Page 2 of 2
Microsoft has no mechanism in place to remotely track whether or not they are in compliance, but some customers could be looking at much higher licensing costs if they were to face an audit.
"There are many organizations out there that have deployed VDI and do not understand the licensing, and they are all out of compliance," said Mike Strohl, president of Entisys, a Concord, Calif.-based solution provider. "They're not thinking about iPads and smartphones and all the extra endpoints."
The CDL could clear things up, partners say, as it gives customers the right to access corporate desktops through VDI on up to four personally owned devices. Microsoft has not said how much the CDL will cost, but customers with large numbers of VDI-equipped iPads are obviously going to be fine with the CDL if it costs less than the VDA.
The alternative for Microsoft would be to stage mass audits of customers that use VDI with tablets to ensure compliance with the VDA. Such a move would likely be a PR disaster for Microsoft, though -- one that would make the recent uproar over the CDL look tame by comparison.
Jon Roskill, Microsoft's vice president of worldwide partner sales and marketing, told CRN earlier this week that the company will rely on customers to do the right thing. "Our whole software licensing methodology is based on trust and will continue to be," he said.
There is no doubt that Microsoft is favoring Windows RT tablets by not requiring the CDL, but this isn't part of a strategy to keep Apple out of the enterprise: Microsoft just wants to get paid. Partners want Microsoft to get paid, too, and no one is advocating that Microsoft give Windows away for free.
According to one solution provider with nationwide reach, the issue is not whether Microsoft has a right to monetize Windows VDI more aggressively; it is the impact on the channel of having to learn yet another licensing option.
"What is getting to organizations is the layers and layers of licensing: The Remote Desktop Services CAL, the VDI Suite, and the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack. All of these are on top of VDA and CDL licensing," said the source, who requested anonymity.