SMARTDesktop - Microsoft Licensing & Total Cost of Ownership – Part 1


Introduction of SMARTDesktop – The Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) echoed many questions about Microsoft Licensing & the total cost of ownership for SMARTDesktop based VDI solution. Some of the questions:
  • whether VDI solution saves of Microsoft Licensing? 
  • Do we need to purchase as many licenses as we need to in a typical desktop situation
  • Can't we purchase just one license of the OS & application as the application is installed on only one server etc.
There were even comments like the savings we talk about in a VDI situation is negligible and going with traditional desktop / laptop makes sense. Hence through this article we are explaining the Microsoft Licensing for SMARTDesktop – The VDI Solution and its direct and indirect benefits. This article is written in 3 parts; the first defines the Virtual Desktop & types of implementation, flexibility SMARTDesktop will bring to the solution; the second explains the Microsoft Licensing requirements taking a case study, third, explains the Total Cost of Ownership and the benefits SMARTDesktop would bring to table as against the traditional desktop / laptop & other VDI scenario.

We start this discussion by stating that savings on Microsoft licenses may turnout to be a myth with any VDI or HSD (Hosted Shared Desktop) solution if the customer's application reside on Microsoft Operating System. But based on the type of deployment you can definitely reduce the total investment to be made to adapt VDI within the Enterprise & the TCO would definitely be better as compared with traditional desktop / laptop scenario.


Virtual Desktop Infrastructure or VDI as many vendors define it, literally means that a desktop operating system like Microsoft Windows XP, Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, hosted in a virtual machine running on a central server and the access to this desktop is provided to the user on-demand over the network. VDI is a variation on the client/server computing model, sometimes referred to as server-based / session based computing. This new deployment method is being used as an alternative to already existing server based computing built on Citrix or Microsoft Terminal Services or Remote Desktop Services.

In case of server / session based based computing, the sessions are created on a Server that hosts the applications and users were provided the access to the server sessions over the network. Whereas in VDI scenario, Virtual Machines with desktop OS & applications like Windows 7 are hosted on a server in a data center and users are provided the access to this VM over the network. Based on the deployment method the customer chooses, the Microsoft License requirement varies.

To the question that whether SMARTDesktop help in saving on the Microsoft Licenses the answer remains subjective. It depends on customer's applications, the deployment method, choice of operating system, choice of applications etc. However SMARTDesktop definitely reduces on the server hardware and Microsoft OS requirements, hypervisor requirements by the virtue of the flexibility it provides. SMARTDesktop supports both server based sessions method with Windows, Linux Server Operating Systems & applications and VDI in true sense using the client OS such as Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8.1 & different Linux flavors. The core component of SMARTDesktop works on different Linux flavors. Secondly SMARTDesktop allows the user to select their virtualization platform, thus allowing for cost savings. Moreover, SMARTDesktop allows the users to choose between Microsoft Windows and Linux OS to deliver most general applications, thus providing the required flexibility in choosing the operating platform and application suites. With SMARTDesktop, unless the customer has any application/s (either general or specific) that works only on Microsoft Windows OS, the customer need not invest with Microsoft Operating Systems.

Additionally, for authentication & authorization, SMARTDesktop supports internal method, Microsoft Active Directory, Open LDAP & Novel eDirectory thus providing the flexibility to customer to choose multiple options available.

The flexibility provided by SMARTDesktop, allows the user to make choices between available & supported options thus working towards reducing the dependency over proprietary operating system & application suites thus bringing significant benefits on to the table.

In the next part, we shall see more details about Microsoft licensing for VDI scenario by taking an example.

We will be back here with next article soon...

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