Windows VDA licensing for VDI environments

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) technologies enable users to access their work desktops from almost any device.

Every device connecting to a Windows VDI will require virtual desktop access rights. If the accessing device is a computer covered by a Windows license with valid Software Assurance, the virtual desktop access rights are included. For other devices, a Windows Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) license is required. For the Windows VDA licenses, 90-day reassignment rights apply, which means that a license cannot be reassigned to another device within 90 days of the last assignment.

SAM Core on Snow Atlas identifies all devices that have been connected to a VDI. The device may, for example, be a home PC, a smartphone, or a thin client, but it could also be an inventoried computer. The application Windows Virtual Desktop Access is then added to all of these devices.

License requirements

When the license requirement for the Windows Virtual Desktop Access are calculated, the following rules apply:

  • If the device is an inventoried computer and if the computer is covered by a Windows license with valid Software Assurance, no Windows VDA license is required.

  • If the device is an inventoried computer with a Windows license without Software Assurance, a Windows VDA license is required.

  • If the device is an inventoried computer not covered by a Windows license, a Windows VDA license is required.

  • If the device is not an inventoried computer, a Windows VDA license is required.

  • A Windows VDA license can be reassigned after 90-days.

The Windows operating systems on the Virtual Desktops (VDI) do not require a Windows client license and are automatically removed from the license requirements for the Windows operating system they run, this is illustrated by the VDI remark on the computer as well as under license requirements when looking at the information details.

The Windows VDA licensing management is automated. However, to ensure correct license allocation, all purchases of Windows licenses with Software Assurance must be registered with upgrade rights enabled.

Licensing is also required for the server and management infrastructure of the VDI solution. As a support in the licensing of the VDI structure (Microsoft or other supplier), dedicated stock reports are provided:

  • All devices that have accessed a VDI

  • All users that have accessed a VDI