2012 Remote Desktop Server - What do you need?

I want to make sure I am not missing something. I have a customer that is still running a 2003 Server and using it as a Terminal Server. I need to get them up to speed. I was looking at some prices for the software and came up with this (for a 5-user Termianl Server):

                     Microsoft Server 2012 R2 Standard: $800
                                          5 - Server 2012 R@ CAL: $150
Microsoft Remote Desktop Services 5-user CAL: $870

That is $1,820 just in Microsoft software and licenses. Is that real? It that what I need to buy or can I cut back somewhere?

What about an alternative like TSPlus?

$1,820 (not including the cost of the server) seems a little excessive for a 5-user Terminal Server isn't it?
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Schnell SolutionsSystems Infrastructure EngineerCommented:
Notice that you are buying a Windows Server Standard, that can help you with many other things additional to Terminal Services, for example, all the services that it includes: Active Directory, DHCP, DNS, VPN Server, File Server, etc.

Additionally, the prices are relatively close to those RETAIL ones that you got, however the final price will depend on other factors, such as a agreement with Microsoft, licensing plan, etc. The only price that looks very high is the one for Remote Desktop, these licenses are usually about USD 80 each, with 870 you shall be able to buy about 10 of them.

As far as you are just interested in Remote Desktop for a few computers (and assuming that you will never grow to more than 50 - 75), take a view to the price of Windows Server Multi Point Edition, which is a special version designed to deliver remote desktop services.

Despite of these normal solutions related to Windows Server, there are other solutions in the market for Terminal Services.

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LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
They already have a Server 2012 Standard as their DC. If you think the street prices are a lot better then please shoot me what you think I should be able to buy them for. It will simply be Open Business. This one is a Small Business. Right now just 20 workstations total and one DC. In my lifetime they won't get much bigger.

So if they are looking for a dedicated (Microsoft) Terminal Server then Windows Server Multi Point Edition would be the ticket? Still need user CALS and RDS CALS?

I have tried Ericom and TSPlus. Like them both .....
Schnell SolutionsSystems Infrastructure EngineerCommented:
Ohs... what I mean is that you can get better prices than those. Try quoting the 'Open Business/Open License' licenses with a different reseller and you might get better prices. We have bought RDS packages of 5 licenses for small clients and it has been about 400.00 - 450.00 dollars :).

If there is a DC already in place, you can validate how they are using their current Server CALs. If they are per server you will need to get Server CALs for a new server, but if they are per seat (user/device) you do not need to buy the additional Server CALs for the network (Saving an extra $150.00).

We have also tried many third party terminal server products with Win7 / Win8 and they work fine. In such cases these products are usually installed in a VM inside the server. They move at a decent speed and they show up to the users a workstation interface, rather than a server interface.
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They already have a Server 2012 Standard as their DC
That Server 2012 Standard license should have 2 activation keys and include the right to run one instance in a vm (both need to run on the same physical server).
So if the main server is powerful enough (or can be made powerful enough), add the hyper-V role and install that second license in a VM on top of the DC and use that as the Terminal Server.
If the current CAL are per user, all you need to add is the Microsoft Remote Desktop Services 5-user CAL.

Now, if those user need to run word/excel that's were you will feel the pain, as only 365 and Open Licences can be used in that secenario.
Windows Server Multi Point Edition would be the ticket? Still need user CALS and RDS CALS?
There is such a thing as a Windows Server Multipoint CAL a bit pricier (+10%) than an RDS CAL.
In europe the VPN is EJF-02392 and woud sell around 130 EUR. I'm not sure how many are included in the base server package.
Some clarifications :
- The Multipoint Server 2012 licence is not bundled with CAL.
- Each workstation connecting to the Multipoint Server requires one Multipoint Server 2012 CAL (it's device based!)
Cliff GaliherCommented:
That's fairly close to accurate for retail. It isn't excessive at all. With that server and 5 CALs, 5 iPad users could connect to a Windows server and get a full windows desktop remotely (Rd's cals also grant the user rdweb and rdgateway rights) without ever having bought a windows client OS. Microsoft saw this as a way apple / linix users could undercut their client OS salea and priced RDS accordingly.

Note that 3rd party RDS solutions still require RDS CALs. Running TSPlus, for example, won't legally save you money. This is in the base product EULAs, not the CALs, which you have linked "I Agree" to during install. If you run a 3rd party solution, do so for the added features (Citrix, for example), not for price.
Casey WeaverManaged Services Windows Engineer IIICommented:
Can you just use 2012R2 Essentials? It comes with one virtual server license, and CALS /TS CALS for 25 users. Take out the 2012 standard server, set up the main essentials server your Standard network roles, then use the built in Hyper-V role to virtualize a second essentials server on it to run a just remote desktop services.
Cliff GaliherCommented:
Essentials absolutely does NOT come with 25 RDS CALs. That proposed topology would also be illegal.
Casey WeaverManaged Services Windows Engineer IIICommented:
Care to expand? You are right, you couldn't split the roles, I read the OSE chart wrong. But according to this you do not need CALS: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/sbs/2013/09/03/understanding-licensing-for-windows-server-2012-r2-essentials-and-the-windows-server-essentials-experience-role/. We use RWA and have not needed CALS for that. Now if you were using just terminal services on the server itself, you'd need CALS.
Cliff GaliherCommented:
The essentials product allows 25 users to access the server but THEY ARE NOT CALs. So they do not cover other servers. And since essentials itself cannot be a terminal server, there is zero way to run a terminal server without both windows and RDS CALs. Access Anywhere, formerly known as RWA/RWW, is for accessing client machines remotely, not running a terminal server. There is no way to use essentials to reduce terminal server costs.

Also, just as an aside, some folks have been talking about WMS. Multipoint does not have a 2012 R2 version, and IE 11 was never released for 2012. IE10 is officially out of support. For a terminal server, this can be a big issue and has been controversial with WMS fans. I can't currently recommend it for new deployments.
LockDown32OwnerAuthor Commented:
@Gauthier: It is a Open Business Server 2012 License. I logged in to the Volume License Portal and the purchase generated keys for Essentials R2 and Standard R2 but I cannot find a second key for the Standard R2 to run it as a VM.  Are you sure this is doable and legit? Any idea where the second key might be?
I'm certain it's legit:
Winows Server 2012 Standard include one licence for a VM of itself independently of the purchase method (retail/OEM/Open)
It's probable that with Open Licence, the same key is used for both install, the OEM sticker had 2 keys.
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