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Licenses needed to implement and use XenDesktop


Asrar Guna

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Hello Everybody,,

 

I am new to XD and have few queries before my company buys XD.

 

1) Is RDS license needed for XenDesktop? It is needed for XenApp. But if we only want to use XenDesktop Platinum edition then do we still need RDS? I think if we want to make apps available inside the virtual desktop through XenApp, then definitely we need RDS.

 

2) How does the microsoft licensing work with XenDesktop? If I want to provision 500 Win 8 virtual desktops, do I need 500 microsoft win 8 desktops licenses? Or only 1 license in the master image?

 

3) Is there any other license needed or just XD Platinum edition?

 

Thank You,

AG

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1. Microsoft licenses are based on what machine users connect to. If they connect to a virtual desktop (Desktop OS) then they need VDA license or SA on the client OS. If they connect to RDSH (Server OS) then they need RDS CAL.

 

2.  Virtual desktops do not require any license on the hypervisor host (or VMs). However, the client devices that connect to VDI must be licensed with Microsoft Virtual Desktop Access license or have Software Assurance on their client operating system.

 

3.  Hypervisor needs to be licensed. If vSphere, you can buy vSphere for Desktops.

 

Microsoft licenses for virtual servers and virtual desktops are different. Microsoft licenses for virtual servers are bound to the hypervisor host, not the VM. If you move the VM to another host, the license does not move with it, and the destination host must have an available license that can be applied to the moved VM. Virtual desktops do not require any license on the hypervisor host since the licenses are instead assigned to the client device.

 

Best option is to build two hypervisor clusters:

  • Desktop Cluster - runs virtual desktops only (no virtual servers). No Microsoft licenses needed on the cluster.
  • Server Cluster - runs virtual servers. Licensed with Windows Datacenter on every host. Put your infrastructure servers (e.g. XenDesktop Controllers) here.
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1. Microsoft licenses are based on what machine users connect to. If they connect to a virtual desktop (Desktop OS) then they need VDA license or SA on the client OS. If they connect to RDSH (Server OS) then they need RDS CAL.

 

2.  Virtual desktops do not require any license on the hypervisor host (or VMs). However, the client devices that connect to VDI must be licensed with Microsoft Virtual Desktop Access license or have Software Assurance on their client operating system.

 

3.  Hypervisor needs to be licensed. If vSphere, you can buy vSphere for Desktops.

 

Microsoft licenses for virtual servers and virtual desktops are different. Microsoft licenses for virtual servers are bound to the hypervisor host, not the VM. If you move the VM to another host, the license does not move with it, and the destination host must have an available license that can be applied to the moved VM. Virtual desktops do not require any license on the hypervisor host since the licenses are instead assigned to the client device.

 

Best option is to build two hypervisor clusters:

  • Desktop Cluster - runs virtual desktops only (no virtual servers). No Microsoft licenses needed on the cluster.
  • Server Cluster - runs virtual servers. Licensed with Windows Datacenter on every host. Put your infrastructure servers (e.g. XenDesktop Controllers) here.

 

 

Hi Carl,

 

I know this is an old thread, but regarding the required Microsoft licenses for VDI environment here's something that is confusing me:

 

 

What do I need in order to license VDI infrastructure and

management in a Microsoft environment?

To license VDI infrastructure and management, you will have the

following options:

OPTION 1

A Remote Desktop Services CAL (RDS-CAL) is the license required for

the Microsoft VDI infrastructure, irrespective of whether you deploy

VMs or sessions.

 

https://download.microsoft.com/download/1/1/4/114A45DD-A1F7-4910-81FD-6CAF401077D0/Microsoft%20VDI%20and%20VDA%20FAQ%20v3%200.pdf

 

What I don't understand is that do I need RDS CAL's besides the VDA/SA licenses if I am providing users VDI desktops?

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The requirement for a VDA license to connect to a Windows 7 based VM (VDI) is clear however how does this apply to Remote PC?

 

Is a VDA license required for a user that brokers to a physical Windows 7 machine via a thin client using RemotePC or is this only for Virtual Machines?

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On 24.06.2014 at 3:17 PM, Carl Stalhood1709151912 said:

2.  Virtual desktops do not require any license on the hypervisor host (or VMs). However, the client devices that connect to VDI must be licensed with Microsoft Virtual Desktop Access license or have Software Assurance on their client operating system.

How it looks like in practice - the activation goes through KMS server, and VDA license "activates" desktop OS running on VM?

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HI Carl

On ‎29‎/‎10‎/‎2017 at 4:11 PM, Carl Stalhood1709151912 said:

Yes. MCS and/or PvS ensures that each virtual desktop has a different KMS CMID. So if you have a pool of 25 desktops, those 25 each count as a separate KMS activation.

 

to complicate things further - using IaaS XenDesktop on Azure - for Windows 10 VDIs which licenses would you need?

there seems to be several options and I have been told that the VDA configuration doesn't work successfully in Azure

can you point us to any docs laying out the details of which licenses and how to config both Azure infrastructure and the master MCS image to work correctly

thanks

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On 6/24/2014 at 8:17 PM, Carl Stalhood1709151912 said:

1. Microsoft licenses are based on what machine users connect to. If they connect to a virtual desktop (Desktop OS) then they need VDA license or SA on the client OS. If they connect to RDSH (Server OS) then they need RDS CAL.

 

2.  Virtual desktops do not require any license on the hypervisor host (or VMs). However, the client devices that connect to VDI must be licensed with Microsoft Virtual Desktop Access license or have Software Assurance on their client operating system.

 

3.  Hypervisor needs to be licensed. If vSphere, you can buy vSphere for Desktops.

 

Microsoft licenses for virtual servers and virtual desktops are different. Microsoft licenses for virtual servers are bound to the hypervisor host, not the VM. If you move the VM to another host, the license does not move with it, and the destination host must have an available license that can be applied to the moved VM. Virtual desktops do not require any license on the hypervisor host since the licenses are instead assigned to the client device.

 

Best option is to build two hypervisor clusters:

  • Desktop Cluster - runs virtual desktops only (no virtual servers). No Microsoft licenses needed on the cluster.
  • Server Cluster - runs virtual servers. Licensed with Windows Datacenter on every host. Put your infrastructure servers (e.g. XenDesktop Controllers) here.

Hi Carl,

 

this is quite old, just would like to confirm if this still valid statement? 

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I'll clarify #1. 

 

Microsoft license requirements vary depending on which type of VDA machine you connect to. 

  • To connect to Server OS, each named user needs an RDS CAL.
  • To connect to Desktop OS, each endpoint machine needs "Virtual Desktop Access" entitlement , typically by purchasing Windows 10 with Software Assurance. 
    • If you don't have Win10 with SA, there's also the standalone Microsoft "Virtual Desktop Access" subscription license.
    • Some Microsoft Enterprise agreements grant "Virtual Desktop Access" entitlement to named users instead of endpoint machines.
  • If connecting to both Server OS and Desktop OS, then the users/endpoints need both licenses.

Server OS virtual machines also require Server OS licenses (not CALs) assigned to the physical hypervisor host the Server OS virtual machines are running on. If you vMotion a RDSH machine, the Server OS license does not move with the VM so each physical host needs enough Server OS licenses to accommodate max # of VMs on one hypervisor host due to vMotion (e.g. host failures, host in maintenance mode, etc.)

 

Desktop OS machines do not need any Microsoft licenses on the physical hypervisor hosts. All licenses for virtual desktops are assigned to the endpoint (or end user), not the hypervisor.

 

However, as soon as you put a Windows Server on a hypervisor host, you now must purchase Windows Server licenses for that hypervisor host. Remember, Windows Server licenses are assigned to the physical hypervisor host, not the Server OS virtual machine. So the most economical option is to keep Server OS and Desktop OS machines on different hypervisor hosts.

 

Note: you can build Server OS machines in single-user mode but these machines would still require Windows Server OS license and RDS CAL.

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