Windows Server 2008 R2 includes changes to Microsoft license terms that enable firms to build virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI) without suffering a headache over licensing.
Microsoft’s new VDI Standard Suite and VDI Premium Suite client access licenses (CALs) bundle a range of Windows technologies together into simple per-user packages. The idea is for customers to use the licenses packs to build on top of Microsoft’s free Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 virtual server offering. A great call for IT managers deploying VDI using Microsoft technologies.
VDI Standard Suite includes the core products and CALs needed to manage simple VDI environments. Included in the basic bundle are a Remote Desktop Services CAL (RDS CAL), which includes a basic connection broker; Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) including App-V, System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) Client Management License and Standard Server Management License, plus a System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) Standard Server Management License. The Premium Suite adds CALs for Remote Desktop Services (previously called Terminal Services, or TS CALs) and a license to use App-V for RDS.
However, those hoping for a simple answer to a simple question will need to wait a little longer.
According to Microsoft, “The VDI Suites are designed to complement the per device subscription model of VECD”, so the VDI Suite licenses don’t include VDI version licenses for desktop operating systems such as Windows XP. Also, Microsoft says virtualization hosts with mixed VDI and server virtualization workloads cannot be licensed through the VDI Suites. In other words, if your Hyper-V servers host a mix of desktops and server workloads you can’t use these licenses. You’ll also need to buy Windows Server 2008 licenses for the systems used to host SC VMM and the other management tools.
Virtualization specialist VMware has similar per-user license options for its VMware View VDI platform.