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Can you help me with my software licensing question?

Our company has maybe 10 users who require Visio and Project but only on an occassional basis. It would seem like overkill to purchase 10 separate copies of each. But the only alternative that I can see is to put the software on a server and allow access through rdp (with a volume license agreement apparently). As a user I wouldn't like to have to use the app via rdp. Are there any alternatives?

[Our users don't want to move away from Visio or project]

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marked as duplicate by mailq, Sven, Iain Feb 10 '12 at 21:40

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

@SvenW - not so sure about that SvenW – Rory Sep 2 '11 at 11:41
Your question is about software licensing: What is the cheapest way to do what you want. This question isn't a good fit here, and the answer the system automatically linked to following my vote to close is the "canonical" reason why. – Sven Sep 2 '11 at 11:49
I don't agree. This question is broader than licensing and it is not just about the cheapest way to do things (not that there is anything wrong with that). – Rory Sep 2 '11 at 12:08
Licensing is one part of the question. The base question seems to be "I have X users that want to use program Y; how can I get them access to Y with as few purchases as possible." Which brings up solutions like terminals and the virtualization of apps and such. The end answer tends to involve licensing, but the base question I don't think is that. – Bart Silverstrim Sep 2 '11 at 12:35
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Like the majority of Microsoft Desktop Applications, both Project and Visio are licensed on a PER DEVICE basis.

That means that any device which is used to access the software in any way requires an appropriate licence (in your case Project and Visio) to be assigned to it. It does not matter whether the software is deployed locally on the Device or whether the device will access the software via a server such as a Terminal Server ... any device which accesses the software in any way will require a licence!

It also does not matter how often your users are intending to use the software. Whether they use it 5 minutes a day, 5 minutes a week or 5 minutes a month, they still require a licence to be assigned to them.

Please note some additional points which are very relevant:

If we are talking Versions 2007 or 2010 of Project and Visio and you intend to provide access from a server (instead of the software being locally deployed on the client device) then the licenses you acquire and assign to the relevant devices must be acquired through a Microsoft Volume Licence Agreement. Full Packaged Product (FPP) and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) licenses for Version 2007 or 2010 do not contain licence terms which would permit access to the software deployed on a server!

Another note ... although you have 10 users, ... as I have said above, Project and Visio are licensed per device ... so if it works for you to have a single device with Project and Visio deployed on it which is shared by those 10 users when they need it .. then you could reduce the amount of licenses you require to one Project and one Visio ... as there is only one device which has the software installed on it.

Another rule to keep in mind ... once a Microsoft Desktop Application licence (such as Project and Visio) is assigned to a device ... it can not be re-assigned to another device for a period of at least 90-days. So dont make the mistake that others have in the past ... where they thought they could buy one licence ... let a particular device use it for a few hours or days .. and then reassign the licence to another device so that the new device could then use the software or access the software for a few hours or days for example. The 90-day rule strictly prohibits transferring those licenses inside a 90-day timeframe.

As a former licensing auditor I have seen many organisations make this mistake! It can be costly!

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Thanks Troy, this is very clear. – Rory Nov 3 '11 at 21:56

If you have 10 users who insist on software X, and you don't want to allow them access to a terminal server to reduce the number of licenses requires, your only real alternative is to just purchase the licenses and install it on their workstation.

If you don't run it from a central location your alternative is to use things like the app virtualization to run it from a server to the client, which still costs money to license off another vendor.

10 licenses for a business, if this is part of the business operation, isn't much at all but if there's balking at spending that much I highly doubt you're going to afford the alternatives.

I could also point out the last option, which is installing the programs on a few systems that everyone has access to and telling them they must physically move to another desk to use it those very few times that they need it, and if they do not wish to do this you'll need more funding for purchasing licenses to put it on their computer at the desk.

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Visio and Project are not very expensive - Visio is maybe £300-400/seat for Visio Pro and MS project isn't much dearer. For the maybe £7-10,000 you would spend on licences it's not worth setting up a server. The hardware, client access licencing and running costs will drown out the savings you might get from licencing and RDP will provide an inferior user experience.

Floating licences are marginally cost effective for really expensive and occasionally used assets like CASE tools. For something like Visio at £350/seat it's not worth the trouble.

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