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We are in the beginning stages of converting our desktops to VMs. During this process, we contacted our Desktop Management vendor to verify license requirements for virtual vs. physical, and were told we would be required to have a license for each PC - physical or virtual.

We had hoped to save a little money by going virtual, but we are finding a lot of "hidden" costs. With our current requirements to maintain hardware and software inventory, this will double the management cost of each PC we virtualize because each PC requires an agent/license.

Our current accounting requirements are such that we "charge" our "customers" based on number and type of PC. Until now, that has worked fairly well, but required that some sort of inventory agent be installed. We use Symantec (Altiris) Service and Asset Management to assign PCs to users for reporting/accounting purposes. We also use their Client Management Suite to manage the desktop applications.

We can trim back the "suite" of agents to just the inventory piece on the physical desktop, but still need the full suite of agents on the VMs for software management and inventory.

My question is this: How do other companies track their physical desktop hardware once they are converted to VMs? Do they even care about the physical desktop once converted?

I suppose we could use another vendor, but from what I've been able to find, all have the same answer - a license for each PC, physical or virtual.

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This should double your licensing cost for the agents. Going to a virtual desktop under windows also incurs costs as you must aquire a VECD. Hopefully you own SA on your desktops. If not from the site:

VECD is a device-based subscription license and is available two ways:

1.VECD for Software Assurance (SA), which is priced at $23/year

2.VECD, which is priced at $110/device/year

Note: It is important to know that VECD is mandatory for any virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) deployment that uses virtual copies of Windows, regardless of the underlying infrastructure provider.

you also haven't mentioned what you've moved the desktops to. If they are still running windows then you still need to license them. I am unaware of any circumstance in which you can "move" the licesne from a physical device to a vm.

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"physical desktop hardware once they are converted to VMs"...mmm

If you replace a physical PC with a VM'ed PC then usually* you can transfer the license over to that VM - so long as you get rid of the PC and ensure that license isn't somehow reused elsewhere down the line.

*check your license agreements.

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Thanks, but transferring the license over to the VM isn't the problem. Needing to know the status of the physical hardware is. Our license agreements say one license for every agent installed. If one is on physical and one on virtual, that doubles the number of licenses required. Do other companies just forget the physical PC once they convert to Virtual? Or, do they purchase extra licenses so both physical and virtual are covered? – ToreTrygg Jan 11 '10 at 14:32
This was the point of my response; you'd need to buy additional licenses for either the VM or the physical machine if you intend to retain the physical machine. Also I couldn't fully understand your question. – Chopper3 Jan 11 '10 at 14:35
Sorry the question wasn't clear. So, what do other companies do? Do they go ahead and double their licenses for desktop management? Or do they just forget about the hardware? – ToreTrygg Jan 12 '10 at 13:39
Well more often than not companies move from thick PC client to thin VDI clients - they actually get rid of their original machines and destroy them, they are then usually legally allowed to use that original license. If you're keeping your original PCs then you'd HAVE to buy new licenses - is that clear? – Chopper3 Jan 12 '10 at 13:58

So, what you are doing is converting the installed OS over to a VM on the same (or new) machine, so each desktop can run multiple OSs? If so, you should be able to transfer the current license over along with the first VM, and then just need a license (or use open source OSs) for the other VMs.

If you are putting them all on some larger server somewhere and then using remote desktop to access them, well, it shouldn't have hidden costs beyond each desktop that needs to be replaced. I mean, VMs are wonderful, but they don't really have monitors, mice, and keyboards.

As for tracking physical hardware after moving to VMs, well, that's what property stickers are for. If you can stick it, it's real, and tracked as something that depreciates. :)

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