This subject is very important for all View setups and designs, especially for the SMB. Which Microsoft OS packages are best for VMware View implementations?
The answer is, as always, it depends 🙂
First we have several ways of licensing desktops; OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), FPP (Full Packaged Product), Volume Licensing and SA (Software Assurance).
- OEM: Pre-installed on hardware manufactured by authorized computer manufacturers. These licenses are non transferable and are not an option in VDI infrastructures.
- FPP: Boxed software sold by resellers. Includes one license for retail machines. Not used with large-scale VDI deployments. Can be used as a single VM per server (not really an option), or buy a another FPP for each VM that will accessed on a device with a FPP (cheaper to get SA). Can not move VM’s between servers.
- VL: Used by organization that need five or more licenses. Has the same limitations as FPP licenses. Can be used with VDA (Virtual Desktop Access) subscriptions.
- SA: Upgrade from VL. Includes VDA rights.
Second we have the two licensing offerings that can be used in View environments.
- Software Assurance Windows Virtual Desktop Access Use Right (SA).
- Can not use this with Zero clients.
- Only usable with licensed PCs.
- Roaming rights – user can access their VM on corporate devices.
- Windows Virtual Desktop Access subscription (VDA) using VL.
- If using Zero Client you will need VDA.
- Monthly fee – paid per year – contract for 3 years.
- About 100$ p. year for each device
- Access to Win 7, Vista and XP on View virtual machine
- Single licence allows 4 concurrent access to 4 VM’s
- Reassignment rights to another device after 90 days, or in case of a failure.
- KMS or MAK activation.
- Call support + other SA stuff (training and such)
- Extended roaming rights – user can access their desktop on personal devices.
- OS entitlement: Win 7 Enterprise, Win 7 Pro.
- *Note; not available for Campuses or Schools.
So there you have two packages, but what about availability?
- You can either buy VDA licences for their solution or upgrade their current licence agreement to include SA.
- SA is available from any Microsoft representative.
- VDA subscription is available as an additional product on most organizations agreements.
Examples of use:
- 100 Devices, but only 50 concurrent users = 100 VDA licences or part of SA
- 50 thin clients, 50 devices= 50 VDA licences for thin clients (and 50 for the device if not under SA)
- 100 Devices, accessing 150 VMs = Part of SA, or 100 VDA licensing.
- So as you can see its, all about devices, and if you are using thin clients you need licences for each client.
- Occasional use: no additional licences if the user is the primary user of the device in work.
- I’m not sure what occasional use is or what primary user means. But this is the one for employee owned tablets and PCs.
- 100% home users: VDA licence for each device, even if its employee owned.
Contractor PC’s: VDA licence for each device within 6 months.
So there you have it:
- Either you have SA or buy an additional VDA subscription for your organization agreements.
- If you will be using Thin clients, you will need a VDA licence for each.
- Licence amount depend on device count, and seemingly if the device has a “main” user.
- Note: As Ian Forbes (thanks!) pointed out in the comments, is that you will need CALs (on the server side, AD etc) for the VDI VMs just to connect to various Microsoft services. So make sure to include those licences as well as a part of a design (if they aren’t a part of a higher level licencing, like SA or ELA agreements).
You can also read everything about Microsoft Desktop licensing here: