Microsoft have made some changes to their licensing, specifically aimed at making VDI adoption easier and more cost effective.
VDI with Microsoft is done via VECD (Virtual Enterprise Centralised Desktop) and there are 2 types of VECD licence available, one for machines without Software Assurance and one for machines with SA, priced at:
VECD (for users without SA) = $110 per device per year
VECD for SA (for users with SA) = $23 per device per year
So, although greatly reduced, there is still an extra cost on top of a customer’s investment in Software Assurance.
However, from July 1st 2010, Software Assurance for Windows Client will include the VECD licence at no extra charge; simultaneously reducing the barriers to VDI adoption and increasing the amazing benefits and ROI that Software Assurance offers…good work Redmond!
Also from that date, machines without SA will be covered by a Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) licence, priced at $100.
July 1st also gives customers licensed with the above the rights to access their virtual desktop from secondary, non-corporate machines such as home PC’s, hotel machines etc.
Microsoft VECD (Virtual Enterprise Centralised Desktops) is their required licensing offering for companies looking to run Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) setups. For more general info on VDI, see my posts here and here and my VECD post is here.
VECD licensing can be quite confusing to get right for the various different scenarios that might pop up, so Microsoft have made a handy pdf to show how it works for a variety of different possible situations.
You’ll notice in scenario 2 that although there are 150 VM’s (Virtual Machines) being accessed, you only need to licence the number of machines, in this case 100. You can have an unlimited number of instances (of the OS) stored on the server and each machine can access up to 4 running instances at a time.
This is an interesting scenario and I in fact answered a question about this on Twitter just today :-) VECD is a device based licence BUT it gives Work at Home (WAH) rights to a specific named user of that machine; this mixing of device/user, while perfectly sensible, does lead to some confusion. These WAH rights help make VECD and VDI nice and flexible.
There are more scenarios on the pdf (which is why my scenario 3 is their 4!) as well as a lot more great info, and you can download it from:
For me at least, I had to save the pdf and then open it; if I tried to open it from the site it gave me an error. It’s down near the bottom, the “VDI Licensing Brochure” mentioned 5 lines from the end :-)