing server has been activated, then according to Microsoft -

To install and issue Terminal Services client access licenses (TS CALs), a Terminal Services license server must first be activated. When the license server is activated, Microsoft provides the license server with a limited-use digital certificate that validates server ownership and identity. Microsoft uses the X.509 industry standard certificate for this purpose. Using this certificate, a license server can make subsequent transactions with Microsoft.

My understanding is that the server will allow people to connect while it is activated and it has available licenses but because you aren't on a domain, the licenses cannot be linked to AD users so no tracking or reporting can be done. In case of an audit, if you can show that you have made a reasonable attempts to obtain the correct number of licenses for your TS users, then Microsoft are not going to pursue you over a couple of CALs.

Microsoft licensing is somewhat of a dark art. Generally, if you make an effort to be compliant and your setup works, then you should be fine.

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