Access device licensing for VDI


  • Hi,

    I would like to ask  for your help to solve the problem of Microsoft licensing for VDI stations designed for students of our faculty. We want to invest a lot of money in the project and I would like to be sure that we can open our services to students legally. Unfortunately, after many requests to Microsoft Partner in Israel - Aztek, we did not get any assurance about what products have to be purchased, so that our system will be legal according to Microsoft licensing rules.

    The fact that there may be a problem of licensing appeared to me, after I found the following document in internet It states that
    Microsoft licenses Desktop Windows for VDI per access device
    The access devices in our faculty are private computers of the students (we have about 1600 students). We want our  students to access  VDI stations also from their homes.
    It appears that only  computers which  have a VDA license or that are under SA software assurance agreement can connect legally to VDI installed with MS WIN10. This condition is fulfilled only by the computers that are on campus, but of course, we can't purchase VDA for each student private laptop.
    I found on the Internet, that the problem can be solved by installing VDI stations with OS = MS WINDOWS SERVER DATACENTER, instead of installing them with MS Windows 10. Presumably the access device licensing for desktop does not apply to the  VDI installed with MS WIN SERVER DATACENTER.
    There are additional CAL licensing requirement for each station and it can be provided  by the purchase of an EXTERNAL CONNECTOR .
    Is it right, that the two products will provide us the solution to the Microsoft licensing problem?
    (WinSvrDCCore SNGL LicSAPk OLP 16Lic NL Acdmc CoreLic Qlfd and WinSvrExtConn SNGL LicSAPk OLP NL Acdmc Qlfd)

    Are there any other solutions ?

    Many thanks,

    • Edited by ZoyaP Wednesday, August 8, 2018 8:05 AM
    Wednesday, August 8, 2018 7:58 AM

All replies

  • You really need to talk to a licensing expert.  This forum is a technical forum.  As such, it is not set up to answer legal questions that are acceptable to your lawyers and auditors.  Any 'answer' you receive here will just be an opinion, generally from someone who is not trained in the intricacies of Microsoft licensing.   If your current vendor is unable to answer your questions, either find another vendor or contact Microsoft directly.  You can find a local number to contact at


    Wednesday, August 8, 2018 12:30 PM
  • I have to +1 what Tim says because licensing is very tricky, especially in VDI, and even more so when educational licenses are in play. I'm sorry that you're not getting answers from your assigned representative, but you should try to escalate through that person's management infrastructure or find a more responsive Microsoft partner.

    I can tell you that Datacenter edition will not solve your problem. Datacenter guest licensing ONLY applies to Windows Server OS guests and only for the OS instance. Your problem is with access licenses. No access license of any kind can be satisfied by Datacenter virtualization rights.

    To make RDS work, you would set up a Remote Desktop Services licensing server and it will hand out licenses as necessary until depleted. If you don't want to pay for student devices, then Per User mode makes more sense for you. That's the angle that you need to investigate. But, one way or another, you will be licensing your students. VDI is an expensive solution. You can mitigate that (sometimes by a lot) with educational/academic licensing, but you cannot avoid per-user/per-device access licenses for VDI.

    Eric Siron
    Altaro Hyper-V Blog
    I am an independent contributor, not an Altaro employee. I accept all responsibility for the content of my posts. You accept all responsibility for any actions that you take based on the content of my posts.

    Wednesday, August 8, 2018 4:55 PM