Microsoft Licensing & DaaS: You asked...we answered! Part 1 Licensing

October 15th, 2012

We had so many fantastic questions following our recent Microsoft Licensing & Delivering DaaS webinar, that we've decided to follow up with a multi-part blog series.  Check back with our blog all this week as we answer your questions addressing everything from licensing, to hardware, to documentation and cost.

Part I - Licensing

Q: Any idea, why Microsoft is not delivering what the customers and Service Providers want? I would suppose that they want to offer something similar of their own!
A: I cannot comment with any authority on why Microsoft adopts the model that they do.  My guess is that as the Windows OS is a core part of their revenue stream, they are very sensitive to anything that may disrupt their legacy model.

Q: If a computer is licensed for Windows 7 is reimaged with Linux as the host and then access the virtual desktop, does that Windows 7 license commute to a VDA license?
A: The Windows 7 license does not “commute” to a Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) license.  VDA rights are available when a device is licensed with a qualifying operating system license and also covered by Software Assurance for Windows.  Please see

Q: Do you see more customers evolving to hosted apps vs hosted desktops, removing the OS licensing challenges?
A: I do fully expect two events to take place in the longer term: firstly that what we perceive as the desktop (the Windows runtime) will evolve away from the model it is now with all its embedded apps and data, and secondly that more and more organizations will migrate to a hosted apps and hosted data model. I do not expect that these will be easy or instantaneous migrations.  It will be a process that is aided by virtualization and new desktop models.

Q: So, if the employer assigns me a smart phone, a  Droid tablet laptop and tower, do all devices not need VDA licenses?
A: In this specific scenario, you would most likely purchase both a VDA and Companion Subscription License (CSL) license for the tower.  The CSL license would then cover primary user of the licensed device for up to four companion devices.

Q: I thought the licensing for extra endpoints was predicated on WHO owns the endpoint device.
A: If a device is licensed with both VDA and CSL, the CSL covers the primary user of the licensed device for up to four companion devices.  If a device is licensed with VDA only, Roaming Use Rights allow the primary user of a licensed device may access a Windows virtual machine remotely from a personally-owned PC.

Q: How does MS validate VDA and CSL licenses?
A: If you are referring to the application of the license, the VDA license is applied to the virtual Windows operating system in the datacenter.  Ironically, it is not the OS that is being licensed, but this makes sense because there is no way to apply a license key to a thin client or iPad.  To my knowledge, Microsoft does not provide a simple mechanism to audit the actual compliance with the licensing terms.

If you have additional questions, ask them here and our CTO Danny Allan will answer them.

Read Part II:

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Posted by Danny Allan

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As Sr. Director, Technical Marketing for VMware [formerly Desktone], Danny Allan is responsible for developing VMware’s technical and service delivery strategy for DaaS.
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