|Dear Sam, I have a question about Microsoft licensing that I am hoping you can provide an answer to. The definition of a Qualified Device in Microsoft’s current Enterprise Agreement states that a Qualified Device means:|
If an organization-owned device such as an iPad is authenticated to the corporate network and is accessing Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013 as a Published Application via Remote Desktop Services (Citrix or Terminal Services for example), is the device a Qualified Device? The reason I ask is that Microsoft does not define the term “Virtual Desktop Infrastructure” in its EA contracts.
Whilst most of us would consider VDI to mean a virtual operating system environment running on server infrastructure (i.e. a Virtual Machine that contains a desktop operating system), which is not the case when accessing a published application, I am not certain whether or not Microsoft’s use of the term VDI is intended to also cover access to server based desktop application software, even if that software is not running in an actual virtual machine. I appreciate that regardless of whether the device is a qualified device or not that it still requires an Office Professional Plus 2013 licence, but I am trying to determine whether or not it is considered to be a qualified device as per the contractual terms of the EA. If you can share your thoughts that would be much appreciated.
On behalf of all confused licensing professionals.
PLEASE NOTE: This answer has been updated to reflect additional feedback I’ve received. Thanks to the folks in the Microsoft Licensing Professionals network Group for your considered and professionally delivered feedback!
Interestingly, I was having a discussion with a product manager from a software development organization recently that touched on these subjects – and I’ll say for the record, that it’s not just software licensing professionals who are confused. There are a huge number of variants when working with software licensing in virtual environments and I could probably write a book about this topic, but let’s focus on your question of an organization owned iPad. You may, or may not realize it, but you actually asked two questions – one is, “can the iPad be considered a qualifying device”. The other is what licenses do I need to be able to utilize Microsoft Professional Plus 2013 from a Citrix server legally.
Let’s start with the summary of the answer
Wrapping up the answer into a bite sized response…
- No, the iPad is not considered a qualifying device based on the fact that it cannot run an instance of Windows Professional locally and it is not accessing a VDI environment (at least based on the way the question is worded).
- To license an iPad to utilize a Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013 application published by a virtualized Citrix server, you need:
- Connection to the Server – RDS CAL – either user or device
- A license for the correct version and edition of Office
You can, if you wish, designate the device as a qualified device, but that would likely only be done if you are targeting certain licensing price breaks.
I will insert a caveat here – you mention, a “Citrix” server, but you do not mention which one, nor how it will be used. Since you reference remote desktop services, presumably you would be referencing something like the Citrix XenApp solution – for the above to be true, you must not be using a full virtual desktop infrastructure (which Citrix also provides).
There is an exceptional Microsoft JumpStart video on this topic that I recommend people watch. You can find the video here – https://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/training-courses/using-microsoft-vdi-to-enable-new-workstyles-jump-start. If you sign up for the Microsoft Virtual Academy (free signup), you can also download the slides and take the assessment to test your knowledge. There are also a number of licensing guides available from Microsoft to help understand these issues. They don’t address your scenario exactly, but you can find additional information to reference information should you need.
I’ve provided a list of resources for your review at the end of this article.
Now, let’s dig into the background behind why that’s the answer.
First, let’s look at the issue of Qualifying Device
Before we go further, let me highlight that there is additional Microsoft text in the definition of “Qualified Device”, just so everyone has a complete picture:
Qualified Devices do not include any device that is: (1) designated as a server and not used as a personal computer, (2) an Industry Device, or (3) not managed (as defined in the Product List at the start of the applicable initial or renewal term of the Enrollment) as part of Enrolled Affiliate’s Enterprise. At its option, the Enrolled Affiliate may designate any device that is used by or for the benefit of the Enrolled Affiliate’s Enterprise (e.g., Industry Device) as a Qualified Device for all or a subset of Enterprise Products or Online Services the Enrolled Affiliate has selected.
In the case you bring up, you indicate that the iPad will connect to a Citrix Server which will be providing published applications (such as Office) for use by the user of the iPad.
Further, you do indicate that the iPad is authenticated to the corporate network (presumably authenticating against an Active Directory system), so the device would be considered managed.
So, looking at the details that conditions that need to be met, we collapse it down to the following:
- Can the iPad run an instance of Windows Professional Locally (in a physical or virtual operating system environment) — NO
- Is the device used to access a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) — NO
The above questions are the primary items when it comes to determining if a device is qualifying or not. At that point, we can say that the device is not a qualifying device, even though it is managed.
Now, let’s tackle the licensing question
There numerous combinations of options available to setup what is effectively a session based use of Office. I’ll cover the basics here based on the information you provided. There are only two things you need to license:
- The connection to the server
- The correct edition and version license for Office (which you already mentioned)
For the connection to the server, that’s relatively easy. You will generally need a Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS) license (this will be the case, even if you are using Citrix – if the approach you use utilizes one of the RD services on the server – such as rdbroker, rdwebaccess, rdvh – you need the RDS CAL). Citrix utilizes the RD services. RDS CALs can be licensed per user or per device, they are designated for a particular server version and they provide downgrade rights, so you can use an earlier version of the server. If you are using Citrix, you will also need the appropriate Citrix license.
<Edit – I’ve removed details on the operating system licensing as it was correctly pointed out to me that this is not required for this particular environment – all the links that were in this section are still useful and are still in the resources section below>
Licenses for Office
There are a tremendous number of options for licensing office – especially with the advent of Office 365 subscriptions.
The following references may be helpful to individuals who need additional information:
- Microsoft Blog post on VDA licenses
- Windows SA at a glance
- Jumpstart detailing VDI licensing issues
- Qualified Devices Volume Licensing Brief
- Microsoft Volume Licensing Reference guide
- Whitepaper on Licensing Microsoft VDI
- Microsoft Licensing for the Consumerization of IT Licensing Brief
- Microsoft VDI and VDA FAQ
- Microsoft also has at least one web page that is dedicated to the Consumerization of IT which may be worth exploring