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RDS Licensing for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

RDS Licensing for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is a powerful solution for providing remote access to desktop environments. However, licensing within a VDI environment can be complex, especially when it involves Remote Desktop Services (RDS). In this guide, we’ll delve into RDS licensing for VDI and provide insights to help you navigate Microsoft’s licensing guidelines effectively.

Table of Contents:

Understanding RDS and VDI

Remote Desktop Services (RDS):

RDS enables the delivery of virtual desktops and applications to remote users. It provides features like session-based desktops and virtualized applications, making it a vital component of VDI.

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI):

VDI allows you to create and manage virtual desktops on a centralized server. Users can access these desktops from thin clients or remote devices, providing flexibility and remote access.

RDS Licensing Models

Microsoft offers various RDS licensing models, which can be applied to VDI environments:

  1. Per User CALs: In this model, each user who accesses RDS within the VDI environment must have a User CAL. This license allows users to access RDS sessions from any device.

  2. Per Device CALs: Device CALs are assigned to individual devices within the VDI environment. Any user who accesses RDS from that device is covered by the CAL.

  3. RDS SALs (Subscriber Access Licenses): These licenses are available through Microsoft 365, offering access to RDS services. Users or devices with RDS SALs can access RDS in a VDI setup.

VDI Licensing Requirements

For RDS within a VDI environment, consider the following:

  • Windows Client OS: VDI clients require a valid Windows Client Operating System license. This includes Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) licensing for non-Windows clients.

  • RDS CALs: In addition to Windows Client OS licensing, you need RDS CALs for users or devices accessing RDS services within the VDI environment.

  • Microsoft 365: If using RDS SALs through Microsoft 365, ensure your users or devices are properly licensed for RDS access.

Compliance and Best Practices

To ensure compliance and effective RDS licensing within your VDI environment:

  • Regularly audit and maintain your licenses and CALs.
  • Educate your IT and administrative staff on licensing requirements.
  • Seek professional guidance or consult with Microsoft to clarify specific licensing needs.
  • Implement a software asset management (SAM) system to manage and track licenses efficiently.

RDS licensing within a VDI setup can be intricate, but understanding the requirements and following Microsoft’s guidelines is crucial. By aligning your licensing strategy with your VDI implementation, you can ensure compliance, maximize the efficiency of your virtual desktop environment, and avoid potential licensing issues.

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