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Win 7 virtual licensing question (multiple customers on 1 machine)

Last response: in Business Computing
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February 29, 2012 2:46:33 PM

Hello all,

I work for a fledgling cloud computing company and have been charged with the task of finding the answer to a slightly annoying Microsoft licensing question.

Has anyone heard of a way to have multiple customers/business hosted from 1 server for win 7 licensing? My boss has told me that he has heard of MS granting exceptions/waivers to allow this. (Desktone being one)

For instance, www.onlive.com is offering a virtual desktop server for win 7 to the general public. No one can figure out how they are doing this. The consensus in the industry is that they are violating the SPLA but MS might be choosing to not enforce this restrictions.

Does anyone have any insight into this, or know where I might begin to acquire one of these mythical waivers for our company?

Thank you for taking the time to read this and any help you may offer on the issue.
February 29, 2012 2:55:07 PM

You really need to contact Microsoft for the answers to your questions. While you may get lots of opinions here on Tom's, only MS can give you the straight poop.

Good luck!
February 29, 2012 3:05:51 PM

yeah i know :( 

I was hoping someone in here has obtained one of these waivers and could give me the silver bullet needed to drag one out of MS

Related resources
February 29, 2012 3:16:29 PM

There are no "waivers" only licenses. MS does offer site licenses and other arrangements to provide flexible numbers of seats to businesses.
February 29, 2012 3:20:28 PM

It sounds to me you're talking about Windows volume licensing. I believe you'd have to have a licensing server setup to distribute the activation keys. I'm not familiar with any exceptions but like it was suggested before you'd need to talk to MS for that. Even then I doubt you'll get the answer you're looking for since I'm willing to bet before they make any deal like that you'd have to be a pretty big customer of theirs. As they say money talks and BS walks....
February 29, 2012 3:22:42 PM

Perhaps its because its my bedtime, but I don't understand the problem. If I buy a copy of windows 7 and install it on a computer, its tied to me and that machine. If I want to give this machine massive hdd space and charge people $$$ for online storage, there is nothing in the EULA that should stop this. I must be missing something.
February 29, 2012 3:26:26 PM

Just got off the phone with MS and they had no idea.

I don't think I'm relaying my issue correctly.


win 7 requires dedicated hardware for each customer. 30 VDI's all from company A can be one machine X but I can't have 30 VDI's from company A and 30 VDI's from company B on machine X, i would need 2 machines...we have heard that MS will grant exceptions to allow us to host company A and B on machine X (and hopefully company c-z)

were planning on being a pretty big customer of theirs, just need to get this large hurdle out of the way.
February 29, 2012 3:36:03 PM

Did you talk to a MS "business" person who understands volume licensing or a regular consumer person?

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/desktop/vir...

Just keep in mind, you will have to buy this service. There are no freebies (waivers) here. There is a trial version on this site as well.
February 29, 2012 3:38:53 PM

I still maybe confused on your question but let me try again. The company I work for uses VMWare to create virtual environments and I believe MS equivalent to that would be Hyper-V. This would be 1 server hosting several different configured virtual servers running various operating system. Am I right or way off the mark?
February 29, 2012 3:49:10 PM

neieus said:
I still maybe confused on your question but let me try again. The company I work for uses VMWare to create virtual environments and I believe MS equivalent to that would be Hyper-V. This would be 1 server hosting several different configured virtual servers running various operating system. Am I right or way off the mark?


no, you are correct, however....


You are hosting many virtual desktops for 1 company on (presumably) 1 piece of hardware, which is totally 100% fine in the win 7 licensing agreement


we want to host many virtual desktops for MULTIPLE companies on 1 piece of hardware

not sure if my REALLLY REALLLLLLLLLLY crappy ms paint diagram will clarify anything but here it is ;) 



http://i.imgur.com/7gjjj.png
February 29, 2012 4:41:02 PM

Hope you have a VERY capable server (s) and some really fat (fast) data pipes. Why do you guys not want to use the more typical config (domain servers and clients/desktops, etc)?
February 29, 2012 4:44:35 PM

I'm just the attorney for the company, you're asking questions way outta my league.

that diagram was just a real basic way of showing what we want to do as far as licensing is concerned.
February 29, 2012 4:50:05 PM

california9 said:
I'm just the attorney for the company, you're asking questions way outta my league.

that diagram was just a real basic way of showing what we want to do as far as licensing is concerned.

Understood. We even help lawyers on Tom's!

Might be a good question for your IT folks. It would be good to understand the actual requirements before launching into this endeavor.

Good luck!
February 29, 2012 4:59:01 PM

Here's an article basically saying its not possible. Read the "No Multi-Tenancy for VDI in the Cloud" heading. that is directly on point



Thanks for taking the time to bang your heads against the wall with me.
February 29, 2012 8:34:43 PM

Hi :) 

This is an easy one with two answers....

1, Speak to a volume licensing rep at MS....

2, Its going to cost your company a LOT of money...

All the best Brett :) 
March 1, 2012 12:19:21 AM

As far as i am aware as long as you have a Windows License for every VM then it does not matter who uses them or what hardware they are hosted on.

Quote from MS
As far as Virtual Machines go, it is regarded as a separate computer and you can only install and activate one (1) copy of Windows 7 and one (1) computer using one (1) Windows 7 license.

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-windows_install/windows-7-vm-on-virtual-box-separate-license/9847f058-a6b5-416a-86f7-a273f17bd1e7
!