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RDS Client Access Licensing

Posted on 2016-08-21
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Under a Windows Server 2008 R2 setup, I was under the impression that the "per user" CALs simply limited the number of simultaneous users connected to the server (via RDS) at any one point in time.  I recently read somewhere that the "per user" CALs actually are specific to individual users so that, if I had 50 CALs, only 50 "specific" users could connect via RDS vs. my original assumption that 1000 users, for example, could connect but only 50 at a time.  Can someone help clear this up for me?  I've been promoting the idea of remote access to a major client for a number of years and now, all of a sudden, they are really interested in the idea and I'm having second thoughts and feeling a little overwhelmed.  I have a second question regarding RDS.  I have it set up on my own network and it works well except when the end-user attempts to "dump" one of my larger reports to an Excel file on their local system.  This process takes forever (if it even completes) and I'd like to find out if anyone can suggest a solution to make this process any faster?  More RAM, faster bandwidth, etc.?
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Question by:Jim Klocksin
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Scott Silva earned 2000 total points
ID: 41764398
RDS Cal's don't work that way... Although per seat or per machine cals do get permanent assignments, per user cals don't get limited or locked...  
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc753650(v=ws.11).aspx

But it also means that there is no limiting done by the server, and if user 51 tries to connect, it succeeds and then you are out of licensing compliance... I think there are third party products that will fix this, but I don't think windows does it on its own.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Jim Klocksin
ID: 41764404
This is essentially how I always thought it worked, except for the part where the 51st user would still get connected.  Since the reality is that we will most likely be purchasing at least 100 CALs for RDS, I'm currently not too concerned about going over the limit.
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Expert Comment

by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 41764649
2012 and newer have enforced per user as well. 2008 and older were honor system. But condoning illegal behavior because you can get away with it is never good.
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by:Jim Klocksin
ID: 41764657
What I meant when I said I wasn't too concerned is that I don't believe we will even remotely come close to 100 concurrent users, probably not even 50, but I don't want to take any chances, the account is too important to me.  Point is, I would buy 200 if needed rather than go over my allotted licenses.  When you say that "2012 and newer have enforced per user" what exactly do you mean?  If you're saying that, in my original example, the 51st user would get rejected, but my basic premise on the meaning of the licensing paradigm is correct, I'm good with that.  If, on the other hand, you're implying that the "per user" license is actually associating a CAL with a login ID, then I have a problem!
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Expert Comment

by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 41764668
No it isn't correct. RDS isn't, and never was, concurrent. But in 2012, your users will not be allowed to sign in if hey can' get a CAL.
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