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Licensing

Microsofts
Virtual Desktop
Infrastructure
Technology
Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) offers
the ability to rapidly and securely deploy desktops from
the data center to users. The information technology
(IT) organization can manage desktops centrally, and
VDI helps improve security by centralizing users data.
VDI also gives end users the flexibility they need to
access their work desktops from almost any device
that has a reliable network connection.
VDI enables IT to think about desktop deployment
and management in new ways. At the same time, VDI
also requires new licensing models, because models
based on physical access are no longer appropriate
for providing access to virtual resources. This brief
provides an overview of the key VDI components and
how Microsoft licenses them.

Licensing Microsofts Virtual


Desktop Infrastructure Technology

Table of Contents
02

VDI Overview

03 Hyper-V
04

Remote Desktop Services

04

Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack

05

System Center Configuration Manager

06

Licensing Windows for VDI Desktops

07

Software Assurance

08

Virtual Desktop Access

08

Windows Intune

09

VDI Suite

10

Licensing Scenarios

10

Adventure Works

11

Southridge Video

12

Contoso, Ltd

12

Woodgrove Bank

14

Summary

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VDI Overview
Figure 1 illustrates key components of a VDI implementation. You can learn
more about each component at the Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
homepage:
Hyper-V Included in Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1
(SP1), Hyper-V provides a robust virtualization platform that enables IT to
host virtual desktops in the data center.
Remote Desktop Services (RDS) RDS brokers connections from the access
device to virtual machines (VMs) running in the data center.

Microsoft
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

Figure 1

VDI components
VDI enables IT to think about desktop deployment
and management in new ways. It offers the ability
to rapidly deploy desktops from the data center
to users; centrally manage desktops; and improve
security by centralizing users data.

Licensing Microsofts Virtual


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Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) MDOP includes, among


other tools, Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) to enable
applications on demand without installation.
System Center Configuration Manager Configuration Manager provides a
unified infrastructure for centralized and comprehensive VDI management.
Access devices End users can use any endpoint device that supports
access protocols like Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to connect to the VDI
desktop.

Hyper-V
For a VDI deployment, customers can host virtual desktops by using:
Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 with Hyper-V
The free edition of Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 SP1
Customers using Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 must have a Windows Server
2008 R2 license for each physical server instance. Additionally, every device or
user connecting to the VDI will also require a Windows Server Client Access
License (CAL).
For example, Woodgrove Bank is a Software Assurance (SA) customer that
wants to run 100 VDI desktops on two instances of Windows Server. It will
need to ensure that each of the two servers has a Windows Server license
(Standard, Enterprise, or Datacenter). Alternatively, it could use the free edition
of Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 SP1. Each user or device connecting to VDI also
requires a Windows Server CAL.
For more information about buying Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 with
Hyper-V, see the Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V homepage.

Customers using Windows


Server 2008 R2 SP1 must have a
Windows Server 2008 R2 license
for each physical server instance.
Additionally, every device or user
connecting to the VDI will also
require a Windows Server CAL.

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Remote Desktop Services


In Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, RDS brokers connections between access
devices and VMs running in the data center, and it delivers a rich, local-like
experience to end users by using RemoteFX technology. Users can access their
VDI desktops from almost anywhere with a reliable network connection, on
almost any device that supports RDP.
The RDS CAL is the primary license for Microsoft VDI. It offers the flexibility to
deploy both VDI and RDS Session Virtualization so that you can provide access

The RDS CAL is the primary


license for Microsoft VDI. You must
purchase one RDS CAL for each
device or user that accesses VDI.
A Windows Server CAL is also
required for that device or user, if
one does not already exist.

to full desktop and shared desktop experiences. You must purchase one RDS
CAL for each device or user that accesses VDI. A Windows Server CAL is also
required for that device or user, if one does not already exist.
As Figure 1 showed, RDS combined with Hyper-V, MDOP, Configuration
Manager, and access devices comprise the complete VDI stack. Because many
enterprise organizations with Microsoft infrastructure already own licenses for
Hyper-V, System Center, and MDOP, an RDS CAL is the only additional license
they need to purchase in order to deploy the Microsoft VDI solution.
For example, Contoso, Ltd is an SA customer already running Windows Server
2008 R2 SP1 on its servers and Windows 7 Enterprise (a benefit of SA) on
its PCs. It also uses Configuration Manager along with MDOP to manage its
desktop environment. Contoso, Ltd needs only to add the RDS CAL to its
existing portfolio to license VDI.
For more information about buying the RDS CAL, see the Windows Server
2008 R2 Remote Desktop Services homepage.

Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack


MDOP is a toolset that can help organizations streamline PC deployment and
management. MDOP includes App-V, an application virtualization technology
that enables organizations to centrally deploy and manage applications
without requiring installation.

Microsoft
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

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In addition to its management benefits, App-V can help reduce the size of
desktop images to increase VDI density and lower the cost of deploying VDI.
App-V delivers applications on demand, eliminating the need to include the
applications within the core desktop image.

MDOP is an annual devicebased add-on subscription for SA


customers or those that have SA
rights through the VDA license.

MDOP is an annual device-based add-on subscription for SA customers


or those that have SA rights through the Virtual Desktop Access (VDA)
license (see the section Licensing Windows for VDI Desktops on page 06).
Organizations can use App-V to stream applications to PCs that connect to the
VDI, to the VMs, or to both.
For more information about adding MDOP to your SA subscription, see
Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) page of the SA website.

System Center Configuration Manager


Configuration Manager provides a comprehensive management solution for
VDI to streamline provisioning and operations. Not only does it provide a
complete solution for managing the VDI infrastructure, it also provides asset,
application, usage, and desired-configuration management for desktops
physical or VDIacross the entire organization.
Similarly, Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager enables IT to
configure and deploy new VMs and manage VDI from a central console.
It offers end-to-end capabilities like planning, deploying, managing, and
optimizing VDI.
Organizations can license Configuration Manager through Configuration
Manager SA, which Core CAL and Microsoft Enterprise CAL (ECAL) include.
Also, by transitive property, Configuration Manager SA includes a Virtual
Machine Manager Client Management License (CML), enabling customers to
use Virtual Machine Manager to centrally create and manage VMs.
For more information about licensing Configuration Manager, see the System
Center homepage.

Organizations can license


Configuration Manager through
Configuration Manager SA, which
Core CAL and ECAL include. Also,
by transitive property, Configuration
Manager SA includes a Virtual
Machine Manager CML, enabling
customers to use Virtual Machine
Manager to centrally create and
manage VMs.

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Licensing Windows for VDI Desktops


Traditionally, organizations license Windows client operating systems such
as Windows 7 through original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and full
packaged product (FPP) licenses. However, these licenses do not permit the
flexibility that VDI requires, such as:
Access rights to VMs running Windows in the data center
The ability to move VMs across multiple server and storage devices
The ability to create and destroy VMs on demand
There was a need for a simple licensing model that would satisfy the wide
range of VDI architectures and technologies that exist today and will exist in
the future. Therefore, Microsoft developed a new licensing model for Windows

Figure 2

Licensing Windows
for VDI Desktops

Licensing Windows for VDI


SA, VDA, and Windows Intune help simplify
licensing Windows for VDI. They offer access rights
to VMs running Windows in the data center, the
ability to move VMs across multiple server and
storage devices, and the ability to create and
destroy VMs on demand.

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in a VDI: Organizations license it for each device that accesses the VDI
desktops, rather than per Windows installation on VMs in the data center.

BENEFITS OF SOFTWARE ASSURANCE AND


VIRTUAL DESKTOP ACCESS

This model simplifies ongoing license management for VDI. It provides

SA and VDA provide organizations with several key


benefits, including:

the flexibility to architect almost any kind of VDI solution that customers
want. At the same time, it aligns with Windows licensing for the rest of their

Windows Enterprise edition Organizations


can take advantage of the many benefits of
the Enterprise edition of Windows (e.g.,
Windows 7 Enterprise) for their VDI desktops
or for their access PCs. For more details, see
the Windows Enterprise homepage.

Roaming use rights The single primary user


of the SA or VDA licensed device can use a
non-corporate device (e.g., a personal device
or a public computer) to access his or her VDI
desktop without any additional licensing. This
allows organizations to be more flexible
without incurring additional licensing costs.
However, in order to invoke the roaming use
rights:

organization.
Figure 2 on page 06 shows three ways you can license Windows for VDI,
and the following sections describe them in more detail. Organizations must
license Windows for VDI regardless of the technology hosting it in the data
center. For example, they will need SA, VDA, or Windows Intune licenses for
Windows even if they are using a third-party VDI technology.

Software Assurance
SA is an annual device-based subscription that volume-licensing customers

The user must be the primary user of an


SA or VDA licensed device, and the
device cannot be shared.

The user must use a non-corporate


device to access the VDI desktop.

The non-corporate access device must be


outside the corporate domain. A personal
device used within the corporate domain
needs an additional VDA license.

have the option to purchase for their PCs running Windows Professional SKUs
or higher. SA includes VDA rights, giving those PCs the right to access VDI
desktops running Windows.
Additional SA benefits include support, training, and upgrade rights to the

Upgrade and downgrade


rights Organizations can upgrade to the
latest version of Windows or use earlier
versions of Windows as necessary. They can
ensure that they are always on the most
secure, efficient, and current version of
Windows for their VDI desktops and PCs.

Concurrent VM access SA and VDA


customers get rights to access up to four VDI
desktops concurrently. SA customers can also
access up to four local VMs by using client
hypervisor technologies.

most recent version of Windows (i.e., the Enterprise edition). Another benefit
of SA is the right to repurpose a PC as a thin client using Windows Thin PC,
reducing management and improving security at the VDI endpoint. SA also
provides the right to run Windows on local VMs by using client hypervisor
technologies.
You can learn more about SA for Windows client at the Software Assurance
website.

Other benefits of SA and VDA include training


vouchers, 24x7 support, and 90-day reassignment
rights for licenses.

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Virtual Desktop Access


VDA licensing is the recommended license for VDI access devices that do not
qualify for SA. VDA provides organizations with the ability to license Windows
for use via devices that do not traditionally come with a Windows license, such
as thin clients, smartphones, and tablet devices. Organizations can also use
VDA to license devices that the organization does not own, such as employees
home PCs and contractor devices.

VDA licensing is the recommended


license for VDI access devices that
do not qualify for SA (e.g., thin
clients, smartphones, employees
home PCs, and contractor PCs).

With a VDA license, organizations can deploy Windows 7 Enterprise on


their VDI desktops, and those desktops get all of the SA benefits (e.g., 24x7
support). Additionally, all SA and VDA devices get roaming rights that enable
the single primary user of the licensed device to access his or her VDI desktop
from a non-corporate (e.g., personal or public) device outside of the corporate
network.
For more information about VDA, see Windows Virtual Desktop Access on the
Software Assurance website.

Windows Intune
Windows Intune provides organizations with the tools and technologies to
manage and secure their PCs in the cloud. It also provides customers with SA
rights for each covered PC, including VDA rights. PCs covered with Windows
Intune can access a VDI desktop without any additional licensing.
For more information about Windows Intune, see the Windows Intune
homepage.

Windows Intune provides customers


with SA rights for each covered PC,
including VDA rights. PCs covered
with Windows Intune can access a
VDI desktop without any additional
licensing.

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VDI Suite
For customers that have very simple VDI requirements, Microsoft has created
the VDI Suite license bundle. It is a subscription-based license bundle that
provides the following licenses:
An RDS CAL thats restricted to deploying VMs only (no session
virtualization)
A CML for Configuration Manager thats restricted to Virtual Machine
Manager only
With the VDI Suite, customers can deploy VM-based desktops but not sessionbased desktops. In addition to the VDI Suite, SA or VDA is still required for
each client-access device. MDOP is an optional add-on for desktops covered
by SA.
The VDI Suite offers the following benefits:
Simplified licensing Along with VDA or SA, the VDI Suite provides a simple
way to license small-scale, simple VDI deployments.
Excellent value The VDI Suite provides an in-box solution for lowcomplexity environments. It is significantly less expensive than competitive
offerings.
For more information about licensing the VDI Suite, see Microsoft Virtual
Desktop Infrastructure page on the Windows Enterprise website.

VDI Suite is a subscription-based


license bundle that offers simplified
licensing and an excellent value.

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Licensing Scenarios
The following sections provide examples of VDI licensing scenarios.

Adventure Works
Adventure Works has 100 PCs and 100 thin clients at one location. The
company wants to provide a full VDI stack for all of its 150 employees.
Figure 3 illustrates the licenses that Adventure Works requires for its VDI
implementation.
Each device accessing VDI desktops requires licenses for the server and
management infrastructure (i.e., an RDS CAL, Windows Server CAL,
Figure 3

Adventure Works
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Adventure Works example


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Each device accessing VDI desktops requires


licenses for the server and management
infrastructure (i.e., an RDS CAL, Windows Server
CAL, Configuration Manager CML, and MDOP
license). SA provides virtual desktop rights for each
of the PCs, and VDA provides virtual desktop rights
for the thin clients.

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Configuration Manager CML, and MDOP license). SA provides virtual desktop


rights for each of the PCs, and VDA provides virtual desktop rights for the thin
clients.

Southridge Video
Southridge Video has 100 employees that will use thin clients at work
and their own PCs at home to access their VDI desktops. The company
also has 50 contractors that will use their own PCs to access VDI desktops.
Figure 4 describes the licenses that Southridge Video requires for its VDI
implementation.
Each device accessing VDI desktops requires licenses for the server and
management infrastructure (i.e., an RDS CAL, Windows Server CAL, and
Configuration Manager CML). VDA provides virtual desktop rights for the
Figure 4

Southridge Video
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Southridge Video example

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Each device accessing VDI desktops requires


licenses for the server and management
infrastructure (i.e., an RDS CAL, Windows Server
CAL, and Configuration Manager CML). VDA
provides virtual desktop rights for the companyowned thin clients and contractor-owned PCs.
Users home PCs do not require any additional
licensing because VDA provides roaming use rights.

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company-owned thin clients and contractor-owned PCs. Users home PCs do


not require any additional licensing because VDA provides roaming use rights.

Contoso, Ltd
Contoso, Ltd has a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) that already covers
its PCs with SA. The company also has Core CAL and Enrollment for Core
Infrastructure (ECI). It wants to deploy VDI for its 500 employees, and it wants
to use Windows Thin PC to repurpose its PCs as thin clients. Figure 5 shows the
licenses that Contoso, Ltd requires for VDI.
Because the companys PCs already have SA, it does not need any additional
licensing for Windows Thin PC or VDI. Also, because it already has Core CAL, it
does not need any additional Configuration Manager CMLs or Windows Server
CALs. The company needs only to purchase the additional RDS CALs for VDI.
Figure 5

Contoso, Ltd

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Woodgrove Bank
Woodgrove Bank is embracing the consumerization of IT by adopting VDI. As
a pilot, the company is allowing 100 employees to bring their non-Windows
tablets to work. Not only will Woodgrove Bank deliver VDI desktops to these

Because the companys PCs already have SA,


it does not need any additional licensing for
Windows Thin PC or VDI. Also, because it already
has Core CAL, it does not need any additional
Configuration Manager CMLs or Windows Server
CALs. The company needs only to purpose the
additional RDS CALs for VDI.

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devices, but it will also allow employees to access their VDI desktops from their
home PCs. Figure 6 shows the licenses that Woodgrove Bank requires for its
consumerization pilot.
Each device accessing VDI desktops requires licenses for the server and
management infrastructure (i.e., an RDS CAL, Windows Server CAL, and
Configuration Manager CML). VDA provides virtual desktop rights for the
employee-owned non-Windows tablets. Users home PCs require no additional
licensing because VDA provides roaming use rights.

Figure 6

Woodgrove Bank
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Woodgrove Bank example

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Each device accessing VDI desktops requires


licenses for the server and management
infrastructure (i.e., an RDS CAL, Windows Server
CAL, and Configuration Manager CML). VDA
provides virtual desktop rights for the employeeowned non-Windows tablets. Users home PCs
require no additional licensing because VDA
provides roaming use rights.

Licensing Microsofts Virtual


Desktop Infrastructure Technology

Summary
Microsoft VDI is a set of integrated products that deliver end-to-end
virtualization from the data center to end users. Depending on the
architecture, a VDI deployment might need the following licenses:
Hyper-V Licensed with Windows Server 2008 R2 or with the free edition.
RDS Licensed for each access device with an RDS CAL.
MDOP Licensed for each access device as an add-on subscription for SA.
Configuration Manager (with Virtual Machine Manager use
rights) Licensed with Configuration Manager SA, which Core CAL and
ECAL includes.
SA or VDA Licensed for each device connecting to the VDI desktops.
Many enterprises might already own licenses for Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1,
MDOP, Configuration Manager, and the Windows client through SA. Those
organizations are ready to deploy the full VDI solution by simply adding an
RDS CAL for each access device or user.
For more information, see the Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
homepage.

This document is provided as-is. Information and views expressed in this document, including URL and other Internet
Web site references, may change without notice. You bear the risk of using it.
Some examples depicted herein are provided for illustration only and are fictitious. No real association or connection is
intended or should be inferred.
This document does not provide you with any legal rights to any intellectual property in any Microsoft product. You may
copy and use this document for your internal reference purposes.
2012 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

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Many enterprises might already


own licenses for Windows Server
2008 R2 SP1, MDOP, Configuration
Manager, and the Windows client
through SA. Those organizations are
ready to deploy the full VDI solution
by simply adding an RDS CAL for
each access device or user.