In a Windows Virtualized Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solution the computer desktop environment is separated from the physical computer to maintain data compliance by keeping sensitive corporate resources off user devices. Virtualized desktops are stored on-premises or in the cloud and are provided to the users via a display protocol. The users can access their work desktop from any location and any device (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android) if they have a network connection and a VDI client.
The following desktop virtualization solutions are supported by Snow License Manager:
▪ Citrix XenDesktop
▪ Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
▪ VMware Horizon View
“THE SAM CHALLENGE”
Desktop virtualization provides advantages from an operational and management point of view, but it also adds complexity when it comes to licensing of the VDI environment. Since Windows VDA is based on the number of access devices, the total number of Windows VDA licenses required equals the total number of thin clients and other non-SA devices that will access the VDI environment.
Microsoft licenses Windows for virtual desktops by access device:
▪ Virtual desktop access rights are a benefit of Windows Client Software Assurance (SA). Customers who intend to use PCs covered under SA have access to their Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) desktops at no additional charge.
▪ Customers who want to use devices that do not qualify for Windows Client SA, such as thin clients, will need to license those devices with Windows Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) to access a Windows VDI desktop. Windows VDA is also applicable to third party devices, such as contractor or employee-owned PCs. The challenge is to obtain correct information on actual number of VDA licenses that is required in
a VDI environment to be compliant and avoid overspending:
▪ The server and management infrastructure of the VDI solution requires licensing
▪ The operating systems of the virtual desktops require no licensing
▪ The devices accessing the virtual desktops require licensing If you are accessing a Windows client OS as your guest operating system in the datacenter from any non-SA device (including thin clients, iPads, etc.), Windows VDA is the appropriate licensing vehicle regardless of the VDI software vendor you choose. The only scenario where you would not need Windows VDA is if you were using PCs covered under Software Assurance as the access devices, since virtual desktop access rights are included as a benefit of SA.
▪ Snow License Manager 7.0 or higher.
▪ Snow Inventory Client for Windows 3.7, or higher, must be installed on all virtual desktops.
▪ Information on host/guest relationships.
INSTALLATION AND PREPARATION
To utilize the functionality for VDI and Windows VDA license requirement calculations in Snow License Manager, the Snow Inventory Client for Windows (SICW) is required to be installed on all virtual desktops.
When SICW is used in a VDI solution there are some configuration settings that need to be applied to ensure accurate capture of all activities on each virtual desktop:
▪ The agent needs to be aware of that it is part of a VDI.
▪ Each virtual desktop needs to get a unique client identifier.
▪ Information on all sessions and relevant application usage needs to be captured before the virtual desktop session is shut down/re-provisioned.
For more detailed information on this configuration, refer to the document User Guide, Snow
Inventory Client for Windows.
CALCULATION OF LICENSE REQUIREMENT
With Snow Inventory Client for Windows installed on the virtual desktops, all devices that access them will be identified by Snow License Manager. A device may be, for example a home PC, a smartphone, a thin client, or an inventoried computer.
In Snow License Manager the fictional (and non-editable) application Windows Virtual Desktop Access is added to the identified devices. Calculation of license requirement for the Windows VDA is then performed according to the following conditions.
For a device that:
▪ Is an inventoried computer with a qualifying operating system license covered by Software Assurance for Windows - no Windows VDA license is required.
▪ Is an inventoried computer with a qualifying operating system license not covered by Software Assurance for Windows - a Windows VDA license is required.
▪ Is an inventoried computer without a qualifying operating system license - a Windows VDA license is required.
▪ Is not an inventoried computer - a Windows VDA license is required.
In Snow License Manager, management of Windows VDA licensing is automated. However, to ensure correct license requirement calculations it is important that all purchases of Windows licenses with Software Assurance are registered with upgrade rights.
PRESENTATION IN SNOW LICENSE MANAGER
When the license requirement for a certain operating system is calculated, all virtual desktops that run the specific operating system are automatically excluded from the calculation. In Snow License Manager, excluded virtual desktop operating systems are indicated by Virtual desktop infrastructure on the Compliance tab in Application details.
When the license requirement for Windows Virtual Desktop Access is calculated, devices that are covered by a Windows license with valid Software Assurance are automatically excluded from the calculation.
In Snow License Manager, excluded devices (with Software Assurance for Windows) are indicated
by the comment Virtual desktop access on the Compliance tab in Application details.
The following reports with VDI information are available in Snow License Manager:
▪ All devices that have accessed a VDI
Presents all devices that have accesses a VDI, and the last logged on user of the device.
▪ All users that have accessed a VDI
Presents all users that have accesses a VDI, and the last VDI that they accessed.
▪ Applications per VDI computer
Presents all applications installed or used per VDI computer.