Is Parallels Containers the answer to avoiding VDA?

In my last posting, I talked briefly about Microsoft’s Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) license and how it pretty much wrecks ROI and TCO figures for VDI. If your organization needs the benefits that come from VDI – segregated desktops, for example, achieving TCO that approaches traditional desktop computing is a challenge once the need to pay a per year per device VDA tax comes into play.

Of course, Terminal Services also requires some additional licensing costs, but those costs come in the form of what can be a one-time outright license purchase. That said, Terminal Services alone doesn’t necessarily meet the needs for organizations considering VDI.

Enter Parallels Containers 4.6 which runs atop Windows Server 2008 R2. Containers is a product that basically slices and dices the host Windows operating system into standalone containers that look and act like individual operating system instances. Containers users can enjoy a higher end user density since the host OS is basically shared among several instances. But, the real beauty comes from the fact that Containers doesn’t require a VDA license for endpoints to access it — only Terminal Server Client Access Licenses are necessary.


Containers slices, dices and presents a server-provided desktop while other VDI tools, such as VMware View, require users to access a hosted desktop operating system such as Windows 7. When accessing a server-provided desktop, only a Terminal Services/Remote Desktop Services Client Access license in necessary.

Although Containers has “enjoyed” redheaded stepchild status in the VDI world, between its ability to provide a more dense VDI environment and lose the need to use VDA, I’d say that Parallels’ marketing department has ample fodder to make a huge push for this particular product.

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