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Topic # 173193 14-May-2015 15:02
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Hey all,

I am looking at licensing for Windows in a VPS environment, and I think I have a handle on the SPLA side, which as I understand allows licensing of specific (read, server focused) Microsoft products on a monthly basis to customers OUTSIDE your organisation.

However I am having a real problem getting definitive information on how to do a similar thing with client software, like Windows 7, Windows 8, etc.  As far as I can tell, if I have a Server 2012R2 Data Center license, I am covered for running as many VM's as possible in a VDI type environment, but I cannot find the information on if this covers users OUTSIDE an orgnaisation, i.e. like a VPS, or how any Windows VM's are licensed.

So what I want to know is:

 

     

  1. Is there a single license type that allows for both server and consumer products in a VPS environment?
  2. If not, am I correct in my understand of SPLA licensing covering only the specified Server products (like AX, SQL, Exchange, Windows Server, etc.)?
  3. If I wanted to offer a Windows 7 VPS, what licensing do I need for that?  Do I need a server licence beyond Windows Server DataCenter?  What client licenses do I need?

 

I also started to look into Office, and it SEEMS (again, very hard to pin down this information) that Office 365 can be loaded onto a VPS in a VDI environment, but I need clarification.

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  Reply # 1305212 14-May-2015 15:26
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These are all very good questions for a licensing specialist at a VAR.

Would be interested in what you find out.

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  Reply # 1305475 14-May-2015 21:26
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i don't think that licensing allows you to offer a Windows 7 VPS to someone outside your organization (i.e. SPLA).  I think you have to use Windows Server for that.

When you license your nodes with Windows Datacenter that typically covers you for unlimited virtual windows server guests.  It doesn't remove the need for Windows Server CALs though.

Your best option is, as suggested, to work through a licensing specialist to get the correct answer for what you're trying to do.  For SPLA, Express Data or Ingram Micro are SPLA distributors and they have licensing specialists on board.  Perhaps contacting them with your scenario is best option:

 

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/CloudandHosting/Licensing_Get_started_with_SPLA.aspx

 









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Twitter: @nzregs


 
 
 
 




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  Reply # 1305582 15-May-2015 08:55
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Regs: i don't think that licensing allows you to offer a Windows 7 VPS to someone outside your organization (i.e. SPLA).  I think you have to use Windows Server for that.


And that's the part I got stuck on.  It seems (and I will clarify with a licensing specialist) that there are two ways to do this:

1) SPLA for Server products
2) Windows Server DataCenter for 'consumer' products such as Windows 7

I think Microsoft so produce a simple flowchart:

1) Become a partner
2) Find a local SPLA vendor
3) Sign up for SPLA
4) Obtain Windows Server DataCenter
5) Create VM's
6) Profit!


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  Reply # 1305605 15-May-2015 09:32
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Pretty sure a lot of "Workspace" vendors do Windows Server with Desktop Experience installed to get around this.



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  Reply # 1305608 15-May-2015 09:37
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wasabi2k: Pretty sure a lot of "Workspace" vendors do Windows Server with Desktop Experience installed to get around this.

 


You mean on Window Server?  Yeah I thought of this, only problem is that installing software can be hit-and-miss if the installer checks and see's its not Windows 7, 8, etc.  Microsoft software (like Office) is fine in this environment, but others not so good.

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  Reply # 1307608 19-May-2015 08:44
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Hi,

Licensing VDI is an extremely complicated subject, and I would certainly repeat the advice of others that you should talk to a licenisng specialist to get the correct advice.
Having said that, here are a few quick pointers to get you started:

SPLA is an agreement between a Service Provider and Microsoft, and allows the Provider to host software services and applications for their customers. SPLA includes many MS products including servers and desktop applications such as Visio and Project. 

In a typical VPS scenario, the Provider would license their hosts with Windows DataCenter under SPLA (which allows unlimited VMs), and then charge a monthly fee per VM to their customers. The customers would then use their own licenses to stand up applications on these VMs.

For the delivery of Virtual Desktops (VDI), things get much more complicated. 

To access a virtual desktop (Windows 7/8 etc) customers require a VDA Subscription. When a customer licenses their client device with Windows and Software Assurance (SA), they receive this automatically, however for thin clients that are not licensed with Windows OS a VDA Subscription needs to be purchased. Windows OS and VDA are not available under SPLA, so the customer must supply these licenses.

It is also important to note that the Service Provider must use dedicated hardware for each customer they are delivering VDI to – multi-tenancy is not supported by MS licensing at this time.

Due to the restrictions and costs involved with the above, it is much simpler to offer Windows Server as a desktop instead of Windows OS. This removes the requirement for VDA licenses – in most case RDS CALs are all that is required. However, there can be issues with application compatability, printing etc.

Hope this helps!



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  Reply # 1307624 19-May-2015 09:29
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Postie: Hi,

Licensing VDI is an extremely complicated subject, and I would certainly repeat the advice of others that you should talk to a licenisng specialist to get the correct advice.
Having said that, here are a few quick pointers to get you started:

SPLA is an agreement between a Service Provider and Microsoft, and allows the Provider to host software services and applications for their customers. SPLA includes many MS products including servers and desktop applications such as Visio and Project. 

In a typical VPS scenario, the Provider would license their hosts with Windows DataCenter under SPLA (which allows unlimited VMs), and then charge a monthly fee per VM to their customers. The customers would then use their own licenses to stand up applications on these VMs.

For the delivery of Virtual Desktops (VDI), things get much more complicated. 

To access a virtual desktop (Windows 7/8 etc) customers require a VDA Subscription. When a customer licenses their client device with Windows and Software Assurance (SA), they receive this automatically, however for thin clients that are not licensed with Windows OS a VDA Subscription needs to be purchased. Windows OS and VDA are not available under SPLA, so the customer must supply these licenses.

It is also important to note that the Service Provider must use dedicated hardware for each customer they are delivering VDI to – multi-tenancy is not supported by MS licensing at this time.

Due to the restrictions and costs involved with the above, it is much simpler to offer Windows Server as a desktop instead of Windows OS. This removes the requirement for VDA licenses – in most case RDS CALs are all that is required. However, there can be issues with application compatability, printing etc.

Hope this helps!


Thanks for the info Postie.  I had read most of that over several threads on the Interwebs, and I am currently waiting for a call back from a licensing specialist.  But it is nice to read it all in one simply reply!

I think I have the SPLA sorted (well, license wise).  It is actually quite a simple area for the products it covers.  Get Windows DataCentre, create VM's, host MS apps, charge for them.  No licensing required for 'customers'.  Nice and easy.

However as you say, the VDI part gets very complicated.  I think it is easier to get customers to sort out their own licenses (BYOL).  I am pretty sure that this is a supported license scenario, and doesn't required dedicated hosting per customer (but I could be wrong there).  I do think that with Windows Server DataCenter, VDI and either VDA or Client CAL's this can be done.  Just need to sort the multi-tenancy part.

I am pretty sure that is how the VPS companies that do this get around it.  OR they just offer an unlicensed 'demo' version of Windows for the 90(?) days it is valid for.  Anyone know?  For example cyberhub.co.nz offer Windows 7 VPS's on a monthly basis.

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  Reply # 1307691 19-May-2015 10:59
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The requirement for dedicated hardware is a big issue facing DaaS providers at the moment. Its a particular problem for small customers, as DaaS providers just are not interested due to the high infrastructure costs.

I would question how anyone can comply with Microsofts terms around this and still offer a Windows 7 desktop at a fixed price. Most likely they don't understand their obligations as a Service Provider, or understand it but choose to take the risk. There have been some very well documented cases of this in the past, most public case was OnLive - Google "OnLive Microsoft Compliance" for some background.



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  Reply # 1307703 19-May-2015 11:23
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Postie: The requirement for dedicated hardware is a big issue facing DaaS providers at the moment. Its a particular problem for small customers, as DaaS providers just are not interested due to the high infrastructure costs.

I would question how anyone can comply with Microsofts terms around this and still offer a Windows 7 desktop at a fixed price. Most likely they don't understand their obligations as a Service Provider, or understand it but choose to take the risk. There have been some very well documented cases of this in the past, most public case was OnLive - Google "OnLive Microsoft Compliance" for some background.


Wow, that is some INTERESTING reading!  And giving up an MVP status shows it was (and still is I guess) a major issue.

I would love to know how CyberHub are doing it, I will have to flick them an email and find out.

So it comes down to either:

1) Use SPLA and stick with the server products, and if a desktop is needed, use the Desktop Experience on Server 2012R2
2) If a Windows 7 desktop is needed, refer to point 1, or charge a bomb to host on dedicated hardware


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Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 1307956 19-May-2015 19:28
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Yep, that's about right.

Essentially if you are going to offer Windows desktops make sure the customer accepts responsibility for licensing it correctly.

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