RD CAL: License to Access Remote Desktop Deployment

Consider a situation when you are seated in your workplace and need to access a device that is located far away. What are you going to do then? Will you travel to that place, or will someone else bring it for you?

But that will cost a lot of money. In that case, Remote desktop connections (RDC) come into the picture. Let’s learn more about it.

With remote desktop connections, employees can connect to their office computers from anywhere in the world. This means they can be productive even when they are out of the office.

Remote access solutions also allow businesses to control who has access to their systems and data. It gives businesses more flexibility regarding staffing and can help them save on office space.

An RDC is a software application that allows a user to access and control another computer from a remote location. The user can view and control the other computer as if they were sitting in front of it and can access all of its files, applications, and data.

To use remote desktop hosting, both the user and the computer they are accessing must have the necessary software installed. The user will also need the IP address or hostname of the computer they wish to connect to. Once connected, the user will be able to view and control the remote desktop as if it were their own.

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Remote Desktop Services Components

Remote Desktop Service (RDS) requires a number of components in order to run, including a connection broker, a host, a gateway, a Web portal, and a CAL. Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH) is the main workload position that hosts Windows desktops and applications.

On a single instance of Windows Server, RDSH’s session-based sharing features enable numerous users to access desktops and apps concurrently. Incoming RDCs to RD Session Host server farms are managed by the Remote Desktop Connection Broker (RD Connection Broker).

It manages connections to both collections of complete desktops and collections of remote applications. When establishing new connections, it distributes the burden among the collection’s servers.

Using any internet-connected device that can run the RDC client, RD Gateway authorized remote users to connect to resources on a private or internal network.

Users can connect to Remote Desktop Web Access (RD Web Access) as a role service on the server to access the Remote app and Desktop Connection. Now, an RDS CAL is required; if a proper CAL is available, the client will be able to connect to RDSH.

how remote desktop services work

What is RD CAL? Everything You Need to Know

Whenever you want to connect to an RD Session Host Server, it determines if Microsoft’s RDS CAL is available in the system. If RDS CAL is not available, you will not be able to connect to an RD Session Host server, and then you cannot access remote desktop services.

Each CAL allows one user or device to connect to a Windows Server. So, if you have five users who need to connect to a Windows Server, you must purchase five CALs. A license server is not necessary during the licensing grace duration of 120 days that Microsoft gives you to license the server for use as an RDS installation.

You must redeploy your Windows Server in order to start a fresh 120-day grace period once it expires.

There are two types of CALs: User CALs and Device CALs.

  • User CALs: allow one user to connect to the server from any number of devices.
  • Device CALs: allow one device to connect to the server, regardless of how many users use that device.

difference between user and device cal

Reasons to Purchase CALs and Which One to Buy

The question is which license you should purchase, User CAL or Device CAL. It is recommended to purchase an RDS User CAL rather than per-device licensing so that the user, not the device you use to log in, is licensed.

After obtaining a per-device license, you will need two licenses in order to attempt to log in from two different devices (your home computer and your office computer).

So why should you purchase and install these CALs on your computers? There are several reasons:

  1. To comply with Microsoft licensing requirements. If you don’t have the correct number of CALs installed, you may be subject to fines or other penalties from Microsoft.
  2. To ensure all your users can connect to the server and access the resources they need. If you only have a limited number of CALs, then some of your users may not be able to connect when needed.
  3. To take advantage of discounts that may be available for volume licensing purchases.

Also Read: Firewall-As-A-Service: Your Reliable Protection For Computer Network

Things to Consider Before Buying CALs

When it comes to buying CALs for your RDC, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Here are some general guidelines to help you make the best purchase:

  1. Consider the type of device that will be accessing the RDC. If it’s a PC, you’ll need a CAL for each user. If it’s a client, you’ll only need one CAL per device.
  2. Decide if you want to buy permanent or subscription-based CALs. Permanent CALs are more expensive upfront but don’t require renewal fees, while subscription-based CALs are less expensive initially but require yearly renewals.
  3. Compare prices from different vendors before making your purchase. Make sure to consider any discounts or promotions that may be available. Be sure to read the terms and conditions of your purchase carefully before finalizing anything.

The Windows Server version that your users or devices are connected to requires that the RDS CAL for those users or devices is compatible. RDS CALs from later versions can be used to access older versions of Windows Server but not later versions of RDS CALs from earlier versions.

The following table is taken from Microsoft’s documentation shows which RDS CAL and RD Session Host versions are compatible with each other.

rds comparison

Get Uninterrupted Access to Your RDS with Ace Cloud Hosting CAL

One common budgeting issue with RD licenses is that the costs can be challenging to predict since they vary depending on the number of users and devices accessing the system.

Ace Public Cloud provides a CAL at a nominal cost and on a ‘pay as you go’ billing structure, so you only pay for what you use. Based on the hourly or monthly resource utilization, your monthly invoices are calculated at the end of each month.

Ace RDS CAL delivers platform-agnostic services with faster application deployment to host session-based desktops and pooled virtual machines. With the licensing policies, you can keep critical intellectual property secure and simplify regulatory compliance to work remotely with the flexibility of a single interface.

To know and understand more about our services, call us at +1-855-223-488 (United States) or +91-981-110-4802 (India). You can also contact us via email ([email protected]) or by visiting our website.

About Nolan Foster

With 20+ years of expertise in building cloud-native services and security solutions, Nolan Foster spearheads Public Cloud and Managed Security Services at Ace Cloud Hosting. He is well versed in the dynamic trends of cloud computing and cybersecurity.
Foster offers expert consultations for empowering cloud infrastructure with customized solutions and comprehensive managed security.

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