The “Microsoft SPLA + VDI = No No” Debate

As a service provider, I (as many others) would love to be able to capitalize on the cap cost reductions in hardware that virtualization is supposed to bring me. I’d love to be able to take advantage of big hardware with multiple cores that should be so well suited to hosting desktops in a multi-tenant environment. Sounds great until you discover that if you plan on those desktops running Microsoft Windows 7 or any Windows Client OS that and you’re licensed under the SPLA, you’re done right there. The SPLA basically seems to restrict client OS licenses for different owners from residing on VM’s on the same physical hardware. Call it the VDI no-no. So what’s the play here? Why is Microsoft eliminating a huge portion of the market and inhibiting competition (do I hear you snickering?) by preventing anyone from moving forward with multi-tenant cloud based VDI? MS licensing reps are either in the dark or intentionally clammed up when asked “Why?”. Companies like Desktone are doing it and are PROFITING from it, but nobody can seem to figure out how they are doing it and maintaining license compliance. People are calling out Desktone as a license violator (probably hoping to cash in on the software piracy and compliance reporting reward). But are they? Is there some loophole we don’t know about as SP’s? Did they get special treatment?  Dare I posit a conspiracy theory that questions whether they are they an acquisition target for Microsoft since MS missed the boat in getting to market with their own VDI offerings? Many questions, few answers. Check out the blog post below on the TechNet forums for a representative view from SP type customers who like me are baffled and irritated at this ridiculous and behind-the-times inhibition in licensing. It seems way too deliberate for a company that is now touting the “Cloud” readiness of Hyper-V and the like…


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