This month Microsoft introduced a couple of add-ons to Windows Software Assurance.
The most notable is the introduction of a new Windows license called Companion Device License (CDL) for Windows 8, this license works alongside Software Assurance to support Bring Your Own PC scenarios.
What is perplexing is the fact that this type of license covers all the personal (non-licensed) devices that an employee could bring to work with the purpose of access to a Windows desktop that the company has fully licensed.
- Companion Device License: For customers who want to provide full flexibility for how employees access their corporate desktop across devices, we are introducing a new Companion Device License for Windows SA customers. For users of Windows Software Assurance licensed PCs this optional add-on will provide rights to access a corporate desktop either through VDI or Windows To Go on up to four personally owned devices.
As indicated in the Windows Licensing for VDI – Quick Reference Guide, a set of rights within SA, called Extended Roaming Righths (ERR), already covers the case where an employee use a personal device, outside the office, to access his VDI desktop, so CDL hits only when the same device enters the perimeter of the company.
What Microsoft doesn’t tell us is how a company, even of a medium size, is supposed to track this kind of access.
Another interesting point is this: if an employee buys a Microsoft-based consumer tablet, something that runs Windows RT (the Windows-on-a-chip release that will equip ARM-based tablets), automatically receive extended VDA rights, so the company doesn’t need to buy a CDL, which is something curious from an antitrust point of view.
- Windows RT Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) Rights: When used as a companion of a Windows Software Assurance licensed PC, Windows RT will automatically receive extended VDA rights. These rights will provide access to a full VDI image running in the datacenter which will make Windows RT a great complementary tablet option for business customers.
We also suggest to read Brian Madden’s article on this topic.
The last add-on is related to Windows To Go which is basically running Windows 8 on a USB drive.
- Windows To Go Use Rights: Windows To Go will allow companies to support Bring Your Own PC scenarios and will give employees who need to work from home more secure access to their full corporate environment. With Windows To Go use rights under Software Assurance, an employee will be able to use Windows To Go on any company PC licensed with Windows SA as well as from their home PC. Additionally, through a new companion device license for SA, employees will be able to use WTG on their personal devices at work.