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What Is Terminal Services Licensing?

R. Kimball
R. Kimball

Terminal services licensing is a form of operation system software licensing where machine processing is completed on a server and the client applications are thin software products. A license is purchased to cover processing completed on the server. Separate licenses are purchased to address accessing the server. This combination license is necessary to manage the interaction between the client and server machines.

A server machine is set up to manage a specific scenario of terminal services licensing. The software is installed on the server and configured to match the manner in which the organization intends to purchase its client access licenses. Client access licenses are sold either on a per user or per device basis. Some operating systems include the license within the client’s operating system license.

Man holding computer
Man holding computer

Prior to implementing its terminal services licensing products, each organization needs to consider how it will use the specific applications housed on the server. If the organization plans to grant users access to the programs from any location, then the organization will probably choose to license the operating system software on a per user basis. If the organization wants to limit the number of devices accessing its servers, then it purchases client access licenses on a per device basis.

When an organization licenses its client access licenses on a per user basis, it must configure its server operating system to permit access by a user who is using a number of different devices. The user might log onto the server from any location using a specific user identification code and a password. The server verifies the user’s information and permits the user to access applications located on the server from any location over a private network or the Internet.

Some organizations implement terminal services licensing on a per device basis. The server is configured to permit specific devices to access the server rather than individual users. These devices are verified as they call the server for permission to access applications housed on the server. This licensing scenario is used where the company has more users accessing the server than devices.

Once a user accesses the server, the user is presented with a thin software program on the client machine. Each action the user takes makes a call from the client machine to the server for information or action. Terminal services licensing might allow an organization to maintain tighter controls on its computing environment, given that the majority of the software is located on the organization’s servers.

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