Virtualized Desktops

Hardware: AMD Ryzen 2400G. 16G ram, but can buy another 16G.

So I need to have about 2-3 users who need to access certain apps etc which are on my network. The simplest way is to have Windows server and buy the RDS cal for the users that need to connect in. This would be most expensive way around it. Each RDS cal costs the same as Windows 10 Pro retail.

Instead I thought why not just buy windows 10 pro retail and load them up as VM’s and let the users connect into their own VM’s and do whatever they need to.

I could use WD red with raid 1 on either XCP-NG OR hyper v 2019 and have the VM’s in there.

I currently have Windows Server on trial with pfSense running in a VM with various interfaces connected to it.

Any suggestions / input on this?

How many apps and such are needed if your talking 2-3 users that need a few apps what are cost of apps needed?

Apps are not the issue, we already pay for that with unlimited users. The question would be to go down either the remote desktop route or VM and if VM, hyper v / xcp-ng

It sounds like you are describing VDI. Theres a project we have been looking at that is called UDS that is free for 10 users and runs on XCP-NG. Keep in mind that you will still need CALs and I think VDA licenses to keep legal, unless you have SA on your windows desktops.

If you are using remote desktop with 1 user per windows 10 RDP session, why would you need a CAL ? I thought CAL is only requried IF you have VDA …

I thought thats the reason why Win10 Pro already has 1 RDP session active.

Shouldn’t require a CAL at all, if he’s not logging into a server OS. If he was hosting the apps on Windows server, then yes, would need CALs.

Running the VM on XCP-NG would be fine, and no extra licenses costs there. I’m running about 800 VMs on XenServer, and only license cost is for the Windows 10 license for each VM.

Only extra cost above Windows 10 licenses would be if you were to use Citrix XenDesktop, VMware, or insert other remote connection protocol over RDP. Those will have a cost associated to them.

Apps seem to be taken care of for licensing with unlimited users, so I think you’re on the right track.


Can you confirm this, some links show there are costs for VDI and VDA

I have been doing XenApp/Xendesktop for a while if you don’t need the additional cost I wouldn’t use. But if your looking to scale it is good. Again depending the way the application works I have seen some applications that allow you to mount a share and run the executable from a remote machine. And as stated if not using server and Win10 Pro you should be able to get away with 1:1 rdp.

So if you connect to Windows server you need a licence but what if you connect Windows 10 to another Windows 10 running SQL for example?

You should be fine with that* Do you have development going on to do something like that? I am just asking because if you are in a development environment you should be good to go as well depending on use case.

Sorry trying to help but if proprietary license app how many licenses do you have?

What environment are you in?

Standard office environment, no development. The application will be basically running with SQL express which would be more than enough for it.i don’t really need a Windows server or anything

Depends on the way the application is being written you guys likely don’t need windows server but a machine with good uptime I suppose. Or you set the application if possible to use the sql express instance and you should be good to go if the application allows. Just trying to help but understand we can’t get details on app so hard to assist with solution.

Allow me to rephrase, the application the users will need to use is a simple desktop application which works perfectly well with SQL express.

So the plan will be user will have their own Windows VM. They will access the exe hosted on a FreeNAS machine via SMB, and access a SQL express instance on some other desktop

Roll with it then sounds like you have a good plan. Unless the need for vm (if OS is different) why not just mount the smb share on the machines locally since it is backed on the FreeNas, I wouldn’t add another layer if not needed. Sounds like you have a good plan, any other ideas to bounce would love to help.

I actually despise the VDI accronym because it so vague in how it can be used. Typically you can provide a virtual desktop through two methods…

  1. Hosted desktop from a Windows Server - This is where you would need CALs, because all the clients connect to the Windows server, and get a desktop like experience. Through GPOs and theming, you can make it look like a normal Windows desktop. It has its pros and cons, like it can scale with limited resources, but at the same time, can suffer from a couple users potentially consuming a lot of compute if things go sideways.

2)Standalone Windows 10 desktop as a VM - Just pay for the windows licenses as you would for any Windows Desktop. Depending on the hypervisor you may have licensing costs for the hypervisor itself. This model isn’t necessarily as scalable and requires more hardware to scale out, but the advantage is, the users work in silos, so one or two users generally don’t cripple the performance if something goes sideways with their session.

Both of these methods require some way to connect the client to the VM. RDP works as kind of a 1:1 connection, and is built in, and would work for your scenario. Otherwise you’d have to consider something like Citrix, or VMware, or other, and these do have a licensing cost. These provide optimizations over RDP, as well as give additional functionality, but if you just want to run an app on a remote machine, they probably won’t be required.

The users are connecting in remotely. They also have their own dedicated machines on site, I just want to recycle those machines; move them to VM since they come in once in a while; They then use RDP to the VM when both offsite and onsite to access their data . Time to save some power !

@Manipulate yeah will use simple RDP… who needs more than that :smiley: well atleast not these guys.

But are you sure on the licensing ? shows something contradictory

I am considering HyperV (its free too ) over XCP at the moment primarily since it seemed easier to play with , but everything was on hold till i figured out the vm licensing.

Ok with remote machines and dedicated machines on site I understand the vm route. Likely the easiest for just a pair of users. If I had a team of people in this scenario I would do a roaming profile for them that does an auto mount of drive and let them run the program from the mounted drive on whatever machine they like since program is held remotely. You have plenty of choices and the vm route for the two users sounds the best.

right, thats the idea behind the VM.

but what about the licensing , as i mentioned in that link , it says I need windows with SA OR I need the vdi licensing. Maybe I’m understanding this wrong.

WInPro allows RD usage and they are using 1:1 you should be fine. Think of it as they are trying to get to another machine they have access to.

We have this kind of problem… We have users that works in the production environment(location is so bad for computers because of high humidity and sometimes the temp is so warm that the computer end up getting so much rust or just stop working)… So the basic solution we come up is using Ncomputing L300… It’s like 1license of win7 and just create like 10 users. But we don’t have an option to switch account if the Ncomputing device was setup to a specific user… Anyone tried Ncomputing and use a windows server?