Remote Desktop 2022 CALs - everything you need to know
Any use of Windows Terminal Servers or Remote Desktop Session Hosts requires a Client Access License (CAL), as does the use of third-party products to access a desired server. In addition to the mandatory access licenses, Windows Remote Desktop Services (RDS) requires corresponding RDS CALs. In August 2021, Windows Server 2022 was released, the latest version of Microsoft's server operating system, which is especially popular among enterprises: cloud-based, with innovative hybrid technologies and maximum security.
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When do you need Remote Desktop CALs?
To work with Windows Server services, licenses are needed to access the specific server system in question. In Microsoft's terminology, they are abbreviated CAL and subdivided again: They are issued either to a user, who can use an unlimited number of devices with his User CAL, or to a single device, which in turn can be accessed by an unlimited number of users. Finally, the so-called External Connector License allows external users to access Windows Remote Desktop Services.
However, both Windows Server CALs only serve as a basis. If extended access to a Windows Server Desktop or an application there is desired, Windows Remote Desktop 2022 CALs must be purchased in addition to the basic CALs: the so-called RDS CALs. The use of a CAL Client Access License and thus the connection to the Windows Remote Desktop Server or a Virtual Desktop of the software company has many advantages:
- Access to documents and records on the office server is possible from any location via one's own notebook - ideal for home offices or business trips
- Access via a third-party solution: Not only Microsoft Remote Desktop Services, but also Microsoft Office or other third-party technologies can be loaded onto an RDS session host and made available to all participants
Normally, the Windows server in question must be configured as an RDS license server and the RDS CALs must be recorded there. In Windows Remote Desktop scenarios, however, the user or access-authorized device must be licensed instead, so a User CAL or Device CAL is required.
Virtual content can also be installed on a Windows Server. Prerequisite is a licensing of the eligible Windows devices with Windows 10 OEM, Enterprise as well as an active Software Assurance. In return, the CAL Client Access Licenses for Windows Remote Desktop Services 2022, each user has personal virtual Windows 10 instances. Only in the case of simultaneous access by multiple users, separate User CALs are required.
What is the difference between Windows CALs and Remote Desktop CALs?
The difference between a simple Windows CAL and a Remote Desktop 2022 CAL is the desired access:
- Direct access to the Windows server by a person or device requires Windows CALs only
- For applications on a Windows Remote Desktop RDS CALs are required
- An exception is access rights for a maximum of two IT experts who use the Windows operating system exclusively for server administration purposes
Windows Remote Desktop Device and User CAL can be used on the same server. The required license keys for the Remote Desktop 2022 CALs must be stored in the operating system and are not exchangeable, the license keys should be kept carefully. There are now different versions of Windows Remote Desktop Services, the latest CAL Client Access Licenses have been available as Remote Desktop 2022 CALS since August 2021.
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Licensing Remote Desktop Services with Client Access Licenses (User CALs)
The Windows CAL Client Access License is required by any user who wants to connect to a Remote Desktop session host. The Windows Remote Desktop session host server requests the required Remote Desktop 2022 CAL: When available on the license server, it is automatically issued to the user, who can establish the desired connections to the server and thus Windows Remote Desktops or Apps.
The user has 120 days to try out the new Windows Remote Desktop Services without entering the Remote Desktop 2022 CALs. After this trial period, clients will not be able to register with their Windows Remote Desktop host server until they receive a valid RDS CAL Client Access License.
The licensing process is not always the same, but depends on whether a User CAL or Device CAL is desired.
- Remote Desktop 2022 CALs for devices are assigned to the appropriate device. The user may revoke up to one fifth of the RDS CALS, an overload is excluded here
- With a User CAL, RDS CALs cannot be revoked even in Active Directory, nor are temporary Windows Remote Desktop CALs available. Despite contradiction to the Remote Desktop License Agreement, the RDS CALs can be overloaded here.
At the latest with the second connection, the license server generates an unlimited RDS CAL per device when the server is activated. In doing so, each user must ensure the availability of the license from the RDS CAL pool and take care not to use a license from the "Overused" RDS CAL pool under any circumstances. To ensure these conditions, administrators of a site can track the number of Windows Remote Desktop Service CALs at any time and install additional per-user RDS CALs if necessary.
Finally, the license server must be compatible with the RDS CALs. This is the case when reverting to the current and all older versions of Microsoft Remote Desktop Service, but not vice versa. Those who have already opted for the Windows Server version Remote Desktop 2022 CALs can still dial into the RDS 2019 or 2016, but those who are still working with the 2019 version should consider switching to the new cloud-enabled operating system from Microsoft and thus, thanks to Remote Desktop 2022 CALs, allow their employees to access the office server even from home or their own activity on multiple devices.