Microsoft license requirements in Parallels RAS

This section is to be used as guidance to provide clarity on Microsoft license requirements in a Parallels RAS environment while not used as an exclusive list. It is recommended to refer to your Microsoft licensing partner for further information.

Microsoft license requirements include:


  • Any Windows Server and Desktop Operating System (OS) to be used.

  • Windows Server OS to be accessed must be covered by Microsoft Windows Server Client Access Licenses (CALs).

RD Session Hosts

If Windows Server is accessed remotely (for non-administrative work) then you need Remote Desktop Service (RDS) access license:

  • RDS CALs are required for users or devices that want to utilize Remote Desktop Service functionality on Windows Server. The following types of RDS CAL are available:

    1. RDS Device CAL: Permits one device (used by any user) to use Remote Desktop Services functionality on any of your servers.

    2. RDS User CAL: Permits one user (using any device) to use Remote Desktop Services functionality on any of your servers.

    3. RDS External Connector: Permits multiple external users to access a single Remote Desktop server. If you have multiple servers, you need multiple external connectors in addition to any required Windows Server External Connectors.

    You may choose to combine RDS Device CALs and RDS User CALs simultaneously with the server software. Regular User or Device CALs are required in addition to the RDS User or RDS Device CALs.

  • RDS SAL is a service that provides a Microsoft Remote Desktop Service Subscriber Access License (called an "RDS SAL") on Virtual Machines created in Compute Resource. This makes it possible for three or more users to connect to a remote desktop (RD Session Host) for a specific Virtual Machine in Compute Resource (for SPLA partners).

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Hypervisor and VDI

  1. In case using Microsoft Hyper-V as a hypervisor, Microsoft Windows Server Operating System (OS) Licenses are required

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  2. In case using Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), Windows Software Assurance or Azure Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) licenses are required. Microsoft licenses Windows by access device:

    • Virtual desktop access rights are a benefit of Windows Client Software Assurance (SA). Customers who intend to use PCs covered under SA have access to their VDI desktops at no additional charge.

    • Customers who want to use devices that do not qualify for Windows Client SA, such as thin clients, will need to license those devices with Azure Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) in order to access a Windows VDI desktop. Windows VDA is also applicable to third-party devices, such as contractor or employee-owned PCs.

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Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Online business services, such as Microsoft 365 or Microsoft Azure, require Microsoft Entra ID for sign-in and to help with identity protection. If you subscribe to any Microsoft Online business service, you automatically get Microsoft Entra ID with access to all the free features. To enhance your Microsoft Entra ID implementation, you can also add paid capabilities by upgrading to Microsoft Entra ID Premium P1 or Premium P2 licenses.

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Azure Virtual Desktop

  • Access to Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session, Windows 11 Enterprise multi-session, Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 11 Enterprise desktops and apps is provided at no additional cost (excluding compute, storage and networking costs) if you have one of the following per user licenses:

    1. Microsoft 365 E3/E5

    2. Microsoft 365 A3/A5/Student Use Benefits

    3. Microsoft 365 F3

    4. Microsoft 365 Business Premium

    5. Windows 10 Enterprise E3/E5

    6. Windows 10 Education A3/A5

    7. Windows 10 VDA per user

  • Access to desktops powered by Windows Server Remote Desktop Services running Windows Server 2012 R2 and newer is provided at no additional cost (excluding compute, storage and networking costs) if you have a per-user or per-device RDS CAL license with active Software Assurance (SA).

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You are eligible to access FSLogix Profile Container, Office 365 Container, Application Masking, and Java Redirection tools if you have one of the following licenses:

  • Microsoft 365 E3/E5

  • Microsoft 365 A3/A5/ Student Use Benefits

  • Microsoft 365 F1/F3

  • Microsoft 365 Business

  • Windows 10 Enterprise E3/E5

  • Windows 10 Education A3/A5

  • Windows 10 VDA per user

  • Remote Desktop Services (RDS) Client Access License (CAL)

  • Remote Desktop Services (RDS) Subscriber Access License (SAL)

FSLogix solutions may be used in any public or private data center, as long as a user is properly licensed.

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Microsoft SQL Server

SQL Server is required if using Parallels RAS Reporting. SQL Server installation may be based on:

  • SQL Express which is free but has a database size limit of 10 GB.

  • SQL Server commercial edition Standard or Enterprise, using Core based licenses or Server + CAL based licenses.

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App-V is not licensed on its own, but included in other license agreements such as Microsoft Volume Licensing, Windows Software Assurance Microsoft, Remote Desktop Services (RDS) CAL, as part of a wider Microsoft licensing agreement. For instance, with an RDS CAL (either per-user or per-device), App-V client may be used on RD Session Host to deliver App-V applications.

To license App-V correctly it is recommended you to engage with a Microsoft Partner (solution provider) knowledgeable on Microsoft Volume Licensing (list of Microsoft Partners:

Other References

For a detailed list of Microsoft Volume Licensing Product Terms please see

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