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Microsoft (through Windows Azure) now offer RDS – Remote Desktop Services formerly known as Terminal Server or Terminal Services in previous iterations of the product. However to offer this as a solution you will need to sign up to SPLA (Service Provider Licensing Agreement) and if you are an end user SME business you would need to sign up as a Microsoft Partner which isn’t your core business so you won’t want to do this but we can offer you Remote Desktop Services on our platform – which is also UK based and importantly we own it!


Microsoft Azure vs YourOfficeAnyWhere

For IT Service companies wanting to provide this solution they will still need to license RDS licenses (through SPLA only) and Office applications (if the customer wants this) through either their existing volume license program or through monthly rentals using SPLA which the IT company will need to sign up for.

So all of the above is a little confusing to say the least, however if as an IT company you are thinking of using this solution to give your customers an RDS solution you may need to think about the number of servers you would need to spin up in Azure to give them a resilient infrastructure to support their business – even if it is a 5 user system they will expect to be able to logon 24/7 and if they can’t logon (because a domain controller has crashed for example) that provides access to the remote desktop you need to think about building this resilience into Azure which then starts to look very expensive.

Considerations for an Azure RDS Environment

  • Multiple Domain Controllers to allow logons
  • Multiple RDS Gateway Servers with certificates to ensure 128bit encryption
  • Do you need UK based data centres and want to know where your data is?
  • Anti Virus
  • Microsoft Licensing reporting on a monthly basis under SPLA
  • Backups
  • RDS licensing server/service
  • Group Policy configuration to lock down users desktops
  • Windows Server for file services – at the time of writing Azure doesn’t offer standard Windows File Shares.

So when  you have factored all of the above in and the time it would take to set all of this up is it really worth it? Assuming a 10 user system , with 1 x RDS Gateway Servers, 1 x Active Directory Servers and 1 x RDS Server, 1 x File Server  each server having 2 cores and 3.5GB memory works out (July 2013 from the Microsoft Azure Web Site) at $520.00 per month. You then need to factor in per user RDS licenses and any other software (Office for example) the customer may want to run.

A YourOfficeAnyWhere solution would cost (for the remote desktop including the RDS license through SPLA) for 10 users £255.00 and we have a reseller program as well.

The reason for this is we have been in this market since 2007 and already have all the infrastructure in place to provide this solution for you as a reseller and you don’t need to build anything. We already have multiple domain controllers, remote desktop gateways and a certificate, AV is included in our solution, as are automatic updates and file services. We can also provide SQL Server instances as well for your customers. We provision the server and provide a heavily locked down environment out of the box which saves you as a reseller lots of time.

So the question you need to ask – is it worth putting all the time and effort into creating a standalone virtual RDS systems for each of your customers? If not we have the solution for you.

Article posted by Michael Carter, Director at YourOfficeAnyWhere.