Licensing for RDS, VDI, and Hyper-v VM

Posted on 2014-03-27
Last Modified: 2014-11-12
I have read a few licensing for RDS, VDI, Hyper-v online, When I get into VDI part which I like to implement than RDS, I'm getting lost.

First of all, RDS licensing is similar to old Terminal service licensing, I assume. You need RDS CAL and Windows CAL. That's it, right?

For VMs running on Hyper-V, for example, I have 2 Windows XP installed as VMs in Hyper-V  of Windows Server 2012. Then I need Windows CAL and 2 Windows XP licenses. Do I need RDS CAL?

For VDI, this is the part I'm getting mixed up.
Let's say I have 5 VDI Desktops installed with Office 2010 Pro, 2 XP Pros and 3 Win7 ENTs. There are 10 users who share these 5 Virtual Desktops from their PCs in the office (Mix of Windows 7 ENT and Windows 8 Pro).

What License do I need for this case?

5 installed OS licenses (XP/7)
5 Office 2010 Pro licenses
10 VDA licenses? (5 computers accessing VDI do not have SA)
Question by:crcsupport
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LVL 37

Accepted Solution

Mahesh earned 500 total points
ID: 39960172
In case of XP you don't required RDS CALS as connecting to windows XP through RDP is just like RDP for management

If you are installing server OS as guest on hyper-v servers then you have to have server standard CALs and RDS cals as well, the benefit here once you get 2012 \ 2012 R2 CALs, you don't have to purchase down grade server CALs, you can access those servers without extra licensing

You do require win XP \ 7 \ 8 client OS licenses
Also do required office 2010 Pro license

There are two ways that you are able to connect to your virtual desktop.
1.From a Traditional Windows Desktop or Laptop
2.From a Thin Client or Non-Windows OS (this includes iPads and other tablet devices)
In the same way, Microsoft provides two licensing options for you to connect to a virtual desktop.

Option 1 – Microsoft SA (Software Assurance)
To qualify for Virtual Data Architecture (VDA) , you are required to have current Software Assurance on your Operating System. To achieve this, you need to add the SA within 90 days of your purchase of a computer with a legal OEM copy of Windows 7 Professional. Alternatively you would need to purchase Windows Upgrade licenses with Software Assurance.
If you have current SA on your Windows Desktop i.e. Windows Enterprise – the Product Use Rights entitle you to access up to four virtual desktop environments.
Licenses are per device. ¿The SA benefit is not available for Thin Clients.

Option 2 – Microsoft VDA (Windows Virtual Desktop Access)
•Windows VDA is a device-based subscription that has been designed to help organizations license devices that do not qualify for Windows Client SA (such as thin clients, contractor PCs, etc) to be able to access a virtual desktop.
•The VDA license is required for all thin clients – regardless of the type of device or Operating System. ¿Windows VDA licenses extend roaming rights for the primary (“named”) user of a company-owned device covered under Windows VDA.

So according to me if your 10 users are accessing 5 Virtual desktops, still you require 10 VDA licenses as you are accessing Virtual desktops from 10 devices which are not in SA

In contrast, An RDS CAL is required to log on to the RDS Server for accessing remote applications which is not your case

Check below link for more details


Author Comment

ID: 39961684
So, for VDA (VDI), I need;
OS licenses, Office licenses, and VDA licenses device based.
I saw that VDA license is $100 per year, not like any other CALs which you buy and forget.
It's really costly to implement VDI?

I don't know why MS says VDA device based, isn't it really user based once they extend to roaming rights?

Author Comment

ID: 39961744
Just to double check, VDA, you refer to VDI based virtual desktops? So, if I install Windows 7 on Hyper-V role of Windows server 2012, I don't need VDA license, correct? Just OS license for Windows 7.

Author Comment

ID: 39961944
I'm reading in detail of VDA license, this is incredible step up for SOB Microsoft.
Not many small businesses stay current with Software Assurance. They have been using thin clients because it saves money, now it suddenly it's headaches to pay $100 for each thin client and EVERY YEAR? lol
LVL 37

Expert Comment

ID: 39962716
Yes, you can install Win7 on Hyper-V 2012 as virtual guest and in that case you don't require VDA license and you can simply connect to virtual desktop through normal RDP as you are directly getting connected to console session.

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