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User or Device RDS CAL, which to choose for my windows server?

Server 2019 50 User CAL RDS
Server 2019 50 Device CAL RDS

In this article, we will consider what is the difference between the Windows Server User Cal and Device CAL licenses, i.e. the license for the device and for the user.

What are the User CAL/Device CAL client licenses (per user/per device) in general?

A client license (or CAL – Client Access License) is a client license for the ability to connect to Windows Server (RDP – terminal licenses), SQL Server, or Exchange Server. By itself, the server license performs only server tasks, and does not allow users to connect to the functionality of this software, in order to have such an opportunity, you need a separate User CAL or Device CAL licensing.

For example, to use RDP (remote desktops) on Windows Server for more than 2 user connections, you need to purchase User CAL / Device CAL client licenses.

User CAL License (Per User)

Allows one user to access the server software from any device. I.e. it does not matter from which device (computer) a certain user will log in.

By purchasing this license, for example, for 50 users, you can distribute this license to all your employees and it does not matter from which devices some will connect to the server.

Device CAL License (Per device)

Allows any number of users to connect from a single device (computer). In simple words, it is a client license for the computers themselves.

By purchasing such a license, for example for 50 devices, you purchase a license for each device separately in your organization. And no matter how many users you have, the main thing is that the connected devices (computers) themselves do not exceed the maximum number available in your client license. (otherwise there will be errors when exceeding the limit)

Which licensing method do you need?

If we are talking about terminal licenses (RDP – Remote desktops) – everything is simple here, if your server is connected to a domain, then you need “To the user (User CAL)”, if you do not use the domain in your server, then you need “To the device (Device CAL)”. Because if you license RDP without a connected domain – “to the user”, then you will have the following errors, they are solved by changing the settings in Windows Server to the “To the device” mode, and your client license will work accordingly not “to the user”, but “to device”.

You can purchase User Cal and Device CAL activation keys at the lowest prices in our catalog, delivery of keys to your email within a few hours.

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What’s the difference between User and Device RDS CAL?

If you haven’t heard of Remote Desktop Services (RDS) CALs, you’re not alone. But if you’re planning to deploy the popular desktop virtualization platform for your business, you need to understand what these license types are and how they affect your deployment. In this article, we will discuss the difference between user and device Remote Desktop Services (RDS) Client Access Licenses (CALs).

1. What is a Remote Desktop Services Client Access License?

What is the difference between User and Device RDS CALThe Remote Desktop Services Client Access License (RDS CAL) is required for every user or device that connects to a Remote Desktop Services server, regardless of the mode that is used for the connection. A user will be a user of RDS if they log in to a RDS-licensed server and if all of the following conditions are met:

  • The user keys or passwords are stored securely in an encrypted and signed file or on CD-ROM.
  • The server is located in the same domain as the user’s domain.
  • There is no forwarding on the connection.
  • The user means any individual or entity working remotely from their own computer or device and includes a traveling guest (different from an isolated workstation) or employee of an organization.
    Under this definition, there are servers that are RDS-licensed, users that are RDS-licensed, and devices that are RDS-licensed.
    Both server and user have to be RDS-licensed. Similarly, both server and user have to meet the other conditions for licensing:

    • The server must start and stop as a RDS service.
    • The user must enter a unique User Identification Number (UID).
    • The user ID must be different from any other UUID.
    • It does not matter if the user’s current or previous identity is the same.

    The user’s traffic is restricted to the computer that is registered with the relevant RDS server. This prevents other servers from accessing the user’s session. RDS servers also have various licensing options for the views (or applications) that run on their servers and which users can access. In an RDS-based world, many users can access just one provider; however, as we shall see, some users require that their server is located at a different domain, and the front end server “lives” on a different server than the view or application installation.
    In this article, we will take a look at the main differences between the RDS Client Access and Media Calendars option.

    2. How does a user CAL differ from a device CAL?

    RDS CAL User and Device differenceA user CAL is used to activate a copy of the software on a device. While a device CAL is used to activate copies of the software on one or more devices. This is not to be confused with a device license, which is a license that is used to activate the software on the device.By learning about the differences in a bit more depth, both RDS platforms can be made even more flexible and future-proof.
    What are RDS client access licenses (CALs)?
    A client access license to a desktop virtualization platform gives your users the ability to access licensed software on their computers via proxy servers. RDS creates software components that connect to a host computer and access it via a proxy server. The service provider overseeing the actual server hosting the software renders the desktop interface on the associated computer, and the user accesses the software application for that desktop environment on any device they choose, thus connecting to the service provider’s servers rather than to your own. As a result of this peer-to-peer process, users do not actually need desktop monitors or other hardware with them.

    Small businesses, non-profit organizations, and education/training institutions typically license desktop virtualization software only. Small business is typically defined as under 500 employees. Non-profit organizations and education/training establishments typically license desktop virtualization software to educate users on how to use the software, make modifications, and offer high quality educational/training environments for users to learn the capabilities of the software and its features. The reason why educational organizations license desktop virtualization software is that it typically provides a cost-effective solution for small businesses to educate users about virtualization technology while accessing licensed software at no cost. Classroom environments are typically unavailable to small businesses, and educational/training environments are the only places in which users may be able to access the software. Because the sales cycle for educational/training environments is long, it typically makes sense to license desktop virtualization software to small businesses rather than software that is beneficial to the larger education or training establishment.

    3. What are the advantages of a user CAL?

    User CALs can provide a number of benefits for your business. One of the biggest advantages of a CAL is the ability to use it for as long as you need it from anywhere that you have access to the internet. This is a great benefit for users that have multiple business locations or that travel frequently.

    What about users who need to access the software remotely? RDS takes your typical desktop application and puts it in the cloud — every click is mediated by the cloud rather than a human employee. In addition, if you connect via wifi, the cloud-based applications aren’t limited to just the previous 10 minutes of data. Additionally, most remote access platforms leverage WebRSS to stream video and photos to users. All of this means that while a user may need to connect to the desktop application to complete a task, they may never reconnect to the screen and get the full experience. Lastly, RDS provides a desktop application separate from your website that is not readily available to the end user. The benefit of a desktop solution vs. a cloud solution is that a desktop solution can coordinate with a dozen different remote offices.

    By excluding the users from viewing your website or viewing their work, users get to focus on their work, while the remote workers can be at their desks, watching a video conference or working on a project online. Unfortunately, Microsoft gives little explanation on the services provided by RDS to users or how long each user account can be utilized before you will be billed for a new RDS account. RDS CALs and cheap desktopsThe primary benefit of RDS that is often overlooked is how it manages its users. Very often, companies put an RDS license on cheap desktops in hopes of deploying it to their clients. Unfortunately, this approach causes a lot of frustration for RDS users. Users attempt to login and attempt to use the software on the cheap widescreen computer that they are using to access the RDS.

    4. Are there any disadvantages to using a user CAL?

    There are a few disadvantages to using a user CAL to access a terminal server. If a user CAL is lost or stolen, then the user loses access to the server. In addition, if a user leaves the company, then the user CAL will also have to be removed from the server.What is Remote Desktop Services (RDS)?

    Remote Desktop Services (RDS) is a popular desktop virtualization platform created by Microsoft. It provides universal remote access options for users, who can install it on their existing Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs or minics. This platform provides RDS on any type of desktop operating system. RDS began as a research tool project by Microsoft, headed up by Scott Prager, and today is a mature product that competes with the likes of VMWare, XenApp, and EFFICIENCY. With both price options ranging from $49 per month to over $300 per month, RDS is a product that is more expensive than more established alternatives, but it is also more flexible in terms of control. RDS was developed with small and medium size businesses in mind.
    How Do RDS Users Access the Server?
    When a user accesses a RDS Client Access Computer, then the server interacts with the user on another supported remote desktop access method. If desired, the supported methods of accessing the server could include:
    SMB connections via SMB3 protocols
    RDP connections via RDP session transport protocols
    Using 2FA (Microsoft Authenticator)
    Using a User Principal Name (UPN)
    Using Local User Accounts

    While there is some flexibility within these methods, the more common method of remote access is via SMB. If all your users have Windows 7 Home Premium, Microsoft has created a SMB control panel through Windows Update. The control panel allows you to control the installation of SMB on your PC. With this control panel, you can install SMB on your PC and configure the client to connect locally to your home or office.

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    How to install RDS CAL on Windows Server 2019

    How to install RDS CAL on Windows Server 2019This article will walk you through the process of installing an RDS CAL server based on Windows Server 2019. You can use this server in your own lab or for training purposes. This is a minimal server configuration. To install this server, you will need to have access to a Microsoft account with administrator privileges, and have access to the internet.

    1. Install the Windows Server 2019 operating system

    Windows Server 2019 is the latest operating system from Microsoft. If you want to install Windows Server 2019 there are two ways of doing it. The first way is to buy a Windows Server 2019 standard license and install it on your own hardware, and the second is to use the Windows Server 2019 Cloud Instance.Creating A Virtual Machine To start the installation of the RDS CAL server, we will need to create a public or private virtual machine using the Windows 10 Hyper-V virtualization software. There are two ways of doing this depending on your current virtualization software provider and virtual environment. The most intuitive option is through Hyper-V configuration files, which can be used directly through Hyper-V. Alternatively, if you are using a virtual environment like AWS virtual servers, you will need to take a slightly different route to get started. If you are not familiar with virtual environments, I suggest checking out this guide. Installing the RDS CAL Server Next, we will install the RDS CAL server all the way from scratch using Hyper-V. The instructions to do this will include creating an RDS container file (called RDS_CAL_01.Rds) which we will upload to the RDS server. The steps to create an RDS container will vary depending on the host computer you are using. In most cases, you will need administrator access to connect to the server and edit the file. Once the explorer is open, make sure the file is checked. Finally, connect to the RDS box you are using and select edit. Inside you will see the file listed under previous versions as “RDS server virtual machine configuration file”. Of course, it is called “RDS server virtual machine configuration” because we are creating a virtual server. In this case the file will already exist. Resetting an RDS Template (optional) One of the features of Hyper-V virtualization is the ability to restore a previous template. When you complete this step a warning will be shown. The option to restore will need to be selected.

    2. Configure the server name, network settings, and time zone

    Before installing WordPress on your server, you’ll need to configure some basic settings. The first step is to log in to your cPanel account and navigate to the “Software” tab, where you’ll be able to select the “Software Installer” option.Click here to open the “Software” tab on the CPanel dashboard.
    Next, navigate to the “Configure WordPress” section.
    Under “Configure WordPress Configuration,” enter this content:
    Server URL
    Password: 1234 (#$%*@#$%)
    Login: admin
    Remember your username? Leave it at that. Leave the password blank and press “Add User.”
    Fill out the rest of the fields according to your cPanel requirements. Use at least these authentication steps to avoid other security issues.
    Hit “Save Changes.”
    When you hit “Start WordPress,” have your administrator account’s login information ready, and be sure your hosting provider is set to the site you’re installing your new webserver on. It’s important that your hostname and domain match the domain information provided by your hosting platform.
    Next, you will be taken to a screen with a bunch of information regarding WordPress. Select “Advanced Settings.”
    Under “Advanced Settings,” you’ll find the “Address Account” section. Here we will edit our WordPress installation. Leave the default values at the default.
    Hit Enter to accept the default settings and get back to the main screen.
    At the “Start WordPress” screen, enter your administrator username and password and click “Restart.”
    WordPress should now be installed. You can close the “Configure WordPress” screen if you’re finished. Otherwise, continue on to the next section.
    Step 2: Setting up WordPress for testing
    Now that we’ve got our site up and running and our server is securely integrated with WordPress, we can start setting up the content. We will be using WordPress to host our document library and the rest of the site, but you can host this content on your own server (on an RDS enabled PC).

    3. Add the Remote Desktop Services role

    If you use Remote Desktop Services, you’ll need to install the RDS role and the RD Gateway role service. You can do this through Server Manager or through PowerShell. To install the role and the role service using PowerShell, run the following command:PS C:\> Get-Module -Name MySQLServer | Select *
    Next, open up a new folder on your hard disk and navigate to the C drive:
    Create a folder called WindowsSource. This can be anywhere you like (even on another drive), just make sure that WindowsSource is on the same folder as your server. Next, open up a command prompt and navigate to the folder that you created in step 1. If it looks like C:\WindowsSource\RDSFactoryServers, simply navigate there. If it looks like C:\WindowsSource\RDSFactoryServers\MSSql, create another folder and navigate to it. This deploys the RDS cal server onto your OS share.
    Now, here is everything you have to install from the Windows Server 2019 source code.
    Three Important Files
    First, the option to enable log file parsing through Microsoft Regex to extract search strings. Enable this by downloading all of the Regex files present on the folder, extracting the Regex data, and placing it in the optsec.txt file found in step 1 of this guide. While this is pretty simplistic, there is extensive implementation of complex regex, so you’ll want to make sure you understand the impact of placing this text on your server by using Regex directly in your server config files.
    Next, the option to enable SQL Server logging through the Log Parser Service. Enable this by downloading all of the SQL Server Log Files, extracting the SQL data, and placing it in the optsec.txt file found in step 1 of this guide. To make this easier to follow, I have included a couple of screen shots of the SQL server configuration, the service configuration, and the optsec.txt file.

    4. Configure permissions for Remote Desktop Services

    From the server manager, click on “Remote desktop services” on the left pane. Click on “Remote session collection”. Click on “Permissions”. Click on “Add” to add a user or group.Click the plus sign next to “custom user”, and then type in “20211236” minus the “&pws=0” (pws=). Note the explanation of the “pws=” parameter. Type in “&pws=0” another time, and then click “Add” again.
    When you browse the list of available servers, you will see options that you follow from the drop down.
    Step 3: Configure the server
    To configure your server, click on “RDS login” in the left pane, and then type in “domain.tld” minus the “www” (domain.tld) and “dc=” (pws=). Note that you must make sure that both the /etc/hosts file and host file are readable and writable for your domain.
    Next, click on “Advanced Settings” on the left pane, and then “Enable
    Next, click on “Choose your domain” (the top of the page) to choose where the RDS server will be. You will be asked to enter some information about your site. Specify a name for your server, such as “C-vtld-rdsc.domain.tld” (without the “”).
    Finally, you must specify a password for your RDS server. This is not absolutely necessary, but is helpful. Enter the password twice. You will now be prompted for the password. Click “Confirm”, and then click “Save Profile.”
    Once completed, reboot the server.
    Before you continue, be sure that your DNS
    is set to query all subdomains, rather than just the homepage. If you have a
    subdomains table in your DNS, then update it so that it returns queries rather than domain name.
    Step 4: Configure DNS
    A few important notes before we move on. If your DNS configuration is incorrect, this will probably prevent your RDS server from functioning. DNS errors can be caused by variables being touched unexpectedly, such as the IP or DNS server.

    5. Create a deployment scope for a collection of users or computers to allow them access to the RDS CAL server

    Step 1: Connect to the Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH) server by using the Session Connection tool in Server Manager.
    Step 2: Click Manage > Add Roles and Features to start the Add Roles and Features Wizard.
    Step 3: Click Next to go to the Select Installation Type page.If you need to install this software on a Server Core or Enterprise edition of Windows Server, you should select “Server.” Otherwise click “Other” and select “Hybrid.” You should be returned to the Select Operating System page.
    Step 4: In the Select Operating System options, click on the Windows logo laptop to highlight it and then click on it again to open the Other Versions drop down menu.
    Step 5: In the Other Versions drop down, choose the Windows Server Hybrid version from the list and click Next.
    Step 6: In the summary for the view, select the Defaults check box so that Windows Server will select default settings.
    Step 7: Click Start.
    Step 8: In the Windows 10 core experience, you should see the Peers connection and the RDS server under the Networking Options.
    Step 9: On the Peers Connection page, navigate to Advanced Settings > RDS Connection.
    Step 10: The RDS Connection Properties page should be titled Host Name and Location.
    Step 11: In the Host Name option, enter the domain name you would like to connect to.
    Step 12: In the Location, start typing a folder address to find it. In the example below, I would type my C:\Test folder.
    Step 13: Click OK.
    Step 14: Enjoy the RDS Connection service running!
    I used vSphere CMD shell in the above tutorial, to download and install all required items on the virtual machine. This gave me the ability to install the software on a Windows 10, Server 2008 R2, or Windows 8.1 machine. You can use the following link to download the installation zip file.