Windows Azure Remote Desktop Services

Great news for the Virtual Desktop Interface (VDI) types out there: as of July 1, Microsoft now allows Remote Desktop Services (formerly called Terminal Services) licenses in Windows Azure Virtual Machines. Prior to this licensing update, you were only allowed to connect to the console of your VM for administrative purposes, and only up to two users at a time. With this new licensing modification, customers can now connect as many users as they have system capacity, and of course, licenses.

For complete details about licensing, please see:

The short version:

  • RDS Client Access Licenses (CALs) that are part of a a VL agreement are NOT eligible for license mobility rights, per the FAQ.
  • Windows Client desktops (Windows 7 or Windows 8) are also not allowed in Windows Azure, or any other Service Provider (Amazon, Rackspace, etc.) as multi-tenant hosting is not covered by PUR.
  • To increase users beyond the two administrative sessions you need to purchase RDS Subscriber Access Licenses (SALs) through the Microsoft Services Provider Licensing Agreement (SPLA) for each concurrent user accessing the VM. SPLA licenses are obtained through SPLA Resellers.

Common use cases include:

  • Partner-Hosted Microsoft Office: running a VM with Microsoft Office installed.
  • Thick-client application hosting (common RDP scenarios for complex, client-side applications).
  • Demo, test and legacy environments.

This is a major benefit to cost- and maintenance-conscious IT professionals, and yet another reason to get into the Cloud!

I’ll see you there.

About Michael Coates
I am a pragmatic evangelist. The products, services and solutions I write about fulfill real-world expectations and use cases. I stay up-to-date on real products I use and review, and share my thoughts here. I apply the same lens when designing an architecture, product or when writing papers. I am always looking for ways that technology can create or enhance a business opportunity .. not just technology for technology's sake. My CV says: Seasoned technology executive, leveraging years of experience with enterprise and integration architectural patterns, executed with healthy doses of business acumen and pragmatism. That's me. My web site says: Technology innovations provide a myriad of opportunities for businesses. That said, having the "latest and greatest" for its own sake isn't always a recipe for success. Business successes gained through exploiting innovation relies on analysis of how the new features will enhance your business followed by effective implementation. Goals vary far and wide: streamlining operations, improving customer experience, extending brand, and many more. In all cases, you must identify and collect the metrics you can apply to measure your success. Analysis must be holistic and balanced: business and operational needs must be considered when capitalizing on a new technology asset or opportunity.

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