There’s a bit of confusion regarding applicability of Microsoft licenses to Winflector and similar software. Thankfully, Christopher Barnett from the Scott & Scott LLP law firm comes to the rescue and clears up the landscape. In the article called “Innovative Solutions to Circumvent Burdensome SPLA Requirements“, this expert on copyright and intellectual property law writes:
For example, relatively new to the market is a product called Winflector, which might be a candidate for service providers interested in a replacement for Windows Remote Desktop Services (RDS) SALs under SPLA […] Winflector may be a solution for service providers in that situation to consider, because, according to its developer, it does not make any use of RDS. Instead, the service provider’s application is deployed and configured on a server that is also running the Winflector server product.
So far so good. Winflector indeed doesn’t touch RDS and is easy for a service provider to configure and deploy.
The requirement of a client-side application may be a deal-breaker, and while Winflector’s license model may be represent long-term cost savings, the product is not free and likely would represent a capital expenditure rather than an operating expense.
This might have been written some time ago, as now Winflector requires no client side application, as the web client doesn’t need to be installed. While Winflector indeed constitutes a capital expenditure, there are significant advantages to how the licensing operates, especially compared to Microsoft’s one. To put it plainly, OTC only wants you to pay for the users that operate at once, and Microsoft wants you to pay for all users who might use the software, regardless of actual operation. There’s a whole website dedicated to the complexity Microsoft SALs generate. You can easily whip out your calculator/spreadsheet program and calculate how much a Winflector deployment will cost you.
The technology business is getting complex enough with the actual technical issues one has to manage, so it might be worthwhile to reduce your exposure to the licensing mazes some software providers throw at you. If you like keeping it simple, go Winflector.