Microsoft Licensing in VDI and remote desktop server environments

In the below environments how should office 365, Microsoft 365, Project, Visio, and windows be licensed?

  • Virtual desktop Infrastructure
  • Terminal Server/ remote desktop server

This is quite a complicated question.

  1. Windows Client in VDI:
    a) Does not require Windows Client (Windows 10) licences
    b) Requires end-users or end-points to be licensed for VDA
    b.1) either via VDA licences
    b.2) or SA
    b.3) watch out for CSP specifics (someone please correct me here)
  2. Microsoft 365 is not a licence. it’s a bundle.
  3. Office 365 is licensed per user. Unless you have it (very rarely) licensed per device, you just need regular per-user licences assigned to all users.
  4. Project and Visio - do you mean respective Online licences or traditional Project and Visio licences?

Alexander Golev


Office/O365 for any large corporation is generally pushed as a user license where each user can install 5 copies, making VDI distribution much easier. For Visio and Project, a recommendation would be to deploy only to the users who need it, not to the entire corporation to save money. In our Win10 image, the two titles are baked into the image, but a user can’t launch the software unless they’re in an AD group that gives them privileges. The AD group is tied to a catalog item workflow in ServiceNow to maintain compliance with the number of licenses owned.

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CSP specifics for Win10 E3:

In short:

  • No remote virtualization rights


  • The remote Virtualization rights are part of the Software Assurance Benefits for the Win OS
  • The PT state that the Software Assurance rights do not apply to Subscription Licenses acquired under a Customer Agreement (old: Cloud Agreement)
  • The Customer Agreement is now mandatory for all CSP Customers (Customer can not order further licenses without proof of having agreed to the CA)
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The question is quite vast - therefore I would suugest to first further drill down on the planed deployment and usage before licensing advice can be given. Once we have further information I woul split the licensing question into an OS and an App part.


  • Where do you intend to install the VDI/TS:
    at you own premisses, with a Service Provider, with an Outsourcer, at a Data Center Provider (eg Azure/AWS)?
  • who will get access to the VDI/TS:
    only internal employees or third parties?
  • What MS Agreement is intended to be used (eg EA/ MPSA/ CSP)?

VDI - vitualization with Client OS

  • Licensing the OS
  • Licensing the applications

TS - virtualization with Server OS

  • Licensing the OS
  • Licensing the applications

What needs to be considered:
WS2019 does support the M365 Apps for Enterprise, but only reluctantly.
The support was added later on (I estimate that there were quite many excalation calls involved).
In addition not all collaboration features work consistently in a TS deployment.

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