As I was reading my morning twitter feed I saw a tweet from one of our CTPs (Dane Young @youngtech) that woke me up better than my morning tea ever could.

Anyone with a passion for the VDI (XenDesktop) space  has been up in arms about the way Microsoft licenses VDI, which historically has been by device. In the RDS (XenApp) space licensing has been available per user for a long time thanks to the RDS CAL. To describe the differences between these license models I shot this video over a year ago which has generated about 2k hits (that’s a lot for a boring video about Microsoft Licensing)

This discrepancy in licensing has created a problem for organizations that want to push VDI but can’t due to the way it is licensed. Consider the way many users work these days, how many of you reading this only use a single device? My guess is that every last person readying this blog has numerous devices. According to Forbes the average mobile users has 3.5 devices. In my experience the average geek has 10. 🙂 The point being, if I want to access my Windows desktop/app and if my corporation had VDA licenses, they’d need one license per non-Windows device. A change in licenses made it so one license allowed up to 5 devices, but this wasn’t enough for me and many others. We wanted per-user licensing. I have always liked the idea that I have a badge in my wallet that if I got pulled over by the licensing police it would say “This person is licensed to use this software”. That’s what it looks like Microsoft has done with the latest license rules: license the user not the device.

No word yet on the cost of this new license, my guess is that it will be a premium, but even so, auditing gets fixed by this, and list prices can always be negotiated. So as far as I’m concerned #FixVDA is done, but I can’t let it go there…

What this license doesn’t fix is Microsoft Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA), which is important for the cloud-based desktop (DaaS) market. I for one would love to see SPLA for Windows Client, it sure would help our CSPs and our efforts around Citrix WorkSpace Services. But VDA on a per user basis is a massive change for Microsoft and although I’m not an analyst anymore, I really gave Microsoft a hard time about this in my previous role: I may or may not have done multiple presentation with #FixVDA as the hashtag (I admit nothing!) :). I know I changed jobs but I wanted to give our partners over at Microsoft a HUGE shout out on this one. Great job gang! This change is a massive opportunity for us at Citrix and for the VDI industry in general.

Gunnar Berger

CTO, Desktop’s and Apps

PS: If you are interested in Gartner’s take, I’d encourage you to read Mark Lockwood’s blog. He covers this now and I expect his day just got a lot busier with this news.