RDS licensing



  • I'm trying to understand RDS licensing.

    As I understand it,

    Device based license - each device that will attach to a RDS server needs a unique license. If 60 computers/Thin Clients/phones, etc will connect to the RDS server, you need 60 licenses.

    User based licenses - each user, regardless of the number of devices they use, requires a unique license. If you have 60 users, you need 60 licenses.

    I'm getting my information from here: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc753650.aspx

    This does not absolve administrators from Microsoft Software License Terms requirements to have a valid RDS Per User CAL for each user.

    This line is the most definitive line I can find regarding the requirement that when using user licensing that each user must have their own license, regardless of how many people may be logged in at one time.



  • That is the way I always understood RDS licensing, each user requires a CAL and it is not concurrent use.



  • @brianlittlejohn said:

    That is the way I always understood RDS licensing, each user requires a CAL and it is not concurrent use.

    This is how I understood it too.


  • Service Provider

    That is my understanding as well and that copies Server CALs, which it should. You either license a user or license a device, I know of no "concurrent user" CAL system from Microsoft on any product.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    That is my understanding as well and that copies Server CALs, which it should. You either license a user or license a device, I know of no "concurrent user" CAL system from Microsoft on any product.

    Nor do I.

    When I dealt with Citrix a decade or more ago, It was always weird to me that they were concurrent based while the TS license was always per user/per device. I guess Citrix knew they were already so overpriced that ... well never mind that's just dumb too. It was just one more thing that had to be managed differently than the rest.



  • You have it right. We use RDS 2012 and have user CALs. I can have multiple RDS sessions (assuming that is administratively allowed in your RDS configuration) and still only use 1 CAL. You can still manage all of the sessions using RSAT's Server Manager.



  • A major point I'm trying to ensure is that I need a separate license for each user who logs in.

    Others have said that they were told by MS licensing people that that if you have 100 users, but only 10 will ever be on at once, that you only need to purchase 10 RDS licenses - their reasoning.. the license is assigned to a unique person while in use, but after logout, the license is released.

    As Scott said, I don't know of any MS products that work that way.



  • @Dashrender said:

    Others have said that they were told by MS licensing people that that if you have 100 users, but only 10 will ever be on at once, that you only need to purchase 10 RDS licenses - their reasoning.. the license is assigned to a unique person while in use, but after logout, the license is released.

    This is how I understood it, not that you need to cover all 100 people all the time, just the number of people who are using the system at current time.



  • @DustinB3403 said:

    @Dashrender said:

    Others have said that they were told by MS licensing people that that if you have 100 users, but only 10 will ever be on at once, that you only need to purchase 10 RDS licenses - their reasoning.. the license is assigned to a unique person while in use, but after logout, the license is released.

    This is how I understood it, not that you need to cover all 100 people all the time, just the number of people who are using the system at current time.

    And after seeing the above posts, do you still feel that is correct?



  • I do still feel it to be correct, but I could very well be wrong.

    Having to license a possible 100 people, when only 10 people might use it concurrently seems insane.

    As I've always understood it, you license what would be used concurrently, not the total base of users.

    If you have 100 users using it at the same time, then you need 100 licenses.

    If you have 100 users, but 20 may use it at once, you'd only buy 20 maybe 25 licenses to cover the few times that you might exceed your licensing.



  • @DustinB3403 said:

    I do still feel it to be correct, but I could very well be wrong.

    Having to license a possible 100 people, when only 10 people might use it concurrently seems insane.

    As I've always understood it, you license what would be used concurrently, not the total base of users.

    If you have 100 users using it at the same time, then you need 100 licenses.

    If you have 100 users, but 20 may use it at once, you'd only buy 20 maybe 25 licenses to cover the few times that you might exceed your licensing.

    Insane.... That is the definition of Microsoft Licensing.



  • So does every CAL have the users name written on it?

    What happens if that user dies, do you need to buy another CAL to get back to the 100 licenses?



  • @DustinB3403 said:

    So does every CAL have the users name written on it?

    What happens if that user dies, do you need to buy another CAL to get back to the 100 licenses?

    No, you have to have the number of CALs for each user that has the ability to connect. You can transfer CALs as people leave or job roles change, you just have to remove their access the the RDS server.



  • @brianlittlejohn Sorry that question was rhetorical.



  • @DustinB3403 said:

    @brianlittlejohn Sorry that question was rhetorical.

    haha... rhetorical doesn't come across well in a forum



  • So even if you have at most 20 people that would use the system at any given time, but 100 employees who need it throughout the day, you need to purchase 100 CAL's.

    That's insane, it makes no sense at all...

    I get buy extra to cover any overlap, but to have to buy 5 times the amount...



  • Yep... that sucks.


  • Service Provider

    @DustinB3403 said:

    That's insane, it makes no sense at all...

    Why? No different than nearly anything else that you license. That's how email works, Windows Server CALs, Office 2013... just about anything.


  • Service Provider

    @DustinB3403 said:

    So even if you have at most 20 people that would use the system at any given time, but 100 employees who need it throughout the day, you need to purchase 100 CAL's.

    If at most 20 people need to use it, then why not use device licensing instead of user licensing?



  • @DustinB3403 said:

    So even if you have at most 20 people that would use the system at any given time, but 100 employees who need it throughout the day, you need to purchase 100 CAL's.

    That's insane, it makes no sense at all...

    I get buy extra to cover any overlap, but to have to buy 5 times the amount...

    Yep, if you are going the user licensing route you would need 100 licenses. If they all use the same devices just license the devices.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @DustinB3403 said:

    That's insane, it makes no sense at all...

    Why? No different than nearly anything else that you license. That's how email works, Windows Server CALs, Office 2013... just about anything.

    Office actually doesn't work this way. Not FPP or VL (O365 does). Office is licensed per device, except in the case of RDS, then it's either device or user, like the RDS licenses. At least that's my understanding.

    If I have 50 users, but 75 computers and I want Office on all PCs, I need 75 licenses of FPP or VL.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said:

    If I have 50 users, but 75 computers and I want Office on all PCs, I need 75 licenses of FPP or VL.

    Yes, Office I guess comes in all kinds of license models. With O365 it is by user with at least five devices for each user.


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