Microsoft Offers Virtual Licensing Options for Vista
If your enterprise customers have been pestering you for virtual
licensing options, you can now bring them some good news, at least for Vista.
Microsoft recently announced changes to its virtual licensing strategy that
should make it easier for enterprises to license Vista on all types of virtual
Microsoft will now let enterprises license Vista for thin-client workstations
or any other version of "diskless PCs" -- if they have Software Assurance.
The company has also created a new licensing option, Windows Vista Enterprise
Centralized Desktops (VECD), which will allow for licenses on "virtual
machines centralized on server hardware."
"We are working with our partners so they can provide the software to
enable diskless PCs and they will likely enable two different scenarios for
customers," Scott Woodgate, director of Microsoft Windows Business Group,
said in an interview posted on Microsoft's site. "In the first scenario,
each employee's hard drive is stored individually on centralized storage hardware.
In the second scenario, shared images are used by a group of users. Our licensing
enables both of these scenarios so that customers can work with our partners
to determine if these are valuable architectures within their desktop environment."
According to Woodgate's statements online, the "diskless PC" option
is just an additional option for customers -- no price change is involved. The
price of VECD will vary depending on whether customers purchase it for PCs or
for virtual machines.
Both of the changes are only available to customers with Software Assurance.
While VECD might be a good fit for some customers, it doesn't look like Microsoft
thinks these new options will immediately catch on: "For most businesses,
the most cost-effective option for centrally managing their desktop environments
continues to be Terminal Services," Woodgate said. "VECD likely has
a lower price-performance ratio than Terminal Services -- due to the hardware
requirements of virtual machines -- but it does have the benefit of the same
application compatibility and isolation boundaries as Windows Vista."
The new options were originally launched last week at the Microsoft Management
Summit 2007 in San Diego.