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Old 01-28-2013, 05:31 AM   #1
b4u
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Default Windows 8 License for new Virtualization Server

Hi,

I'm thinking about building a server machine for virtualization. This machine will be running Proxmox or, if by any change it's not the best option, it will run a Linux OS with virtualization software.

This server will maintain virtual machines with several OS, like Linux machines and Windows machines. My main questions comes with licensing these Microsoft machines (since Linux poses no problem here).

I'm thinking about Windows 8 desktop machines, and I don't know how does it work. For a start, 2 VM's will be required, and I truly believe that latter on, some physical desktop machines will be replaced by VM's (it's just a matter of the boss realizing it's the way to go).

Access will be made by RDP, and the physical machines for the client RDP it's not the main concern here, they will have proper licensed machines.

1# Will a Windows 8 Server have a choice of coming with some desktop licenses included? (In case it's required a Windows Server, it could be an option too)

2# Do I need any minimum edition, like Professional, to be allowed to virtualize? (I believe Pro is the version I need, since I want to connect through RDP and potentially domain connection)

3# Will I be best served with volume licensing? So I can volume license 5 machines, start with 2 VM's and duplicate VM's as I require until I reach the maximum?

4# Since I'm buying a new machine for virtualization, am I entitled to by OEM versions of the Windows 8 Pro I want to virtualize? (I would then buy 5 Win8ProOEM versions with the new computer)

5# For those machines, Office will be required. Does it have the same situation? Can I use virtual licensing?

6# For Office, I found that "Office 2010 Office Home and Business" costs 280$ for 1 user, 2 PCs. So if a user works with 2 VM's, I can install that license on both VM's?


Thanks
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:40 AM   #2
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One thing I do know from doing VDI, if you are going to access those windows desktops via RDP from any computer that doesn't' have software assurance, you are going to need to buy VDA licenses. Microsoft defines VDI as accessing a 'client' version of windows (win 7 or 8) running on a server via any means of connectivity (such as RDP, View, etc). So if you want to be legit, plan for that. The cost for VDA is $100 per year per device (not virtual machines, but each device that will access said virtual machine). So if you do RDP from your Desktop, notebook, and ipad you are looking at $300 per year per virtual machine.

Otherwise, just buy two licenses of everything or don't, but know either way you are technically in violation of MS licensing.
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:46 AM   #3
b4u
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sourceninja View Post
One thing I do know from doing VDI, if you are going to access those windows desktops via RDP from any computer that doesn't' have software assurance, you are going to need to buy VDA licenses. Microsoft defines VDI as accessing a 'client' version of windows (win 7 or 8) running on a server via any means of connectivity (such as RDP, View, etc). So if you want to be legit, plan for that. The cost for VDA is $100 per year per device (not virtual machines, but each device that will access said virtual machine). So if you do RDP from your Desktop, notebook, and ipad you are looking at $300 per year per virtual machine.

Otherwise, just buy two licenses of everything or don't, but know either way you are technically in violation of MS licensing.
So let's say I have a VM with a legit version of Windows 8, and also have a laptop connected to the network, with a legit version of say ... Windows 7.

So for me to connect through RDP to the VM, which by itself can only run 1 session active, I have to pay for VDA???

I'm waiting for a response to know if I get shocked or not

I work in a company with hundreds of computers. I use RDP daily to connect to servers and remote desktops, how does a company like this stays legit?


Thanks
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:26 PM   #4
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According to our licensing rep. this is how it works.

If your connecting to another physical desktop (ie. one used by another person) for example to perform support on them, then you do not need a VDA license. If you are RDPing into a server OS you also do not need the VDA license. However, if you are running a desktop completely virtual and you do not have software assurance on your device (your desktop or laptop), then you must have a VDA license to connect to that desktop.

So in your example, if you have a win8 VM and your windows 7 laptop does not have software assurance then you need a VDA license. If you suddenly got a windows 7 desktop without software assurance, to connect to the same win8 VM you need ANOTHER VDA license.

Your company may have software assurance with their microsoft agreement or they may simply not realize they are breaking the licensing agreement with microsoft. We broke the rule for a long time and only found out when we went to get a campus agreement.

So if you run a microsoft desktop OS virtually, and you do not have software assurance on your physical desktops (this would even apply to a thin client or a linux desktop trying to connect to the virtual desktop) then you need VDA licenses.

Personally, I think microsoft does this to make sure they make their money in pooled desktop situations like we use for labs. We have a pool of desktops that students can use when they log in. We have way more thin clients then we have desktops because not ever room is in use at the same time all day. Without their VDA license they would be losing money. I also personally think it is a bullshit license and honestly wish some large company would challenge them on it. They are essentially charging you for technology that has nothing to do with them (in our example installing vmware view on windows desktops).

Last edited by sourceninja; 01-28-2013 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 01-28-2013, 01:06 PM   #5
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Microsoft seems to make licensing as confusing as possible intentionally.

That being said, servers use a whole different licensing scheme than workstations. CALs dictate how many users can be connected to that server, and RDS CALs dictate how many users can use any sort of anything that leverages remote desktop. Thats not even getting into virtualization, server licenses based on number of physical and logical processors, and all that other crazy stuff. It really just makes things obnoxiously confusing for small businesses, the big guys just say "give me enterprise licensing so our IT and legal departments dont have to deal with your BS" and pay the markup for the convenience of easily staying legal.

That being said, for home use as long as you have legit, activated versions of the software the odds of MS coming after you are pretty much nonexistent. It's not technically legal, but there's nothing technical stopping you from doing this either.

Last edited by Dstoop; 01-28-2013 at 01:08 PM.
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Old 01-28-2013, 02:00 PM   #6
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If you are needing to host windows 8 VM's and are already a windows shop why are you not looking at Hyper-V in Server 2012?
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Old 01-28-2013, 03:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dstoop View Post

That being said, for home use as long as you have legit, activated versions of the software the odds of MS coming after you are pretty much nonexistent. It's not technically legal, but there's nothing technical stopping you from doing this either.
That was a little bit of my point, which was to not worry about what the licensing allows because the licensing is so F'ed up it's not worth it. Unless of course your the IT manager/CIO/etc of a company, then you better CYA.
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Old 01-28-2013, 03:48 PM   #8
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I worked in a company that decided to do server based VMs to try to avoid upgrading their desktop hardware and OS's, the plan being it would be dramatically easier to upgrade and maintain. In practice the GUI lag wasn't really acceptable to many users and it was an unmitigated failure and they ended up replacing all the desktops with Windows 7 anyway. RDP is good for getting access but its far from productive all day every day and especially problematic with resources shared on the server.

I don't know if that was what you were planning but thought I better mention it.
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrightCandle View Post
I worked in a company that decided to do server based VMs to try to avoid upgrading their desktop hardware and OS's, the plan being it would be dramatically easier to upgrade and maintain. In practice the GUI lag wasn't really acceptable to many users and it was an unmitigated failure and they ended up replacing all the desktops with Windows 7 anyway. RDP is good for getting access but its far from productive all day every day and especially problematic with resources shared on the server.

I don't know if that was what you were planning but thought I better mention it.
VDI can be done right and lag free. I've replaced end user desktops with thin clients and they called me later to thank me for the upgrade. However, you have to know what you are doing and you are not going to save any money. The TCO worked out to be the exact same price for our VDI setup vs buying new Dell desktops. Now we would have saved costs if we needed more than a few hundred, but our needs are not that great. But that's a discussion for a different thread.
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:53 PM   #10
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I understand that for thin clients, forcing an SA would make "some" logic. But when we are talking about buying a full Win8Pro for a VM and a full Win7 legit laptop for connecting, it feels a steal!

The company I work for is a typical company with lots of machines, and that should pay hard cash to stay legit, or at least I think so.

This virtualization I'm question about is for a small personal project, where a small company would be best served with such a solution. At the moment, I've put a physical machine available through RDP, and the next move would be to replace 2 old machines (out of 5) for VM's. I knew they could be some notes to take care of about licenses on virtual environments, but I never thought it would be as you presented ... it's like a "deal breaker" ... it's like taking VM out of reach for ordinary users, just because of licenses, even though they pay every OS installation.

For the lag, I was initially thinking about an 8-core AMD with 32Gb, that would help provide resources for individual VM's, and I would be opening a new forum thread with detailed specs to get your opinions about it. Now I'm shocked with licensing!
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b4u View Post
I understand that for thin clients, forcing an SA would make "some" logic. But when we are talking about buying a full Win8Pro for a VM and a full Win7 legit laptop for connecting, it feels a steal!
The VDA license is really to encourage you to pay more for SA. If you use an thin client, linux machine, osx, etc you must buy a VDA, but if you have windows, you can just 'upgrade' to SA and your covered. In fact, this is how we saved a bit of money on our last classroom. We used old computers that had windows XP with SA, replaced the shell with a small script to just launch the vmware view client. We were already paying for SA, so why buy VDA licenses to run thin clients?

Quote:
Originally Posted by b4u View Post
The company I work for is a typical company with lots of machines, and that should pay hard cash to stay legit, or at least I think so.

This virtualization I'm question about is for a small personal project, where a small company would be best served with such a solution. At the moment, I've put a physical machine available through RDP, and the next move would be to replace 2 old machines (out of 5) for VM's. I knew they could be some notes to take care of about licenses on virtual environments, but I never thought it would be as you presented ... it's like a "deal breaker" ... it's like taking VM out of reach for ordinary users, just because of licenses, even though they pay every OS installation.
I think MS seriously wants VDI to be out of reach, at least until you reach a level where you want to use microsoft campus agreements and all microsoft technology. At that level you just don't care about the little nickel and dime stuff. However, when you look at the cost of a desktop, the extra hundred bucks for a VDA (although yearly) is a small price to pay for the advantages of a well setup and managed VDI environment. I think even a small business can afford that. For your personal use however, I say screw it and just run the virtual machines. Even as a small business I'd consider not buying VDA licenses and just running the risk (If I owned the company). Microsoft really has no reliable way to know if your virtual machine is VDI or is accessed locally.

In reality though, if you read MS licensing agreements there are a lot of things technically would require licensing most people are not buying. For example, if you ran a apache web server (WAMP) that users authenticate to, then you need cals for those users (or a external license). How would microsoft enforce this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by b4u View Post
For the lag, I was initially thinking about an 8-core AMD with 32Gb, that would help provide resources for individual VM's, and I would be opening a new forum thread with detailed specs to get your opinions about it. Now I'm shocked with licensing!
With the limited number of systems you listed, I wouldn't be too worried about performance. I would look at running a dedicated hypervisor OS instead of linux to get the most 'bang for your buck' but even that might be unnecessary. Most VDI performance issues are disk access issues (not enough IOPS). I was able to run 50 desktops on a dual quad core xeon (2.4ghz) with 96 gigs of ram and had enough overhead to probably put another 10 on there if I wanted to. The secret was in high performing local disk (15k SAS and SSD). I'll wait for that thread.
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