How to get multipoint server / inexpensive RDP

a few users want to get back into the office remotely.  for 1 user we were using logmein to a sometimes used PC. But that machine in the office is getting used more and theres going to be 3 people outside soon.

adding more PCs in the office I suppose is 1 option.  That would be what - $700 each for a nice PC?

What other options are there?  I've heard multipoint mentioned and saw it demonstrated in a classroom setting, but 2012 lets you do RDP from outside?

a) How do you get the software?
b) what is the cost for it and cals?  And hardware to run it?
c) is it simply a role of server 2012 or a special product?
d) what's your thoughts for that?
e) does it need its own physical server or can it be virtualized?
f) are there other alternatives you can think of?
g) think this will be eliminated soon or it'll stick around?  I started with home server and then it went away.  don't want a flash in the pan solution.

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Cliff GaliherCommented:
a) How do you get the software?
You find someone that sells it and purchase it.

b) what is the cost for it and cals?  And hardware to run it?
The cost will be comparable to setting up a single RDS server. Multipoint CALs have the exact same MSRP as RDS or RDS+Windows CALs, so that is awash

 c) is it simply a role of server 2012 or a special product?
No. Multipoint server is a separate product.

 d) what's your thoughts for that?
It is a (good) niche product.  If you take advantage of their zero client and their dashboard, grab Multipoint.  If not, go with RDS as you can go 2012 R2 with RDS. There is no 2012 R2 version of Multipoint.

 e) does it need its own physical server or can it be virtualized?
If you will be using zero-clients, it'll need to be physical.  Otherwise you can virtualize.

 f) are there other alternatives you can think of?
Standard RDS.  I don't consider console access programs like LogMeIn, TeamViewer, etc to be viable alternatives. Those are designed more for screen sharing or similar.  You also get into murky licensing waters when attempting to use them as RDS replacements.

 g) think this will be eliminated soon or it'll stick around?  I started with home server and then it went away.  don't want a flash in the pan solution.
The multipoint team has announced that it will be a role in the upcoming version of Windows Server.  Whether it will also be a product (like Essentials is both a product and a role), is as yet unannounced. So the product may go away, or may stick around, but the technology definitely continuing, and considering some of its unique features, I expect to continue...again, much like essentials is not going away.  Keep in mind that Multipoint is *built* on RDS.  It is RDS with extra stuff. It isn't something wholly unique and different. So even if Multipoint went away, you have a relatively easy path forward. You'd lose the ability to use zero clients, but considering how inexpensive zero clients are, that'd be a moderate loss in depreciation anyways in a standard upgrade cycle.  I don't think obsolescence is a concern in this scenario.
BeGentleWithMe-INeedHelpAuthor Commented:
thanks.  I'll clarify my questions:
a) how to get software - so it's not just an oem product / tied to specific hardware?

b) could you rough out the dollar cost, not relative cost?  I've never worked with RDS either to know what's involved with that?  RDS is a role in server, right? you just buy Server 2012 and choose the RDS role? RDS gets more expensive because you need RDS CALs (5 user for $850 a good price?)?  But don't buy 2012R2 essentials, right?  That's cheaper than server but has the single role of essentials (and no CALS are needed?)?

d) for remote access outside the office, that negates the use of zero client, right? they want to get in from their own computers or other machines / not a dedicated device.

f) murky waters?  interesting.  I thought that's (remote access of a computer when out of the office) one of what those products were intended for.
Cliff GaliherCommented:
a) It is available in retail and VL channels as well as OEM. It is not like Foundation or Storage Server which is OEM-only.

b) I really don't do costs in EE.  Different vendors get different price points, and as a Microsoft Partner myself, it hedges too close to competitive bidding for the purposes of EE.  Essentials cannot be an RDS server, so correct, don't by that for RDS duties.  Yes, RDS is a role, and yes, it required RDS CALs *in addition* to Windows CALs.

d) Correct. Zero-clients are a unique feature to Multipoint for on-premises deployments.

f) It is. But if you are using it as an RDS deployment (standing up on a few spare PCs and having multiple users access them) then you are running afoul of Microsoft's licensing agreement.  Keep in mind that Microsoft also has RDS and VDI licensing, so they don't let other companies just do an end-run around that functionality.  If every user had their own dedicated PC, you could do LogMeIn without much worry on licensing, but that is a windows license, a full PC to manage, patch, etc, and a LogMeIn subscription.  It isn't necessarily a scalable solution in most cases. And the insane things I've seen people try just to save a buck makes me cautious about pointing out the murkiness of licensing when you start doing contortions to use products in ways they weren't intended.
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BeGentleWithMe-INeedHelpAuthor Commented:
a) thanks

b) sorry, again, I'm not clear. I guess I'm just thinking order of magnitude / ballpark pricing.  Seems RDS / Multipoint would come in at a few thousand dollars.  A quick look at CDW has Multipoint for around a thousand, a 5 pack of CALs for that $850, then any kind of nice server $2K, let alone setup and ongoing admin costs.

f) frustrating to me that Microsoft makes it soooo hard to be legit to them.  Look up office 365 and you can easily find home version for 5 users.

If you search for commercial, you find that 1 line in small print below reviews, along with other footnotes (how many people actually get down there is my point) 'not for commercial use'.  So as a partner you have to explain to the soho person how that isn't the one for him.  And previously, I know that line wasn't on that page - it was only buried in the EULA.

Here's another page on the microsoft site:

NO mention of commercial. yeah, it's under the 'household' tab.

<rant about MS licensing> And for using Logmein rather than RDS - again, interesting on your take of it. I was asking questions about RDS for 1 - 2 users on yahoo forums and some Microsoft MVPs suggested the headless machine / logmein approach for those small number of users.  certainly not scalable, true.  Sharing a computer - they could do that in the office and be legit, right? 1 user at a time...   But coming in remotely isn't?   Me being me, I hate murkiness. </ rant about MS licensing> : )
Cliff GaliherCommented:
Sorry, I think Office 365 ***HOME*** says everything.  But hey, call me crazy.

As far as the last bit, yes sharing a PC is legit.  Coming in remotely isn't.  This *shouldn't* be entirely shocking.  Take an average PC 10 years ago.  Now build a laptop with the exact same specs. It was twice as expensive.  You pay for mobility.  That hasn't changed.  You can buy small HP Stream hockeypuck computers for what, $150?  A similarly powered Chromebook is still more expensive.  Actually running windows?  At least double.  Being able to access a full desktop remotely *is* a premium benefit. Think of using LogMeIn for example. You get *access* to all of your data and programs. But the data doesn't leave the secured PC. Only the screen is being broadcast (in a secure manner) to the client device (iPad, for example.) The app still runs on a secured PC, so even a program that needs a server back-end (such as a CRM app with SQL, or QuickBooks with the database on a server) works. But works *REMOTELY* without the quickbooks data being on a client device. From controlling data leakage to having a device fully controlled (group policy, patching, automated application deployment, etc) there is inarguably a benefit, and the user has the mobility without the risk.

You can rant about MS licensing all you want.  But if you don't see the value in that, why are you trying to set up RDS at all? Just tell users they *have* to work on a PC in the office?  (and the fact you aren't telling them that shows that mobility is indeed a feature you want.)  ...MS has every right to monetize premium features.  Especially when you do consider that devices like iPads and Chromebooks don't run Windows.  A user gets all the benefits of applications, group policies, etc, but Microsoft only gets one OS sale because the admin bought one PC on the cheap, set up LogMeIn, and gave 20 users access and the users are all running non-windows devices? Of *COURSE* MS is gonna clamp down on that!!!  Sometimes logic (Office 365 ***HOME*** again) has to prevail.

Mind you I don't work for MS.  I am a partner.  I don't find this that complicated.  But since you brought it up, I felt it necessary to explain.  MS isn't going to see or know about your rants here.  It is what it is.
BeGentleWithMe-INeedHelpAuthor Commented:
thanks. not doubting you or your thoughts.  Just looking to learn. I can't think of specifics now, but 'home' for right or wrong can mean low usage, low number of users, etc.  and microsoft doesn't make it clear.  Home and student? Most all of my clients are SOHOs, some with pop webmail and don't need outlook "I keep my calendar on my phone. that's good enough".  So home and student would technically work for their needs. Legally? last I looked, the box isn't all that clear if it says it at all. I do like the windows that say 'not for commercial use'.  I've seen them in seminars on the big screen at seminars 'cause that was the version that came on the laptop the business person was using.

OK here's 1 - a printer in the home section of a manufacturer's website.  Would you think you aren't allowed to use in a SOHO?  Or rather, just expect that it's not going to stand up to 100% duty cycle.

What you say about the 1 OS sale does make total sense.  I just hadn't heard of it before. and i will be the first to admit I don't know much, I hadn't heard anyone else mention the issue previously.
Cliff GaliherCommented:
The printer is probably a broken analogy. You don't "own" office 365.  You "own" the printer.  A slightly better example, albeit still pretty imperfect, is city zoning laws.  Zoning can change even though you own the property.  Some small towns allow you to run a business from your home. But many do not.  A residential zone is residential, period.  A commercial zone is commercial. And some are mixed-use.  It is up to the property owner to ensure they are playing by the city's rules. It isn't up to the city to put up big signs on every block declaring its allowable uses.  Any business has to deal with this. Do you need a special type of business license to run business type <X> (hairdressers in Montana, for example require a special barber's license.)  Do you have regulatory compliance?  Does your work space meet handicap accessibility laws (which are different for businesses than they are for residential) and does it comply with other commercial standards such as fire suppression?

My point is this. ANYBODY running a business, even a SOHO business, already is familiar with doing due diligence to stay legal. I.T. is no longer the wild west. Buying crap from Best Buy and claiming not to read the license is no longer excusable. Like tackling their own books or hiring an accountant, it is perfectly legitimate for a business owner to do their own I.T. research or hire a business-oriented consultant (not the Best Buy consumer helpdesk!), and both choices are valid. But just treating I.T. as a non-essential part of their business and doing neither....that's on the business owner, and one that operates that way is not one I want as a client because it shows me they don't really *care* about their business.  Pretty cut and dry there.

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