A few weeks ago, we struck a nerve with two back-to-back articles dealing with Microsoft Licensing (here and here), so this week we decided to ask Nathan Coutinho to join us as a guest.
A few weeks ago, we struck a nerve with two back-to-back articles dealing with Microsoft Licensing (here and here), so this week we decided to ask Nathan Coutinho to join us as a guest. Nathan's official title is Enterprise Server, Storage & Virtualization Solutions Manager at CDW, but to us he's the BriForum Licensing Expert.
Today's topics included:
- Software Assurance licensing versus Virtual Desktop Access licensing
- what device qualify for Certificate of Authenticity (COA) licenses
- using Windows Server as a desktop
- compliance and working with Microsoft
- what qualifies as a 'primary device' for licensing purposes
- and much more (even including a bit of TS vs. VDI)!
Tune in next time for more, and remember, you can chat with us to have your questions answered, live on the air.
(note, we outsource our transcription service, so there might be a few attribution errors)
Gabe Knuth: Alright, welcome to Brian and Gabe live for the Michigan/Ohio State week of 2011, what is today, November 22nd, in Omaha, I’m Gabe Knuth and I got to do the intro today.
Brian Madden: Congratulations! Uh, in San Francisco, I’m Brian Madden.
Jack Madden: And I’m Jack Madden also in San Francisco, and joining us via Chicago, via Skype, we have Nathan Coutinho so Nathan, thanks for joining us today.
Nathan Coutinho: Absolutely thank you and good morning everyone.
Jack Madden: And a lot of you probably know Nathan from BriForum uh, you, you, Nathan you gave a session at BriForum, was it, one time or twice, about Microsoft licensing for desktop virtualization, right?
Nathan Coutinho: Right, it was actually not 2011 but I did in 2009 and 2010.
Jack Madden: And now does this mean that you are sort of type cast with the stink of being, licensing Microsoft virtualization licensing expert?
Nathan Coutinho: You know, not exactly but, you know, it’s a very important topic so I cover it, and I try to cover it in a way that makes sense to everyone because I realize it means a lot of different things to different people, especially with the variety of ways you can do this, right? So, uh, I don’t, I don’t think people get angry with me but they definitely have a lot of great questions so hopefully we can replicate that today as well.
Jack Madden: And, and to be clear, so you work for CDW, you don’t work for uh, Microsoft, this is just a, your, your hobby, if you will.
Nathan Coutinho: Kind of sad I know, yeah, so I do work for CDW, um, this is actually a smaller part of my overall roll at CDW. I actually have several teams that cover Cloud and virtualization, obviously client virtualization and uh, about six years ago uh, we started getting knee deep in Microsoft licensing because we had to. It wasn’t a choice. We obviously have large licensing teams at CDW today that we actually rely on. I rely on them because they, they know this stuff inside out. But, for us to make sense of it as for how it applies to products and to individual customers that’s kind of where we come in.
Brian Madden: So is there, to kind of set this show up, Gabe I guess you, you and Nathan had some conversations a few weeks ago about licensing and that sort of lead us to the idea of having a show.
Gabe Knuth: Yeah, so what started all of this was a conversation that uh, I think we actually talked about before where, actually when we wrote the articles that Jack had with ClearCube about licensing Thin Clients’ in a way that was cheaper than buying VDA. Uh and so that prompted me to call Nathan and say, okay, you know, how the hell can they do this? Um, at the same time though, and we don’t normally talk about our editorial schedule, it was like Monday you put up an article about how to use Windows Server 2008 on Data Center uh, as a cheap VDI, uh, isn’t that, something like that, right? It was, yeah, and, and then the very next day is when I follow up with if you can use SA for Think Clients by buying a Windows license and throwing it in a drawer.
So, you know, we had licensing week unintentionally a few weeks ago. And so Nathan’s information helped out correct something on your article uh, it helped me write stuff for mine, but apparently I still didn’t get it all right and uh, honestly when I called him we had such a good conversation and we got about 10,000 views between those two articles and we just thought, why not, let’s bring him on the show and, and see if we can make a show of it and maybe even take a call or two.
Brian Madden: Oh yeah, so we have two firsts for this week’s show. The first thing is that we actually have a telephone hooked up and it doesn’t, we don’t have a switchboard or anything like that, we literally have a phone plugged into the mixer. Uh, so you are able to call in, I don’t actually have the number in front of me. Um, but that’s, but we’re not going to, you have to call in and if it’s busy then call back I guess. Um –
Gabe Knuth: 716-245-4838
Brian Madden: Yeah can someone write that down and post it somewhere? Um, the other thing we have first is we actually have um, commercials this week so, um, Citrix, Citrix Online with Go To Manage, is sponsoring today’s show and they’re not sponsoring this topic, per se, they’re just um, they just have some of the commercials for this week so thank you Citrix Online ah, for making this happen. Um, in the context of licensing, and we do have some other things to talk about today besides Microsoft licensing, but can I, can I kick it off because the first thing I guess that I’m confused on is when I wrote the article a few weeks ago, you know, I was writing about VECD and someone said, hey, VECD is gone, that should be called VDA now but, I, I, wasn’t sure like, isn’t, because I know that if you have Software Assurance you don’t need to buy VECD as a separate add on but isn’t it just that the VECD license is included in Software Assurance or is it true that VECD is just gone now?
Nathan Coutinho: So it’s actually really straightforward. So basically they re-named VECD. So It used to be called VECD, I think, I think they introduced it in 08 or 09 and then I think late 09 they changed it to VDA so basically, predominantly that’s just a naming change, however when they made the naming change they added, added VDA as a benefit to SA. So if you had VECD like in 2008, you would still have the SA, basically it gets converted to VDA and you just will have the same benefits but the whole VECD and the VDA thing is just a, just a naming change but the, along with that naming change what they did was they added that benefit. So now if you have software assurance on your desktop you can now access a virtual machine that’s hosted somewhere running Windows, uh at no additional cost. That’s, that’s the big benefit that got added to Software Assurance.
Brian Madden: So didn’t, was VDA originally for, like, devices that couldn’t run Windows locally or that’s, or I’m confusing that with something else altogether?
Nathan Coutinho: No you’re right, you’re right. So basically, the whole concept is if you have a device that cannot run Windows but you know basically you’re going to go out and access a virtual desktop or if you have a device that does not have Software Assurance and it doesn’t make sense for, in this instance, for you to actually buy Software Assurance, because, you know, you would have to buy the upgrade and then buy Software Assurance so, it may be out of your price range for that particular scenario, but if that’s the case then you could just get, you know, VDA or, what it used to be called, VECD for that device and then be able to, you know access Windows virtually somewhere else.
Brian Madden: And what about, and maybe I’m kind of jumping around a little bit but, you know, when Jack was doing the article he was talking to Clear Cube, I think, and they were talking about, there’s this license that was what, a certificate of authenticity, how’s that work, like, Clear Cube gave you a certificate of authenticity for the devices and then you could have –
Jack Madden: Yeah on the Thin Client device.
Brian Madden: So, but the Thin Client didn’t actually run Windows. It, it was, it was Thin Client to Blade PC.
Jack Madden: Right, it was a Zero Client actually.
Brian Madden: So is, so Nathan do you know anything about this, is Zero Client with the certificate of authenticity.
Nathan Coutinho: Okay, so let’s, let’s, so this is a good, good, it’s a really good topic because it’s starting to come up more. Especially after you guys blogged about it so thanks for blogging about it.
Brian Madden: Thanks for reading it Jack.
Nathan Coutinho: So, so the COA or Coa, as it’s known has been around forever, you know, you think about your desktop’s back, you know, probably, even down to, maybe even before Windows 95 and you shifted from a manufacturer, from a Gateway or whoever, it would ship and you’d have this little, little nice hologram type label on the side of your machine that told you what your license key was and that it was authentically uh, running Windows 95 or whatever, right, um, so the Coa’s have been around for a long time, primarily the reason why the Coa’s exist is for OEM’s to basically be able to bundle Windows with a hardware device.
That’s the whole reason why it’s there. So it’s been around for a long time. Um, now OEM’s or system builders have the option to, obviously get a discounted rate for Windows and sell it with the hardware. Now where this gets a little grey is, sometimes you can go online and buy Coa’s ah, naked, basically making a promise that you aren’t going to add it to hardware you’re buying which doesn’t have an operating system. So I think, I think that comes into a little grey area as to whether that should be done or shouldn’t be done. I think, for the most part I think it’s left a little bit open but, in general Coa’s a, really to be purchased typically while it’s already pre-installed on hardware. Now, when you think about Thin Clients you’re actually buying brand new hardware. So technically you shouldn’t be able to bundle Coa’s with Thin Client, but here’s the catch though, the catch is that, that Thin Client should be able to natively run Windows.
In other words, if it can run, you know, if you could like, for example, you buy Zero Client which has nothing in it, you hook up a solid state drive or drive to a USB and if you can run Windows, you know, utilizing its processor and its memory and it can run in memory then that’s technically a device or an En Pointe that can run full blown Windows 7 or Windows XP or whatever, right, or Windows 8 for that matter. At that point, that to me signifies that it’s actually a compliant way to buy a COA and then slap it on the Zero Client. Now luckily most Zero Clients can actually do that because you can stream it with Provisioning Server or HP Image Manager or one of those streaming type options where it runs locally, um, that would be an actual, you know, normal use for it, but you really don’t see too many of those clients out there.
I know HP has a couple, Weiss has a couple, Clear Cube has a bunch of them now too. You’re seeing a lot of them but you really don’t typically see Coa’s purchased with it because guess what, when you buy the Coa you still have to then enroll in Software Assurance to be able to get that VDA benefit. So just by buying, the Thin Client by default, with the Coa doesn’t really give you access to VDA. All it gives you is the access to run Windows locally.
Brian Madden: Does it give you a cheaper path to SA if you have, buy the Coa, then add SA, versus just paying for SA outright?
Nathan Coutinho: In the long run it does and that’s what Gabe’s article talked about right?
Jack Madden: That’s that graphic Gabe made with the two uh, the two formula’s.
Gabe Knuth: Absolutely.
Nathan Coutinho: So it is a little cheaper um, you know –
Gabe Knuth: It’s going to be quite a bit, right? I mean, it just depends on what you; it depends on what you pay to get the license in the first place because the percentage that you renew is based on the price you paid in the beginning, right?
Nathan Coutinho: Right, right.
Jack Madden: And also Clear Cube told me that it, it is around about the two year mark that it, that it becomes cheaper so, not at first definitely
Nathan Coutinho: So on, from a list price perspective, at the highest possible price perspective, which is typically retail, right? Um, yes it is cheaper there’s no doubt about it. But I think when you get to a medium size business or just a larger organization that has thousands of desktops, right; they have different pricing levels, right? Everyone is a little bit different depending on how much they buy. So that number, that price will go up and down depending on how they do it and sometimes it might be cheaper for them to do it SA, onto the actual physical device, sometimes it might be cheaper for them to just do VDA. So this is where this gets really tricky. I think for the most, that’s why I usually baseline everything at the retail price because that kind of gives you the idea and that’s what Gabe’s article is talking about which is absolutely true, right?
If you buy a product and you put SA on it, it makes complete sense and in the long run VDA does turn out to be more expensive, right, in that particular scenario. But that’s not really reality. I mean from what we’ve seen with our customers, everyone seems to be at a different pricing tier. So it really depends on your volume unfortunately.
Nathan Coutinho: And, and you can’t just go buy any license off the street either right? Because this is, this is something, so I wrote in here one thing and, and, and when we hopped on this morning you were like yeah, that’s a, there’s something that wasn’t right and we said, “Save it for the show”, so what ah, what did I screw up on?
Nathan Coutinho: Alright so there is this big misconception that retail you can go buy retail product and you can add SA to it which is, that’s not the reason why retail exists. Software Assurance is a business benefit for adding in a long term viability of keeping Windows and Office products in your environment so let me just say this, just stay away from retail licensing, right? If you’re trying to do VDI or anything else in a business type environment, for testing it’s one thing but if you’re trying to actually do this in production, just stay away from retail pricing. It’s really not been evolved to do VDI. That’s not the reason why it exists. It exists for small businesses, it exists for people to put an upgrade to Windows on their home PC and they just don’t have a copy of Windows so they buy the upgrade to Windows 7, it’s really not meant to be run in a virtual machine because once you start doing stuff like that you’re going to start having to activate every single license manually, which is really, really painful.
And ultimately that’s what SA does, it lets you, you know, do activations service of you own and things like that, it’s just not a viable case. So I’d say my advice to anyone who’s trying to go down this path is just to avoid retail licenses. It’s not what it’s, well it’s not, it’s what it’s there for and at the end of the day you can’t really add Software Assurance to retail product. That’s just not, you know, what it’s supposed to do.
Brian Madden: So is this whole conversation do you think in large part sort of moot in the context of, you know, companies buy SA, that gives them all the rights, they need desktop virtualization and done. And maybe it’s just people like me and Gabe who don’t actually have any users, are making all these big deals of these little, you know, nuance, loop holes and everything, but the reality is people are like; yeah we just bought SA so it’s done.
Nathan Coutinho: So here’s, here’s the problem with that though I mean you, you would think that, right everyone has Software Assurance. The reality is in the larger worldwide market share, and this is a, this is a number I saw I think last year, I think about 30-40 percent of the worldwide desktop market buys SA, which is kind of low for this kind of purpose, right? I mean it’s a big number but, you know, it’s a lot of people that just don’t have it. So that becomes, that becomes a problem. That’s problem number one. Problem number two is a lot of people who have SA they want to go to Thin Client; they don’t want to keep using their physical PC.
They want to go to a more greener, ten watt Thin Client, right, which makes more sense from a security perspective, blah, blah, blah, all the benefits of Thin Clients, but now they’re kind of stuck because they have SA and they really don’t want to, you can’t really move the SA, right? You can’t really move it, you can actually temporarily but, for the most, for the longer term thing, at some point they’re going to have to go buy VDA if they’re going to get rid of their physical device that runs only in Windows. Um, so for the majority, what we’ve seen on the market, people are buying VDA. I mean, that’s, that’s, that just seems like it’s the norm now where everyone is doing it if it, you know, if they have a need for virtual desktops and they’re going to do this in a big way they’re basically doing a two or three year contract with Microsoft depending on the licensing mechanism and they’re purchasing VDA for every single end point. So that’s, you know, unfortunately that’s just the, you know, I was actually very surprised when I saw that. I thought the SA population would be higher but it’s actually fairly low.
Brian Madden: So that’s really, yeah that is the opposite because I, I would think, and how does it work in big, big companies, or maybe this is, I guess it depends on how you define it but, there’s still nothing with Microsoft where if you have like five thousand users you’re just like, guys just come on, I’ve got five thousand users, I want to use Windows, just how much do I pay? It’s, it’s still not that simple even at big companies?
Nathan Coutinho: No it’s something that you can negotiate on a larger scale um, and that’s, that’s definitely someone does on an annual basis with their Microsoft licensing rep but it literally, literally is all over the board and it, it also depends on, you know, how big of a Microsoft customer are you? Are you using the entire system, Center Stack or are you using the entire, you know Windows, Windows Stack um, Office –
Brian Madden: You know we’ve heard of Microsoft looking the other way. You know like, all right, fine, you guys are good; you give us enough money somewhere else –
Nathan Coutinho: Yeah, I don’t think, I don’t think that happens. I mean –
Brian Madden: I’ve never officially heard of it.
Nathan Coutinho: I’ve heard of that myself, quite honestly Brian, um, you know, it’s one of those things where, you know, it’s, I guess it’s possible, I just haven’t seen it myself. I’ve heard of it I just haven’t seen it. So I think the reality is, especially now that they have a licensing mechanism, I think, I think it would be, would have been possible in 2008 before VECD came out because, you know, back then we didn’t know how to license this. We were all struggling with how to actually do this correctly. Because even Microsoft didn’t have an official stance on it, so I can see it in that kind of scenario but in today’s scenario where it’s properly defined and it’s really clear cut as to what you need when, uh at least, at least I tend to think so, at some point I know it’s not, right, uh how you interpret it, I just, I just don’t see that as a reality anymore.
Brian Madden: So, do you think, going back to this thing about you can only use SA if the device is physically capable of running Windows, and Nathan I think you did a good job of describing exactly what that meant, right? Like even if it could run Windows in memory and doesn’t have to have a disk drive necessarily, um, but what, what about Windows 8 with ARM architectures because there’s a lot of Thin Clients, do you think there’s a lot of Thin Clients out there that have ARM processors that once Windows 8 comes out like, technically they could run Windows even though you would never do that but that means you can use SA instead of VDA?
Nathan Coutinho: Yeah that’s a good point. Someone actually brought that up in one of, I think Gabe’s uh, I think in Gabe’s blog actually.
Gabe Knuth: I bet it was Brian.
Nathan Coutinho: Oh was it? Well someone brought it up because I read it and I’m like you know that’s a very interesting point because you’re right, or he was right rather, um, when ARM comes, that’s going to change the landscape a little bit in terms of how that happens. Um, so I don’t know, I, I, I think we’ll see probably either a licensing change or an acceptance, as in, you know, now obviously you can do it with that as well, um, it, it just has to be easy though, I think that the challenge for all of this is there’s so many ways to slice this. And, you know our customers want an easy way to do it.
They don’t want to, you know, sit down and read like 3,000 pages of ULA’s and stuff like that, they just want a simple way, sure fire way to order product, get it out there so you can continue doing this project as opposed to like, you know, going back every five days and saying, hey did we do it right or is it accurate or, you know, doing short cuts and stuff like that, and it’s interesting because I know um, Brian mentioned earlier, or at least in his blog about the whole Windows desktop on Windows server and I know people have tried to do that in the past and they’ve gotten burned really badly trying to do something like that. And those are the shortcuts where frankly, I mean there’s only so many ways at this point, I know there’s lots of ways you can think about doing it, but there’s only one or two right ways to do this, and whether we like it or not.
Brian Madden: So let’s, let’s on that note, let’s take a quick break and I want to come back to the SPLA licensing and using server Windows licenses for desktops and everything like that but at 20 minutes past the hour I want to read our, our first commercials. So like I said that um, today’s show is uh, is sort of commercialed by, sponsored by uh Citrix Online with their Go, ah with their Go To Manage products, um, and so uh, what Citrix, you know, they kind of gave the message that we’ll sort of read as their commercial and they just basically um want to communicate that, you know, desktop virtualization, while there’s a lot of benefits of that ah there’s no free pass to desktop management.
Uh so if you’re doing desktop virtualization you still need to manage those desktops, you still need ah, remote support products and that’s where Citrix Online [inaudible] Go To Manage can help, so it’s Cloud based IT services tool uh, best in class remote support, it’s network monitoring, alerting capabilities, giving IT professionals total control of uh their IT worlds. So instant delivery of live support to customers, um you can access unattended computers and servers, monitor the performance of desktop servers, networks, uh stay on top of issues, proactive alerts and now there’s uh this Go Mobile which is accessing the iPad. And Citrix Go To Manage has um, they’ve got a special 45 day free trial for listeners of the show so if you go to GoToManage.com, click on the free trial button and then into the promo code; Madden 45, which is cool, sounds like Colt 45.
So Madden 45, that gives you desktop managing and tech support monitoring, uh easy way 45 days of free trial. So thank you Citrix Online ah for, for the support of this show. Um, so now back to the conversation we’re having with ah Nathan Coutinho from Chicago. We’re talking about Microsoft licensing and specifically how it applies to desktop virtualization environments and, before the break you were just starting to talk about some of these tricks like using server licenses instead of, you know, desktop VDA type licenses. And from my standpoint, you know, I’m an old school kind of terminal server guy and so I sort of say, yeah you can avoid all of this hassle of what was VECD, now VDA and SA and all that kind of stuff, why don’t we just actually run servers and especially I mean, I can buy a copy of Data Center Server and just give the user, still give them a one to one user environment and turn all the desktop experience and everything, so I’m basically delivering data center hosted VDI but with a server OS instead of a client OS? And doesn’t that just allow me to skip all this crap in the first place? And isn’t that easier?
Nathan Coutinho: So, this is a really interesting conversation, I’ve had this ever since Data Center came out, I think it was December or November, probably November of 2006 when they announced Data Center addition licensing, like the [inaudible] licensing for [inaudible] VM’s um, and this has been kind of a conversation that comes up once or twice a year with our customers ever since then. Even though we kind of, you know, so, let me kind of get into it. So the whole concept is you can buy a Data Center edition with Windows server today. It’s a per processor licenses or basically per socket –
Brian Madden: I think unfortunately we’re starting to lose our ah, connection.
Nathan Coutinho: and you can run unlimited VM’s on that server so if you have a two way –
Brian Madden: Sorry I think our connection is going uh, not so, not so well at the moment. Um, I don’t know if there’s anything we can do about that, apart from –
Gabe Knuth: You know what we can do about that? Nathan can call in.
Nathan Coutinho: I can.
Brian Madden: You want hang up on the Skype and call our phone?
Nathan Coutinho: Um yeah, it’s the same number right?
Brian Madden: The number on the screen.
Nathan Coutinho: I’m dialing right now.
Brian Madden: So no one else call.
Gabe Knuth: We’ll have to put Nathan on hold to take a call.
Brian Madden: Oh man. I like that though he’s like, alright well let me get into this, he also said ah, it’s like well about twice a year, you know, our customers start talking about this and I’m just thinking, yeah that’s great, that’s because of, you know, me doing it ah from this blog.
Nathan Coutinho: Right.
Brian Madden: So there Nathan you’re back, yeah?
Nathan Coutinho: I am back via traditional analog line, yes.
Brian Madden: Nice, so you were just getting into using server, you know, Data Center edition instead of, instead of VDI licenses.
Nathan Coutinho: Yeah so let me, let me explain that just for those who are, are not so hot on the server, service sight [inaudible] selection thing, um, and this is kind of where it started with our interested and licensing actually but, so based on our edition, which is Windows Server 2008 R2 Data Center edition, you know, that’s the licensing name, it’s licensed by socket, ah so if you have a two way box um, you buy two licenses, which is you know for each processor, each socket rather, and Windows Server 08R2 or before, or earlier provisions on that physical box as you want. So it, this is really great from a server virtualization classic perspective, in fact almost all our customers that get into virtualization or you know, second phase of virtualization or [inaudible], it’s so much more cost effective than trying to buy individual licenses of Enterprise or Standard or whatever.
So the concept came about, it says, wait a minute, instead of buying VDA why don’t I just give everyone a Windows 2008 server to log into, which kind of scares me quite frankly. So it’s one of things where, you know it’s the same desktop, it’s the same code base and I think Brian in your article you said, you know what, you can get themes that make your Windows 2008 R2 server look like a Windows 7 desktop. I mean it is the same code base technically, right? Um, and it can be done, right, it can be done. The question is, is this really, is this really the optimal way to do this? And I think not and a lot of our engineers think not as well because you start running into weird things, not only from the licensing perspective, it’s gets a little dicey, because you know, Brian you mentioned this, you throw, you can’t just buy the processor licenses, if you have someone connecting in remotely you still have to have an RDS [inaudible] for everyone. So that’s, that’s actually accurate, right? Because technically you’re not administering from an IT perspective, you’re actually using it as a full fledged desktop.
Brian Madden: But now where did that, that wasn’t, I’m sorry to interrupt, that was not always the case though right? Like back when I had, you know, Windows –
Nathan Coutinho: I don’t, I don’t think so. I, and I don’t even know when that got added in but, to me, logically, it sort of makes sense because technically that’s not really the use [inaudible] for Data Center edition. So I’m, I’m, I’m, again, I’m not saying this is the right way or the wrong way to do things and I’m not endorsing, he said this is the right way to do it, but, you know, from, from my stand point, if I were Microsoft and I created this product and someone’s using for the reason why it’s not really even licensed for, obviously, you know it’s, that’s the reason why VDA exists. So –
Brian Madden: We’ve been doing that with Microsoft products for fifteen years.
Nathan Coutinho: I know.
Brian Madden: Using them in ways they’re not licensed for.
Nathan Coutinho: Right, so I mean, so I guess my point being is 1.) Yes it can be done. Uh, you do need extra licensing for it, from a [inaudible] perspective, per user. Um, is it optimal? I would say no and here’s the reason why. Um, when you start using things like VM or View and Citrix Zen Desktop and all the other VDI products it’s looking for Windows 7 sessions to run its agent. It’s not really looking for a Windows Server session. And that can get a little dicey from an agent perspective, so in other words, when you talk to, talk to one of these [inaudible] who make the actual brokers for VDI; they’re not really testing Windows Server. They’re testing Windows 7. So that could be one source of contention uh, in the future, in terms of problems. 2.) your application IC, the guys who write your applications like Office and, well Office is not a good example but, just you know, pick something else, like Peachtree Accounting or something that’s out there, Quicken, I don’t know, those apps are again tested on Windows 7 and, and, possibly not even XP anymore, they probably list on 7 and 8, they’re not tested on Server.
Brian Madden: Oh but that’s the oldest argument in the book against terminal server, now you sounds like VMware, telling us why two months ago is bad.
Nathan Coutinho: No, no, no. Say it again Brian because I didn’t hear you.
Brian Madden: Oh sorry, so now you sound like VMware telling us the same reasons why terminal server is bad compared to VDI.
Nathan Coutinho: Well no I’d never say that. I love terminal servers, so. Then this thing that, that’s, that’s what the licensing is, is designed for from my perspective. You know, if I want to do VDI, right, I’m going to use the offer that it’s created for which would be VDA or [inaudible] or whatever that’s out there that makes sense for my business or organization. But that’s, that’s one of the challenges we’ve seen is that customers have tried to do this, is the server, I mean all these compatibility problems and whether it’s right or wrong, you know, it’s not really designed for that. So that’s the challenge I have is that it, it wasn’t really designed for that and I know folks are trying to make it work like that but you start seeing these other issues start coming up along the way and long term, I mean it would be one thing if VM and Citrix came back and sais, okay, this is valid, we’re going to do this and we’re going to test everything on server, but they’re not doing that yet.
You know, at least I don’t see them don’t that anytime soon. They’re doing everything, all there, [inaudible] is focused on Windows 7 and Windows 8. So that’s kind of, that’s kind of the reality, by the way I don’t really see too many people doing this. I have seen a couple, um but there really isn’t a whole lot of people that’s doing that, that kind of scenario.
Brian Madden: Because it is a lot of work, I mean frankly, it’s, it’s to save what, you still have to buy and RDS [inaudible], you have to buy the Data Center licenses which are expensive, then you have to go to all this work to try to reverse engineer and break it all and, I mean, I guess –
Brian Madden: And then, and then with one ULA change your life is totally screwed.
Brian Madden: Yeah that’s a good point too. You’re, you’re screwing the boundaries that support it, what’s allowed anyways, so, yeah. So, the other sort of giant topic around Windows Virtual Desktop licensing, and this is not something Nathan, that’s necessarily um, well I’ll just, I’ll just say right out, you know, the, Windows, Microsoft does not have um a service provider monthly access license for Windows 7, for Windows Client. So they have service provider licenses for Exchange and Server but there is no monthly access, pay per use license for Windows Clients. Um, first of all that’s a true statement, correct?
Nathan Coutinho: That’s correct, on the SPLA nothing yet, no.
Brian Madden: So, do you, so my question is, do you have any idea why this is first of all? I know this is not, this is, you don’t work for Microsoft, right but like, what the hell are they thinking?
Nathan Coutinho: Well I, yeah I really don’t know the answer to that. I’m actually surprised myself but I’m guessing this is one of those things that’s being worked on and it’s probably more of a contractual thing than anything else and we know the technology will work, right? But I think it’s probably a more contractual thing and I know you’re starting to see a couple providers, like [inaudible] for example right, so they have a Zen Desktop hosted type facility, um, so, you know my guess is that what they’re doing at this point, and I haven’t been actually able to clarify with those guys yet, knew that you had a call with them a couple weeks ago, but the thing I want to clarify is how are they doing the VDA?
Are the customers just basically saying, alright we’re going to host everything with you guys, we pay a monthly fee to basically use you guys, you know as a SAZ provider kind of, right? And we’re just going to take on the VDA ourselves. I mean you could do that legally. You could actually own the VDA yourself and just access it somewhere else. Now that’s one way to get around it but you’re still paying the VDA right? There’s no, there’s no way around it. I guess it doesn’t matter [inaudible] SPLA, you’re still paying for it. No matter how you look at it you’re still going to pay for it.
Brian Madden: Well and so Flippy the Clown in the chat saying doesn’t Desktone do this monthly subscription to a hosted Windows 7 desktop. Ah, last week we actually had Desktone’s CEO Peter McKay on the show and we asked him this question flat out um and, no with Desktone it’s, you bring your own license. So the customer actually owns the VDA. Now Desktone has set themselves up as a Microsoft re-seller and I believe and I might be making this part up, but I believe they even have some kind of, like installment plan or something, or multi-payment, I forget how they did that exactly for the, for the VDA so, but at the end of the day though you are buying, so you can sign up with Desktone if you wanted to, you know, small environment with no VDA but, when you sign that deal with Desktone you are buying a Microsoft VDA that you then own and so if you leave Desktone and decide that they are not the same, that you don’t want to use Desktone, if you quit them, you own that VDA because you bought that.
Nathan Coutinho: That sounds right actually. Because if you, I mean, at the end of the day the customer needs to own it, right? So once you own it you can put it in your own data center, you could put it into someone else’s data center, it doesn’t matter, but, but you were right, I mean as long as they own the desktop, they own those, they own the right to use Windows. But if they try to migrate away from them to go to someone else that’s when this gets really tricky. Because now they have to migrate all those sessions somewhere else before they leave. But the license is still owned by them as long as the contract with VDA, sorry, the contract with Microsoft is valid. What you’re probably talking about is open value. I know under open value there’s a VDA payment plan with Microsoft so that’s probably what they were talking about in terms of re-selling back to the customer.
Brian Madden: Right but so it’s, but it is a payment plan so it’s not like you’re renting the license, it’s just that you bought the license and you’re paying for it month by month.
Nathan Coutinho: Um, well you can’t really own VDA right? It’s, it’s long term, you know, you have to keep renewing it to keep using it. You can’t, you know, buy it once and that’s kind of a little grey area right there.
Brian Madden: It’s the license. Yeah, yeah, but it is the case, the payment plan, it’s like VDA lay away.
Nathan Coutinho: Right.
Brian Madden: Now what about, so when I was at VM World, um, last year, I met a guy, I want to say his name was Mike Chase? And he was representing Din Cloud, which is a start up desktop as a service provider and ah, he was saying that with Din Cloud the company behind it, or one of the companies behind it is some kind of special Microsoft re-seller, like there’s only seven in the country or something like this, and they have some kind of way that they can offer the Windows 7 as a service. Um, I don’t know if, if my very half remembered explanation Nathan, gives you enough, like is there anything else that you know of, so you mentioned there’s this sort of installment plan, you mentioned, you know that the customer ultimately is owning VDA, ah but there is no SPLA for Win 7, there’s nothing else you’ve heard of like special license re-sellers or anything that can get around these rules?
Nathan Coutinho: I, I haven’t heart that but let’s be frank here, we know that’s going to add, it’s going to come up in SPLA at some point. It’s just a matter of time at this point. We just don’t know when. Um, so, could Microsoft be piloting smaller uh, a smaller resource that’s doing this so they can actually get a realistic [inaudible] whether this is going to work or not from a contractual perspective? Sure. Ah, I haven’t heard that at all but in Cloud by the way, um, was that, someone else mentioned this,
I think in Gabe’s um blog actually, about Microsoft Intune, which actually gives you a, you know, Windows 7 copy with SA, again, you know, you’re renting it essentially right? Ah, the challenge of that is I think that for, probably for small businesses and for very small medium size businesses but, once you get over a certain hump, you know, you’re not going to be able to afford that anymore. Ah so that’s the only other thing I can think of from a licensing desktop perspective, but from an SPLA perspective I, there’s really nothing else out there. Most of our customers who are trying to attempt, or are attempting to do this or have already done it in smaller capacities have basically bought VDA.
Brian Madden: Speaking of, oh sorry, go ahead.
Nathan Coutinho: Sorry go ahead.
Brian Madden: Go ahead and finish. I was just going to say go ahead and finish your thought because mine was a little off the –
Nathan Coutinho: Yeah what I was going to say was um, I mean let’s be, let’s be honest right? I mean there’s, there’s a lot of talk versus, in the market in terms of who’s got, you know, how many desktops to fly and all that kind of good stuff, you know the reality of that is the, there’s still not a whole lot of large VD, VDI rather, or Windows Desktop virtualization kind of deals out there that have been deployed. A lot of customers are still at, at ground zero or they’re getting done with their first major you know, roll out of it in phases, so it’s really, there’s not really a whole lot out there and I’ll, what I’ll tell you is the one that’s, the ones that are out there and that have been, you know, pretty successful, they’ve gone the VDA route. So they are doing virtual desktops by the Citrix Serve VM or, and they’ve done it by the book and they’re following VDA and, you know, they’re going forward with it.
And uh, very few of them out there are actually hosting it somewhere else. Mostly from bandwidth consumption latency issue with the quality of service and stuff like that, right? But you that’s, that always gets really tricky in terms of trying to make sure that experience is awesome. So I mean that’s what I was just going to say is that there’s, there’s really not a whole lot out there. The ones that are out there are, are um, very, very tight shops, usually very large shops that are doing this but they’re, they’re doing this by the book. You know, they’ve found the [inaudible] scale and they get to a couple thousand desktop but ah, the rest, the rest of them are still, they’re still struggling with POC’s. So most of them, from what I see, again, it’s, they’re using VDA but they’re just not, you know, I don’t really see too many hosting up there.
Brian Madden: Well, I was going to say you mentioned InTune and I just want to take a real quick um, kind of unrelated thing, you talk to a lot of customers, is anybody actually using InTune that you’ve talked to?
Nathan Coutinho: Ah, there’s a small, from what, from what I understand, and I haven’t actually validated with this with our internal teams yet, I’ve heard it in passing, I mean, there is a strong interest Wintune, in InTune, but again, it’s the smaller business. It, that’s whose going after it. It’s really not, you know the, [inaudible], the lower end of medium size business and up so basically, I think the sweet spot’s like 50-200 users. Ah, that’s the sweet spot from what we’ve seen.
Brian Madden: I just wondered, everybody I’ve talked to Enterprise wise, their eyes get wide and they’re like, holy ***, no way am I going to put the management of my desktops in the Cloud, like no f’ing way, like, yeah, that’s what I expected though, so, okay.
Gabe Knuth: Um, how about, my other question about um, the Microsoft licensing, and I think this applies on the clients for VDA and everything is that if you’re a service provider, you’re not allowed to have different customers on the same hardware. So even if I buy my own VDA, like if I buy monthly desktop from Desktone and a different customer does, Desktone has to have separate, physical servers for me. I’m, they’re not allowed to run VM’s of customer A and customer B on the same physical hardware. Is that correct?
Nathan Coutinho: Uh, you know I actually can’t answer that one. And I can probably find that out for you and then probably re-blog it out on your site or under comment or something, but I have not heard that one before. I would be surprised if that one was true.
Gabe Knuth: So, so Deese Buehl, which I hope I said his name right, is in the chat room and he actually runs ah, 2 Cloud which is ah, a SPLA, well they wish they had SPLA licenses, um, so, and he says no you’re not allowed to have multi-tenancy for sure. And so this is something he does every day, so. Yeah and I’m, I’m pretty sure that’s true also so I guess we need to go back to Microsoft, or you know what, obviously Nathan I wasn’t looking for you to explain why that was, since you’re not at Microsoft, but I, you know, when you were kind of talking about SPLA and you said, look, really it’s only a matter of time, I was hoping you were going to say it’s really only a matter of time with that one too. Um, but I guess we’ll have to get someone from Microsoft out there too.
Nathan Coutinho: Yeah I mean there hasn’t been any announcements yet, I mean it’s possible it’ll come soon but, you know, we don’t know how soon is.
Brian Madden: Yeah, we’ve got ah, so Deese is in there and then Eric and I can’t remember his last name –
Gabe Knuth: Westerhoven?
Brian Madden: He’s Dutch. I know that. Westhoven? Yeah, so either, both of them are actually running Cloud based Windows desktop serving solutions right now. Uh and so they are uh, taking over the chat room.
Gabe Knuth: Well and this goes back to the conversation about, you know, what’s better, where should the desktop live, is it terminal server versus VDI and, you know, that’s a whole different conversation that we’ve been, having that conversation for the past five years and I imagine we’re going to have it for the next five years.
Nathan Coutinho: Yeah, you know, let me add this too, I mean, I know we’ve been talking pretty much about VDI and possibly that was the main purpose of this, this whole radio show, right, but I also want to make sure people do know, and I know you guys are probably, been the best supporters of this but, there’s still a lot of terminal services out there. I mean, there are still customers putting it in every day. So, you know, I think the, the first thing we do with the customers, just try to understand what are, what are they trying to do, alright? What are they trying to deliver? Is it really app delivery, is it presentation delivery or is it, you know, desktop delivery, and we build a custom solution for them every single time and no one is the same. And you know I want to reiterate again, there are a lot of terminal services going in today. So It’s not a [inaudible] by any means I know.
Brian Madden: And make no mistake because they, the Citrix and VM are both, want you to know, to think that VM, or that VDI is taking over. Um, and they, they do that by saying that, you know, that VMWare says that they’ve sold, you know, a million VMWare view licenses although they don’t give you numbers of how many are deployed or activated. And then Citrix does the same thing by saying that uh they have, at the keynote Mark Templeton said they had 75 customers with more than 10,000 seats of Zen Desktop deployed. And that’s absolutely true but those are 75 customers that took advantage of the trade up program from Zen App to Zen Desktop and so they’re really still running Zen App. Ah but, it’s just, you know, the license is called a Zen Desktop license.
Gabe Knuth: Yeah or it’s provisioning services also. Yeah. So Gabe, you’re starting to break up a little bit too so I think that means that um, next we’re running the show out of my living room I guess. Want to drive your car into Justin and we’ll load everything into the, into your trunk and –
Brian Madden: We just need ah, we need more phone lines.
Gabe Knuth: Yeah we’ll figure it out. We’re actually getting a bandwidth upgrade, well you know I’ll talk about that saga but we’re 20 minutes before the hour um and I wanted to just come back with another um commercial break which I will just read. So, today’s show is sponsored by Citrix Online and specifically their Go To Manage group. Go To Manage of course, this is the people who we made the online sort of Brian Madden versus Brian Madden video series which is on YouTube and if you go to YouTube, and I guess it’s Google for Brian Madden and go to, wait, do Google on YouTube, go to YouTube and search for Brian Madden and go to manage and we’ve got those three short videos which we made which were really, really fun.
Um, but Citrix wants you to know that they’ve got Go To Manage, it’s a Cloud based IT services and desktop management um, but ah not desktop management in certain, not in the Windows InTune kind of way. It’s more about remote supporting users, it’s, you know, you can look at performance monitoring, push out software updates, uh they’ve got an iPad app now, ah and if you want to take a look at it there’s a special 45 day trial, which is longer than the regular trial, so you can go to GoToManage.com and if you use promo code Madden 45 ah, then you get that 45 day trial. And as they say, desktop management, tech support and monitoring has never been so easy. So that is Citrix Online with their Go To Manage product.
Brian Madden: I remember playing Madden 45. You know, you had Otto Graham could boot that ball.
Gabe Knuth: Oh it was Rich. It was a forward pass invented at that point yet? I don’t know.
Brian Madden: When the guys leather helmet popped off and –
Gabe Knuth: Yeah you thought his head fell off. Oh yeah, those were the days. Um, so there’s a couple other things we want to talk about today, you know, some other topics. Um, how, how do we have, how do we have um, I don’t know if there’s anything else on the licensing we want to talk about, let’s see, we’ve got phone calls, one guy wants to talk about to Nathan –
Nathan Coutinho: Actually, I actually have one thing I want to bring up too.
Brian Madden: Yeah, please.
Nathan Coutinho: So, home user rights. I know that might be a little bit ah, touchy and very confusing area for a lot of people. So VDA gives the right to basically access and virtual desktop, right? So a lot of customers were like, well, you know I have a desktop at work and it has VDA on it either with Software Assurance or they bought VDA you know, before that end point. I have an iPad and a Mac and another Windows machine at home, can I access that desktop from all those places? And this comes up a lot. Right, so I don’t know if you guys get this question, we get it a lot. And the, the ah, the official answer is, as long as that end user, say it’s Joe Schmoe and it’s his desktop at work and he has a desktop and has Software Assurance or VDA on it, the answer is yes. He can actually access his hosted desktop from any device as long as his primary, here is the catch, and this is the verbiage that you have to be really careful with, as long as his primary device is licensed with Software Assurance or VDA, that’s the key, by the way, I don’t know if, I don’t know if you guys get that question, but I get it a lot.
Brian Madden: Yeah and so the primary device, by the way, the, Microsoft doesn’t even care, sort of, what the primary device is, they just care that a use has a primary device. So the basic idea, I guess Microsoft, because their licensing is technically device based and not user based, they have to throw something in about those quote unquote primary device. But really they’re like, well, as long as you have a one to one, as long as every user who’s our running around has some device with SA or VDA then yeah, they can connect from home and the hotel and the iPhone and all that kind of stuff.
Nathan Coutinho: Yep.
Brian Madden: Awesome. So I don’t have to worry about my primary device, saying like, well which one’s my primary, is it the laptop or is it the desktop and measure percentages or anything, it’s just license something and you’re okay.
Nathan Coutinho: Right and just to give it a, like a real world example, so it’s up to you Debbie, that’s what we have right, so we have access to our apps and our desktops ah, from a corporate perspective and uh, I have, my primary end point is actually a Mac, it’s not a PC so even though I actually have VDA for my device therefore I can hook up my iPad or, you know any other device I want to test with, my Mac at home, I’ve got an all access, you know, in a compliant way, can access that same virtual desktop that’s hosted somewhere else and owned basically in our data center.
Brian Madden: Okay interesting. You have a Mac but you have VDA and not SA, but you could have SA, right?
Nathan Coutinho: Ah I could if we went to the upgrade but yeah it just makes, it just makes more sense when it doesn’t come with Windows just to put the VDA on it.
Brian Madden: Um, so, Nathan we have a question from J. K. Wilson, he’s asking, he actually asked, he or she I should say, asked if um, we could call him but we only have one phone line and Nathan’s using it right now. So um –
Gabe Knuth: But it did take a call.
Brian Madden: Yeah it’s um, yeah, it’s, I’m sorry, oh I don’t want to risk that, Justin’s saying, hey we can do a three way call but let’s, I’ll just ask this question here. Compliance um, so it says, you know, so ah, for device based licenses, you know, they have to certify the devices or license when they come in through Net Scaler. Have you worked on a compliance solution like this? Pricing is not an issue for a large corporation ah, but its compliance reporting, difficulties in compliance reporting is the, is the pain in the ass. If VDI was per user it would be much, much easier. Um, so, I don’t know Nathan, you can talk anything about the compliance reporting? How do we know the users are licensed or does it fall back within these home use rights? As long as the users who are connecting have at least one primary device that’s under VDA or SA then it shouldn’t matter how they connect in?
Nathan Coutinho: Yeah it’s uh, I can’t, I can’t really say if I’ve actually been along a compliance police [inaudible]. I haven’t, right. I’ve heard some of the stories around it, oh just, obviously through customers, but um, it’s a very difficult thing to do, right. I think, I think compliance for almost any product sometimes is just really difficult. I think they’re going to look in the system, they’re going to look at your um, your Windows 7 activations, in terms of how many Windows 7 VM’s you’ve actually lit up, I mean they can do that obviously because if you host, if you actually hosted locally then they would come in, look at your licensing server locally, um, same thing with the VM reviewers and desktop, they probably go into and see what the active connections are over a period of time.
Um, but there, there really is no easy way to kind of do that. Uh do I agree that users would be better? Probably, except for those situations where you have a shop floor and there’s like 20 people using the same computer at different shifts during the day. We had this discussion with [inaudible] for years, right, in terms of external services licensing. That’s where that would get really weird. So it would be bad for them but probably good for the rest of the world. Um, in terms of, should we just do VDA by user but, I, I think at some point we’ll have both. I, I’m surprised we don’t yet, in terms of having VDA for use end per device like we do for uh [inaudible] today. But, from a compliance perspective, you know I would, I would imagine it’s, it’s the software auditors that are coming in that actually really have to worry about, for the most part, how to get the licensing information back. But I know sometimes they’ll go back to the customer and say, hey it’s your responsibility to give us audit, you know, detail of auditing and that’s when it, I agree, it’s very difficult. It’s not easy to do.
Brian Madden: So this guy in the room is –
Nathan Coutinho: I guess I don’t have a good answer.
Brian Madden: Yeah, he’s running, he has to authenticate based on Mac address because that’s all he knows how to do and then he can map back Mac addresses to, you know, specific sort of licenses. But I wonder though Nathan, if that goes back to what you were saying about the home user, is it called the home use right? I mean, um, to J. K. Wilson, if this person, if this person has, if all of the users have a primary device, whether it’s covered under VDA or SA, there should be some kind of, am I saying this right, like, there should be like a list somewhere of, these are all the users that have a primary device which is licensed under either VDA or SA so therefore, those users ought to be able to connect from whatever device they want when they’re out running around in the world and we don’t care what device they’re on because they do have a primary device that has either SA or VDA.
Nathan Coutinho: Right, as long as you, as long as you’re, during the audit you’re identifying that, they should not care how many devices you’re connecting from. As long as your primary device has it, right. They’re not going, to, they’re not going to go to someone’s home and like, you know, basically figure out if they’ve been using their Mac access to work or vice versa. You can do that from the data center obviously too. That’s the whole purpose of that.
Brian Madden: Is this concept of the primary, is the primary device concept, is that sort of, is there a list, or is that enforced anywhere like if I buy a bunch of SA licenses and then say here’s all the devices um, that I’m putting under SA is there any way for me, does Microsoft provide any tool for me to say, or is this, I have to have my own spread sheet.
Nathan Coutinho: The only, the only thing, I mean I’m not that familiar with System Center but I would imagine that there’s ways in like System Center and probably some other management tools that you can do an active license scan with Windows but, the main thing that gets looked at usually is the actual, either the internal licensing server or, if you’re using Microsoft’s activation service to turn these things on, with your site license, license key basically, your multiple application key, that’s the only way to figure how many licenses of Windows are actually going on and off. And in situations like that, you know we go back to the Joe Schmoe uh, example where he’s logging into his machine, is always typically at least in that scenario, he’s logging to pull up desktops.
You’re not going to really add that many desktops, you know, on and on and on, it’s going to be pretty much the same pool. Um, unless it’s in a very volatile environment, that’s a different story, but that’s, the multiple activation service license or that server that manages, that’s usually where people look at typically. Otherwise there’s really no way, unless you’ve got some third party software like System Center or, you know, that’s actually doing a license scan for Windows. That’s why he’s bringing it up. This is not an area that’s been completely developed yet.
Brian Madden: How about external, what about external contractors, those guys saying it’s, these external contractors that contract your PC’s so there’s no primary device for these contractors. So if I want to provide a VDI environment to external contractors how do I license that?
Nathan Coutinho: Yeah you need a VDA.
Brian Madden: So who’s got –?
Nathan Coutinho: So what you would do is you would, you would buy, let’s say you had 25 contractors at any given time concurrently throughout the year, you’d buy 25, you know, device licenses for VDA and that’s how you’d report it back to Microsoft.
Brian Madden: Okay so even though I don’t –
Nathan Coutinho: They can still get in and access the desktop but, you know, they would be covered.
Brian Madden: And that way, so I can say these are contractors and I don’t know what devices they have, if their device can run Windows or can’t run Windows but it’s not owned by me, so as long as I buy that VDA for each of them then I’m covered?
Nathan Coutinho: Right. By the way I haven’t actually seen anyone get that granular at an audit, from that perspective, I mean, as long as you have the license, you’re good to go. Now if you, if they find out, like through the grapevine, oh you have like these 30 contractors that are accessing a desktop that you hosted, that’s when it gets grainy, when you don’t have VDA. But usually it’s not, you know, if you disclose it up front and this is, this is the kind of business model that we have and we have purchased VDA for it, you’re good to go.
Brian Madden: Because I think VDA, I mean that passes the straight face test and you know, you buy VDA and that’s, I mean, come on, we’re trying, we’ve got 25 users, I bought 25 VDA and that feels, it feels right.
Nathan Coutinho: Right.
Brian Madden: Is there still the thing about transferring, like what if I’ve got different contractors connecting every day, I guess the VDA I’m buying is for the contractor [inaudible] device. So it doesn’t even matter if they’re using different people or different devices because the VDA is covering the device on the, you know that –
Nathan Coutinho: Yeah as long as it’s the same device. That’s the key, as long as it’s, that primary device is not changing actively, I think that’s when it starts getting grey. Because there’s, you know there’s a whole white paper thing on this on Microsoft site, it talks about, you know, what the roaming rights are, and that kind of stuff around home user and order mode user or VDA primary user and stuff like that. But as long as, you know if it’s five people that are in shifts, let’s just use that as an example, say the contractor’s working on a development project and there are five developers and they access the same physical device to connect back into the corporation to get into the virtual desktop, if they’re doing different shifts uh, that’s fine, one single VDA license for that primary end point. Now if they start logging in from four different Thin Clients, you know, accessing different desktops at the same time, that’s when it gets completely non-compliant. And tracking that also is a kind of a nightmare. Tracking that is a real nightmare.
Brian Madden: But, but, again, it’s kind of as long as you can show that you tried to do the right thing and you believe you’re compliant, so nobody’s going to jail for this.
Nathan Coutinho: Yep. Right, that’s exactly right.
Brian Madden: You know is what’s crazy here is we’ve had a really good conversation, there’s been answers to all of these things and, and, and yet I get the sense that probably nobody is really any wiser when we’re all done. Just because, and not, not because the talk hasn’t been good, but just because it’s so damn complex that, that I can’t see how any organization can pick one direction. I think they have to go in several directions um, in order to make sure they have all their bases covered.
Nathan Coutinho: Well you know, this goes back to my, and I think I mentioned this earlier, is you’ve got to figure out what the right technology is, right. I mean you can, you can get lost in the sea of licensing, you know, and no matter what model you choose, obviously VDA’s probably the most complicated one, but you’ve got to really figure what’s the right fit. And there is a right fit for everyone. It’s not, it’s not, you can’t just say oh VDA is good for everyone because it’s not true. It’s just not, right. So once you figure that out it gets a little bit easier because if you, if say you go the desktop virtualization solution or as a project and you know this is the way you’re going to do it going forward, then it, it’s VDA or SA, that’s it.
There’s really no other way to kind of, kind of trick that, that whole thing. I mean yes there’s this whole concept of the Zero Clients, but I mean that’s not even published anywhere on anyone’s website. I mean I know like Clear Cube talked about it and I know Wyeth and HP have talked about it as well but, you know, technically it, it’s really not an official solution. Yes you could do it, you could cut corners but, now you’re going to start running into other issues so my advice to customers is just, you know, take the easy road, either do SA on the desktop or the VDA and be done with it. And in the long run, um you know, in the case of VDA it seems like it’s easier to transfer licenses and all that good kind of stuff in the long run. So, I mean that’s my, that’s been our advice all along to customers is just, try to figure out what, what technology works best first before you kind of go down into a deep dive into the licensing because either way you’re going to have to buy more licensing, typically.
Brian Madden: Yeah so if you decide, you know, the VDI is, is right for you, and I absolutely agree and I need to update my sort of VDI versus terminal server article because I’ve got a lot of, ah, thoughts, you know, sort of, that have evolved since we wrote that originally but, can you leave, can you leave us Nathan, with SA versus VDA. So you were saying that not as many people use SA, a lot of them are using VDA instead, so give us the, kind of the, the 30 second version, um, like why do I want SA versus why do I want VDA.
Nathan Coutinho: Okay, sure. So, um, so let’s start with VDA because that’s the one everyone really knows, so VDA is a subscription base license. Um, it’s about a hundred bucks a year, that’s list pricing, um, for each end point device. So effectively if you wanted to do, I don’t know, ten desktops, um, and you wanted to use a Thin Client or, or a machine, and older PC that didn’t have, or doesn’t have Software Assurance on it, you’d basically go buy ten licenses of VDA and then you could run ah, Windows 7 and VM Review or Citrix Zen Desktop or you know, whatever your choice of ah, broker is going to be high [inaudible] on the back end, and um, you can access those desktops, uh, you know, using that manner or using that licensing technology.
Now, if you have Software Assurance on your desktop or your laptop or if your primary device is covered under Software Assurance, you get the benefit of having VDA at no additional charge. Um, so what that means is you don’t have to go buy VDA, you basically set up your desktop and point them to the um, Windows desktop session that’s running on your uh, View or Zen Desktop or whatever you’re using, and you can, you know, in all, all, from a compliant perspective, you can now access that Windows session at no additional charge. That’s the nice thing about SA. The challenge with SA is not everyone has SA and I think there was a big fallout after XP because there was that big uh, time period between XP and Vista and well, let’s just say that uh, let’s just say that it was a long time for in between XP and Windows 7.
Brian Madden: You went by SA the whole time.
Nathan Coutinho: Yeah so a lot of customers bought SA and they’re like, hey we’re not getting any benefit from it and that’s the reason why Microsoft went back and, and changed a lot of the benefits of SA so there’s lots of new stuff that comes with SA today. Ah, there’s [inaudible], in some cases there’s free software, uh like VDA as an example, then there’s some training benefit [inaudible] but there’s a lot of stuff that they get added to it now. So it’s not just the ability to get the latest version, right, its more stuff that comes with it. Ah, and it changes by product so that’s something that you can definitely pull up on the Microsoft, on Microsoft’s website but, the biggest thing for customers that have SA is now they don’t have to worry about, you know, going and buying VDA.
Now, the reality is, not everyone has SA. That’s just a hard reality and now you have to kind of go back and figure out, okay, so, should I go back and buy SA for all my desktops or should I just go buy VDA? And a lot of customers are just buying VDA because 1.) they don’t know if they’re going, you know, when they’re going to go to Windows 8, so do I really get the benefit of, you know, getting the free upgrade to Windows 8 and uh, long term, they’re going to mix and match different products in their data center like, you know, you guys know, this is happening, right. We are seeing more Macs in Enterprise. It’s happening more and more. I think uh, Information Week or PC Week or someone just had a great article on that, you know, we were seeing, we’ve seen those surges with our customers, we’re using them internally a lot too, ah, and whether, whatever the next version of Lenux desktop or whatever, right.
We’re seeing more and more non-Windows devices out there. So our customers are like, well we need to use Windows for our corporate apps but, you know, going along that whole, bring your own PC realm like, should we just go ahead and, you know, start doing VDA because then it gets covered on any device and we don’t have to worry too much about SA. Even though I realize that you can put SA on Mac’s, but you still have to buy the upgrade first, that’s the reality. So –
Brian Madden: And the summary also is that SA, to cover a device under SA it has to be able to run Windows locally, but to cover it, any device can be VDA, whether it, even it can run Windows or if it can’t you can put VDA on it.
Nathan Coutinho: Yes, VDA works on anything. It doesn’t matter, I mean, technically you’re not really installing Windows on the Thin Client, I mean, that’s not why you’re buying VDA, you’re buying it because you want to access a, you know, Windows 7 virtual machine that’s run [inaudible]. That’s the whole purpose why you’re running it. But yeah, you’re right, from an SA perspective, I guess from a Coa perspective, it’s not even SA, because you’re trying to buy Coa and uh, add it to a, you know, a naked PC or a naked laptop without an OS, which is really hard to find these days, um, you know, that, that machine really needs to be able or capable to run Windows. Um, and if it doesn’t it’s not really necessarily compliant but I realize it’s a grey area. So again, I go back to, you know, there’s, there’s enough complexity in, in, VDI in itself, with our licensing, uh, pick your battles, just go with the licensing that actually makes sense and to me, you know it’s, going to VDA is probably the best bet long term, but then obviously if you have SA that’s another option too.
Brian Madden: Alright well we have come to the end of our hour. Uh, it’s an interesting –
Gabe Knuth: I honestly didn’t expect to talk licensing the entire time, did you?
Brian Madden: No, we could probably do another hour, to be honest. Um –
Gabe Knuth: I think so.
Brian Madden: So, so um, hey we’re going to have to cut it off ah, Nathan Coutinho, thank you so much for joining us from Chicago where you do a lot more than just licensing for CDW but we appreciate you sharing your licensing expertise with us today.
Nathan Coutinho: Absolutely. Thanks for having me.
Brian Madden: Um, a couple of quick shout outs, so, on behalf of Gabe and Me, want to say hello to the Desktop Virtualization Drinking Association in Denver, Colorado where Gabe and I were both uh, their guests this past Wednesday night and uh, it was a really great night, a lot of great conversations with that group and happily there’s a lot of conversations that had nothing to do with desktop virtualization. So that was also very cool.
Gabe Knuth: Yeah, you bet. That was a, that was a unique meeting. I don’t think I’ve been to one like that.
Brian Madden: Uh, next week we will be back here Tuesday morning at the same time, back here on the same, I guess website, I don’t know if we’ll be back in our office or if we’ll be at my apartment, um, until they get our upgraded connection, we’re getting a hundred megabit connection here ah, in the office, so that’s, that’s really cool. Uh –
Gabe Knuth: I’ll believe it when I hear it.
Brian Madden: Our guest, our guest next week is going to be um, Chetan, ah Chetan Vanderkesh, and he is the ah, CEO, no CTO, Founder of Atlantis Computing, but Chetan and I have sparred back and forth, had BriForum sessions together, talked about future desktop and everything so, um, he’ll sort of just be our, our guest of the week and we’ll sort of have more conversations about the industry um, and we’re looking forward to that. He’s local here in San Francisco so we can make him come over to my apartment or the office, ah, wherever we end up. So, ah, with that though, in the US though we’ve got our Thanksgiving holiday here so it’s not really work day, really getting into tomorrow, Thursday or Friday, no one’s going to be doing anything here so we will see you all back on Monday. Uh, big football game this weekend, Ohio State, Michigan, I can just say, uh, you know, go Bucks!
Gabe Knuth: OH
Brian Madden: IO. And uh, Gabe actually, thank you for that, thank you for backing away from the microphone for that.
Gabe Knuth: I got so excited my headphones –
Brian Madden: I did not do that. Hey, all who joined, Nathan, thank you Citrix Online for sponsoring the show today, ah, we’ll be back here next week, enjoy