March 18, 2010, 12:39 PM — Microsoft is lowering the price of licensing the Windows operating system in a virtual desktop deployment, and announcing new bundles with partner Citrix in an announcement Thursday.
Microsoft customers have complained that its virtual desktop licensing scheme, known as http://www.microsoft.com/windows/enterprise/solutions/virtualization/lic... ">Virtual Enterprise Centralized Desktop (VECD), is too confusing.
"We've gotten feedback from our customers and partners that it was confusing and complex," says Dai Vu, director of virtualization marketing for Microsoft. "We're going to simplify and extend the rights for what you're paying for."
For customers who already pay for Microsoft's Software Assurance (SA) program, Microsoft's VECD pricing scheme forced them to pay an additional $23 per year for each client device used in a http://www.networkworld.com/reviews/2009/122109-virtual-desktop-infrastr... ">virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) model.
Microsoft announced that it is eliminating that extra charge effective July 1. This means customers who run a large number of desktops under Software Assurance do not need to pay extra Windows licensing costs when moving to a virtualized system. This holds true regardless of whether the customer is virtualizing desktops using technology from Microsoft, Citrix or a competitor such as VMware.
Customers who have not purchased Software Assurance were being charged $110 per device per year for virtualization deployments. That price is being lowered to $100. This is primarily for thin clients and computers used by contractors, rather than full-time employees, Vu says. For company-owned PCs, it will typically be less expensive to purchase Software Assurance than to pay the $100 per-device VECD licensing charge, he said. Microsoft is also changing the name of VECD to Windows Virtual Desktop Access.
The licensing of both desktop and server operating systems is changing with the times. Licensing has historically been tied to hardware, but now desktop virtualization lets IT shops deliver numerous desktops from the same server, Vu notes. Microsoft's new licensing scheme will let users access their desktops from multiple endpoints without extra payments.