If i go over User CALs in RDS does that stop my users from using RDS farm?

Jody Davis
Jody Davis used Ask the Experts™
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We have almost reached the max of our User CAL licenses for our MS 2012 Remote Desktop farm. I thought i was told that this is something we need to not breach, but you will not be hindered to use the RDS farm if you go over User CAL licenses. We had an issue last night that appears to be related to User CAL licenses unavailable.

If you go over User CAL licenses, will that stop the ability to use the RDS farm, or is that not true - and you just have to ensure to stay on the good side of MS every year?
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The number of CAL's is for simultaneous users... If someone logs off, another can login to take its place...

You might remind users to logoff when not actively using (or set a forced inactivity logoff timer) to prevent exceeding your limit!

For more info on this topic, see:
https://www.parallels.com/products/ras/RDS-CALs/
I'm not 100% sure of my answer to the original question but I do feel to address N2FC's answer.

Unless I am misunderstanding what is being said by N2FC, to my knowledge Microsoft has nothing licensed as "simultaneous" (i.e. concurrent) any longer (and for quite awhile). In fact, they are the ones who did away with that wonderful licensing model called "concurrent" (aka simultaneous).

User CALs are assigned to specific users, even if they only access the resource one time per year, that individual *must* have their own User CAL. The beauty of User CALs is that they apply to the user regardless of the number of licenses.

Device CALs are assigned to a specific device, regardless of user. Typically, this is used for computers being utilized in shifts *and* the users use *no* additional devices.

Again, I may be misunderstanding N2FC's answer (and if so, please correct me) but I didn't want Jody Davis thinking that User CAL = simultaneous / concurrent. Microsoft did away with concurrency a LOOONNNGGG time ago. Microsoft is *not* a  software company; they are a *licensing* company. They develop the software once and make money on licensing.

My answer to Jody's statement of "...and you just have to ensure to stay on the good side of MS every year..." would be:
1. Yes, if you are on an enterprise agreement
2. No, if you are "pay as you go"; if you are "pay as you go", then you should have a spreadsheet (or some tracking mechanism) corresponding to your CAL model and keep it fairly up-to-date.

Trust me, I have assisted clients with multiple Microsoft licensing audits and you *want* to be up-to-date ... it is not typically a pleasant financial experience.

Would anyone else be able to confirm my thinking? Do I hear a second, third or ... nope, you are incorrect, here is the answer?
Jody DavisSystems Engineer

Author

Commented:
that is what i've found as well. I have users stating they are getting the license error, however they are showing in my license report. attached is my license report (logins removed) and a screenshot of our licensing info. i had 50 User CALs then bought 50 more. Please advise.
LicenseServerInfo.docx
RDSreport.csv
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Jody DavisSystems Engineer

Author

Commented:
I still have 10 licenses available, so to say they get a license error when trying to connect to the RDS farm - makes no sense to me.
Olgierd UngehojerSenior Network Administrator

Commented:
I think that your cals after release are bind with user for 90 days and then are free to use by some other user. If you using less cals than users you are braking licence agreement.
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
RDS is *not* simultaneous. A user CAL is needed for every real user. And it *is* enforced. To answer the original question.
I wanted to clarify the "simultaneous" perception.

Cliff or Olgierd may have a better answer on the technical details of why the farm isn't issuing licenses / still giving errors.

Cliff?
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
Screenshots of the exact error and event logs would be helpful.  There just isn't any troubleshooting info to go on here, except the persistent use of the term "farm" which 2012 doesn't have/use.  If you attempt to configure a "farm" like you would have in 2008/R2, things do break.  The RDCB plays a much bigger role in 2012 and beyond, and farms are quite dead.  The configuration process is very different, and must be followed properly for things to work.  Its well documented, but it really is about defining the collections and letting RDCB do the redirect and load balancing.  Direct connections bypassing the RDCB, round robin DNS, etc (all things "farms" did) definitely break 2012 in odd ways.
Jody DavisSystems Engineer

Author

Commented:
I'm having intermittent errors for users with the screenshot attached. basically complaining about licenses not available. the first screenshot is the error. the second screenshot is an example of a user receiving a license successfully just this morning, and the last screenshot is the actual log location both of the last 2 screenshots came from - all from the 2012 R2 RDS farm license server.

all 3 host servers in my RDS farm show 10 licenses are still available in the RD Licensing Diagnoser

it works for me and my coworkers though. which is strange.

can you think of a different place to look for logs for this issue?
Screenshots.docx
Distinguished Expert 2018

Commented:
Short of doing some forensic diagnostics (which I am not equipped to walk someone through) I don't know.  I strongly suspect there is some "missing" information that isn't making it to the posts, but that is just past experience poking my brain.
Jody DavisSystems Engineer

Author

Commented:
And this is why i'm perplexed. Licenses show 10 available. Logs show no errors in TS logs on license and/or RDS host servers. I can't reproduce problem. Licensing report shows the user already has a license. I'm lost as to where to troubleshoot next.
Jody DavisSystems Engineer

Author

Commented:
It appears to have been the WinRM service was stopped on the host server. It was only effecting one host server after looking further into it. There was an event stating WinRM had stopped servicing connections on that host server, and the RD Licensing diagnoser started showing 0 licenses available. Rebooted the host server and it was again able to receive connections from the broker/licensing from host server now showed available licenses again. WinRM service being stopped and subsequent reboot appears to have fixed the issue.
keep in mind the following:
1. RDS Licenses are either per user or per device and NEVER CCU (concurrent).
2. The RDS Licensing Server (RDLS) only enforces licensing IF the server is set for PER DEVICE licensing. Even in this case, by deleting a registry key on the client, this enforcement can be bypassed.
3. Unless it makes a lot of sense to go with per device licensing, we usually recommend per user licensing all the way. No enforcement hassle, no need to wait up to 90 days for a license to get back in the pool for a device that is no longer in use, etc. Just make sure from a legal standpoint you have enough licenses, Simple.

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