The last piece of the puzzle is RD Licensing server. Each server already has 2 CALs for admins and that’s each and every server, but the idea is that there are just going to be used by admins to remote desktop in and go through and configure the server. Once we install RDS we must install a license server within 120 days or RD Sessions services will stop. Once we have installed the server we have to activate it and we need to purchase Client Access License, or CALs that match the licensing mode that we choose.
WE HAVE 2 MODES:
- PER USER – One user (using any device) can use RDS functionality on any server
An RDS User CAL means that you’re licensing the user, so one user using any device, and in fact they can use multiple devices at the same time, can use Remote Desktop Services functionality on any server. So let’s say you have executives that have both a desktop and a laptop, and even some type of a tablet, they could remote desktop on all of those devices, and even simultaneously, and you would still be within your licensing requirements. When you move over to user CALs, or the user mode, you need to make sure that you buy the appropriate amount of licensing. If you have it set to Per User, it accepts any and all connections. It’s on you to make sure that you’ve bought the appropriate number of CALs and that you’re obeying your licensing agreement.
- PER DEVICE – One device (used by any user) can use RD on any server
This allows one device to be used by any user to connect up to Remote Desktop Services on any server. So let’s say you have a warehouse and you have one desktop out there, but 10 people use it. You could get away with buying one RDS Device CAL, and that particular desktop would have a CAL assigned to it, and anyone who used it would be able to use Remote Desktop Services. When it’s set to device, the once of the number of CALs is used up, the Remote Desktop server will refuse additional connections.
RD LICENSING SERVER AND CAL VERSIONS
Keep in mind that CALs must correspond to the version of Windows Server that the user or device is connecting to. Another important thing to note is that if your RD Licensing server is 2016 then you can host CALs from all previous versions but if it is 2012 then you can host CALs older then 2012 and that version. In other words, you cannot use a 2012 RD Licensing server to service Server 2016 RDSH or RDVH servers.
CONVERT 2012 CALs to 2016
This is the question that comes a lot when we speak about RD Licensing and the answer is that there is no method which we can use to convert our licenses from 2012 to 2016. We can do an in-place upgrade which I am not a fan of (You will need to delete the database and upgrade the server) or we can install new Windows Server 2016 and install Licensing role on it with 2016 CALs and decommission the old RD Licensing server.
(I will show you later how you can remove Licensing Pack with powershell, in case that you have a lot of licensing packs on your RD Server and you need to remove just specific one without rebuilding the database)
Let’s go ahead and install the RD Licensing role. I will install it on DC01. (If you wonder why am I installing it on a domain controller be sure to check PART 10 -It will be available soon). Be sure to add your licensing server in ALL SERVERS in Server manager before you go and install the role. Click on the RDS Node –> Overview and then click on the RD Licensing
Select your server and click on Next and ADD
and after a few seconds we will have our RD Licensing role installed.
Now the RD Licensing role is installed we need to activate it. To do this we need to launch the Remote Desktop Licensing Manager. I will switch to DC01 and open Licensing Manager. Open Server Manager –> Tools –> Remote Desktop Services –> RD Licensing Manager
You will notice that the Activation Status is Not Activated. (I will not be able to finish the wizard because I don’t have licenses in my test environment but I will show you the steps)
Right click your server name then click Activate Server
On the Welcome Wizard screen Click Next. If your computer is connected to the internet leave it on Automatic connection or choose between Web Browser or Telephone connection and click Next
Enter your information and click Next
This is just an optional page so if you want you can enter additional information or you can just click Next
You will notice that Start Install Licenses Wizard now is checked by default. Click Next
On the Welcome Page click Next. On the License Program page we have the option to pick the type of license we want to install. Choose the one purchased and click next
Now we come to the last part where we have to add our license. Once done click Next and Finish
You will see your licenses under the server name.
If you receive yellow warning triangle next to your server name you will need to add your Licensing server into the Active Directory. Usually you will have to do it when you fresh install the licensing server. To do that you can right click on your server and select Review Configuration
Here you will have the option to add it to AD Group.
Once server is added we will see all greens.
To confirm the license server is added to the AD group we can open ADUC and click on Builtin –> Terminal Server License Servers
Once done we will see our Licensing server and the mode under the Collection Deployment Properties (Licensing Section)
MIGRATE RDS LICENSING SERVER
There may be situations where we need to migrate our CALs to a different server. Again I will not be able to migrate CALs because I don’t have valid onces in my test environemt but I will show you how to do it and what you need to think about when migrating to a different host. Connect to your DESTINATION Licensing server and run Licensing Manager ( You many note that I am running this on my DC01 and it is because I don’t have second licensing server)
Migration process starts by right-clicking on our Licensing server and selecting Manage Licenses
On the Welcome Wizard click next. On the Action Selection page we will focus on the first option and from the drop-down-box select on of the 2 option and select next.
I will choose The source license server is being replaced by this one…
On the Source License Server Information page, enter the name or IP address of the source license server.
- If the source license server is available on the network, click Next.
At this point, you need to type your keys or agreement number and confirm the licenses with the Add button. When you have added all your licenses click Next and the wizard will transfer the CALs. Once done you are ready to unauthorize and decommission the old server.
- If the source license server is not available on the network option , check The specified source license server is not available on the network. Specify the operating system that the source license server is running, and then provide the license server ID for the source license server. To find you server ID you will need to login on the source server and in Licesning Manager right-click on it and select properties
On the Connection Method tab, down at the bottom you can see the license server ID .
Copy the ID and paste it in the Enter the license server ID for the source license server boxes, then click Next to continue.
Next page will warn us that we will need to manually remove the licenses from the source server, check the box that you agree with it and click on next and follow the wizard.
REMOVE RD LICENSE PACK FROM LICENSING SERVER
There may be situations where we need to remove only one license pack and not to rebuild the whole database. We will first start with removing one license pack and then we will see how we can rebuild the whole database. The only way to do this is to run powershell. There is no GUI option for this.
In Licensing manager we can see that I have 2 License Packs. One for the Devices and one for Users. I have only Built-in but you can use these commands that I will show you to remove your license packs.
Run powershell as admin and type Get-WmiObject Win32_TSLicenseKeyPack
You will get a list of license packages. Look for the KeyPackId. We will need that Value in our next command
To remove License Package type in
wmic /namespace:\root\CIMV2 PATH Win32_TSLicenseKeyPack CALL UninstallLicenseKeyPackWithId 2
Let’s see now how we can rebuild the RD Licensing database. Start RD Licensing Manager and right-click on your server and select Manage Licenses
On the Welcome screen click Next. On the Action Selection page select Rebuild the license server database and and select the reason… click next
On the confirmation page check the Confirm deletion of licenses…. and click next
And that’s it. Database has been deleted. Now we have the option to reinstall licenses. Click next and follow the wizard.
Just to point that the database files are located in C:\Windows\System32\lserver\
If you would like to rebuild it manually, you would need to stop the licensing services, rename the database to TLSlic.old and then start the service.
That’s it. I hope you enjoyed reading. I hope that after reading this you have better understanding on how RD Licensing role works.
Thanks for reading!
What if you have the following:
1 server rd gateway + broker installed
2 servers with session host
Through rds web, it works great.
Through mstsc it does not go through broker.
I can publish remote desktop mstsc. Then it works. But thats not user friendly.
Can you make a post on how to fix?
Do you mean when your external user using built in rdp then it does not work. That what you can do is to download mstsc file from rd web and push it to the users so that they use pre-configured file.
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Thank you very much for this one
Great job with your articles to set up a RDS environment. I was able to set up a test environment RDS 2019 with some of your information.
I have a quick question for you. Above, you are recommending to install RDS licensing role in a DC server; for us, it is not possible. Are there any problems if we install the licensing server in the connection broker server? I am asking because we have a redundant connection broker and it would be great to use these servers as licensing server. What are your thoughts on this?
It will be no issues with installing licensing role on a rd connection broker.