26 Mar

If I received a dollar for every time I’m asked this question you and I can both retire!  Things are changing in the world of data center outsourcing, but for some reason this is still stuck in the mud.  Why no VDI today?

1) I have no idea

2) See answer 1

I wrote about this topic earlier, but my hunch is it has something to do with the OEM manufactures.  OEM is a big piece of Microsoft business, and they protect it.  (Although Surface kind of muddies that theory).  As an example of this, if you were to “lease” a desktop to an end customer, you would first need a OEM license pre-installed and use SPLA and/or volume licensing as an upgrade license.  So even under a rented desktop model, OEM is still a requirement.  If everyone used VDI and dummy terminals – OEM manufactures would be left out of the game.  (at least in volume)

The only thing that would change this model is if they received a very high number of requests to offer this through Azure.  Look at what happened with Remote Desktop Services (RDS).  RDS was never part of license mobility.  Azure comes along and before you know it- RDS has mobility rights! Check it out here

That being said, Microsoft can make the rules of their own game, and even know Microsoft can do it does not mean the service provider/partner community can do it.  Office 365 is a prime example of this.  Under O365, you can take Office and install it on up to 5 PCs. Try that under SPLA and you have to license every PC with a separate Office license, use Windows 7/8 upgrade license, have a OEM on the machine that you own, and sign a rental addendum.  That’s why I wrote “office needs mobility rights”

One new capability in the latest SPLA agreement is you can install software on customer owned hardware.  BUT guess what?  That does not apply to PCs.

I’m not sure if this will ever change.  Every conference that I’ve attended the past 10 years partners ask the same question – “Can I provide VDI under SPLA?” I don’t like the word “no” but unfortunately, the answer is “no.”

Would love to hear about your thoughts on the topic.  Have you tried Windows server and RDS as an alternative?  What about dedicated environments for VDI?

Thanks for reading,



Posted by on March 26, 2014 in VDI


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

7 responses to “VDI for SPLA?

  1. Daan

    April 5, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    Interesting post! Can you please elaborate on why you think VDI is not possible? For example WS2012R2 standard, why not?

    • splaman

      April 30, 2014 at 5:07 pm


      Sorry for the delayed response. I think a lot of it has to do with OEM manufactures. If everyone decided to use a dummy terminal and no OEM, it kind of leaves OEM manufacturers in the dust. That’s a big piece of Microsoft and the channel business. I think if they did this via SPLA, they should make Windows 8 a user license. Especially since Office is user based (when installed on a server). Might as well bundle the two together and make a compelling offer. Thoughts?

      • Daan

        April 30, 2014 at 5:55 pm

        Thank you for your reply.

        I’m looking into methods comparable to enterprise VDI, but DaaS seems possible with SPLA using WS2012R2 Datacenter in combination with Hyper-V. It is then possible to rent out VMs at no additional costs (effectively spreading the datacenter license cost over all users). Since RDP for administrative use is allowed, no CALs are required. Does this make any sense?
        Of course you wouldn’t be able to use any of the RDS features, while RDVH is a comparable (and better) alternative – it is way more expensive when you have to pay CALs.

  2. Daan

    April 5, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Either VDI or DaaS, really

  3. Daniel Alvarez

    May 22, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    I was researching on this topic and found this:,,24280_24191_24192,00.html#managed
    I case the page changes, what it says is: “The Managed PC Amendment is available through SPLA for partners wanting to rent desktops and laptops to end customers. The physical desktops and laptops need to be owned and managed by the SPLA partner. The desktop must include an OEM desktop operating system. Windows Professional is an upgrade license through SPLA. The partner must have a qualifying underlying operating system.”

    • splaman

      June 3, 2015 at 4:21 pm

      Yep. You can rent a PC out to a customer. That doesn’t mean you can stream it.


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