Microsoft creates two “VDI Suite” bundles. VECD lives on :(

Microsoft's Worldwide Partner conference is taking place this week in New Orleans. There have been several announcements around desktop virtualization, including one about Microsoft bundling *most* of the components needed to build a complete VDI solution.

Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner conference is taking place this week in New Orleans. There have been several announcements around desktop virtualization, including one about Microsoft bundling *most* of the components needed to build a complete VDI solution.

They’re being sold as the “VDI Suite” licenses, and they’re a combination of the host, management, and broker capabilities you need for VDI. Two versions are available: “standard” and “premium.” The main difference between the two is that the cheaper standard license is VDI only, while the premium version lets you combine VDI and TS.

Let’s take a look at the specifics of each bundle:

Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Standard Suite ($21 per device, per year)

  • Hyper-V Server 2008 R2
  • System Center Virtual Machine Manager
  • System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2
  • System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2
  • Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP), which includes App-V, MED-V, etc.
  • All Remote Desktop components (RD Web Access, RD Session Broker, RD Gateway, etc.) However these have restricted use rights so you can only use them to deliver VDI, not full-blown TS (err, “session-based desktops”)

Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Premium Suite ($53 per device, per year)

  • Includes everything from the Standard edition, plus:
  • Full, unrestricted rights to use all components for TS / session-based desktops too, including TS, App-V to TS sessions, etc.
  • TS CAL

The premium suite includes the TS CAL, which is amazing, since this bundle includes a lot more stuff and it’s about half the price as a TS CAL. (Although I guess you have to keep in mind that this $53 is yearly, while I think the $119 or whatever for the TS CAL is perpetual.) But still, wow! What a bundle!

The only real catch is you still have to buy that crazy VECD license (for both bundles), which is the “centralized desktop” license that is needed to even allow you to use VDI in the first place. At first I thought this was crazy, but after thinking about it for a day I so I guess this makes sense too, since you need VECD for any VDI deployment, even if it’s on Citrix or VMware infrastructure. So VECD is like the “base” license, and then on top of that you can choose to buy Citrix, Quest, VMware, Symantec, or this Microsoft Suite.

And finally, notice that these two suites are “per device,” defined as needing one license for each different client device that will access the environment. This is especially fun because just about everyone else in the industry licenses their stuff based on users. I mean Microsoft even recommends XenDesktop in their blog post, yet XenDesktop is sold based on concurrent users. Ugh!

Bottom line, though, is that these bundles are smart. Tomorrow we’ll look at what this will mean for Citrix and VMware.

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Sounds like good news but without all of the details, I will reserve judgement. Bundling App-V sounds great, because this option was closed off to many customers because they needed SA on volume client OS licensing, and how many people do that? Most go with the OS licnese that comes with the PC when they buy it. I don't like this per device model. I have found many organizations look to a form of VDI to give their users a truly flexible computing model - meaning they have access to that same workspace (or desktop) from any number of devices - corporate PC, laptop, home PC, mobile device, etc. Who wants to buy multiple licenses for each user based on how many devices they will access from? It should be per user, period, and the user has complete flexibility on where to access that workspace from. That's one of the main selling points of VDI, who wants to have that restricted by silly licensing models.


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Microsoft is simply gouging their customers.  Per device model in today's mobile world is simply criminal.  Then to charge this fee PER YEAR is adding insult to injury.  


They really should go to a concurrent model or at least stick with per named user...


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True, per-year is tough. But with price points at $21 and $53, that's way cheaper than buying everything on its own.. I mean probably years worth, right?


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Hi Brian, funny enough we received a similar question from cstalhood on the Microsoft Virtualization team blog. Manlio posted an update to his July 13 post to answer the question. It also addresses some items in you blog post. So here's a cut/paste with Manlio's answer.


I'm responding to the question from cstalhood, and the similar question in Brian Madden's post today. For session virtualization using WS08 R2 Remote Desktop Services (RDS), you don’t need the VECD license. The Premium VDI Suite license includes full rights of the RDS CAL, in addition to the other components for a VDI solution. The Premium VDI Suite license, when available in Q4, will be available as a device subscription, while RDS CAL (the new name for TS CAL) is available as a perpetual user or device license. After all, some customers don’t want to buy on a subscription basis.


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Brian, just a reminder that you _do_not_ need a VECD license with Parallels VDI solution (I know; you all consider it a niche product, but I sure see a lot of POC's around it).  Nor do you need either of these new VDI suite bundles.  Remember:  VECD and the VDI suite bundles are recurring 'device' licenses.  So, VECD is either $110 without device SA, or $23 with device SA, plus $21 or $53 per device every single year.  Nearly every other VDI solution is licensed per concurrent user and the proliferation of 'devices' goes on... So, while the customer is getting a lot of 'solution' with these VDI suite bundles, that 'solution' ensures vendor lock-in and the cost will likely build over time.


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To follow up on Patricks post and to be 100% clear.  


We have NOT killed the TS / RDS CAL -  customers that want to continue to buy RDS just like they have always done absolutely can.


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"True, per-year is tough. But with price points at $21 and $53, that's way cheaper than buying everything on its own.. I mean probably years worth, right?"


For large enterprises when you are talking about 15,000 + individual users connecting from various devices the per year fee at $53 is an insane line item on the yearly budget.   I just don't see how this is sustainable in today's economy and with vendors trying to push all users into the 'cloud'. Yes you do get all the extra features but look at it this way,  with a Citrix Platinum license you get all sorts of 'features' and it's based on a CCU model.  If Microsoft did this then I don't think it would be that big of a deal and they could charge a bit more too.


"while RDS CAL (the new name for TS CAL) is available as a perpetual user or device license."


Well.  I guess that is good news since you still have the option to buy an old fashion 'TS' CAL.  That being said this is still a ridiculous license scheme.  Why can't Microsoft make it a concurrent user model?.  Yes I understand you get more revenue with your current method but how about follow the rest of the industry and do this on a ccu basis. You are already paying for the OS license cost..


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I agree this is a freaking joke at scale. It should be per usr as opposed to per machine, not even CCU because that can cost more. All the EXTRA value is because they make a crap OS that requires all this ovehead to manage it...... For exisiting devices in an enterprise this is a nightmare and they should be grandfathered in. For new devices to protect revenue MS could justify a charge, which is usually bundled in by the OEMs. But once Google/Mac/Liniux client are good at connecting to VDI, how will MS protect revenue then? Hence their VECD plus device tax. I don't see how they justify charging a non Windows device stack. If they say no tax for Windows devices then maybe smart but the government may say something. Reality is, the OS is becoming a commodity and they are trying to hang on.


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You may not like the "per Device" model, but it falls in line with the rest of MS licensing. VECD is per device, all MS Applications delivered via CTX/TS VDI, or Streamed are per device.


So when the whole solution is "per device" it makes it less confusing for everyone involved, the end solution is likely to be implemented correctly from Day One, and the Client won't end up with  a big bill from Microsoft come audit time - something I have seen happen many times.


All solutions need to be able to stand on their own two feet from a $$ point of view and VDI is no different.


Catch ya


Shane


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@this makes VDI expensive for many. VECD should be a per user Tax. If MS insists on this tactic, I will just argue that $53 is retail and give me divide me a ratio of say 3-4 which is how many devices I think users will connect from and hard ball a discount. Which ever you have cut it, VDI can't cost more than it would cost me now. MS hates VDI because it hurts their OS monopoly, and they have to innovate with new ideas to justify why one should pay so much. Crappy features like Med-V don't count, because they completly missed the point of what customers wanted. At least idiots in MDOP did.


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"You may not like the "per Device" model, but it falls in line with the rest of MS licensing. VECD is per device"...  Ugh.. nope.. RD CALs are per user or per device.   Juse because VECD is per device doesn't make it the 'right' licensing model for a virtual world.


"After all, some customers don’t want to buy on a subscription basis."  Exactly,  so why do customers get a choice with RD CALs scenario but not with VECD or VDI?


Session-based RDS and XenApp may make a comeback after all!


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@appdetective, "VDI expensive for many. VECD should be a per user Tax. "  What about scenarios where a company has 300 employees that use 100 thin clients.  The "per device" method is cheaper than a "per user" license.  In actuality, Microsoft should offer BOTH 'per device' and 'per user' license options for VECD.


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