Save up to $300 per Device by Using Thin Clients With Windows 10 IoT Enterprise


Windows 10 IoT Thin Clients Can Now Be Enrolled Under Microsoft Software Assurance Instead of VDA

Traditionally, the fixed costs associated with Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) licenses for most endpoints connecting to a Windows virtual desktop could present an obstacle to VDI adoption. However inexpensive a thin client seemed on paper, a great many IT professionals viewed the projected TCO less enthusiastically as the price of a VDA license is around $100 per year and per endpoint.

The only way to reduce this license fee was to use a traditional Windows PC with a legal OEM copy of a qualifying OS such as Windows 7/8.x/10 Enterprise/Professional editions, and have these PCs enrolled under Microsoft Software Assurance (SA) costing about $50/device/year – so about half of a VDA license.

However, one of the most appealing aspects of adopting a VDI architecture is the ability to deploy more secure, power-saving and cost-effective thin clients. And today, the path to adoption has never been easier. Historically, you needed to have a VDA license for all thin clients, regardless of the OS. If you were planning to keep your thin client for six years, you had to pay a not-insignificant $600 in VDA licenses, which could make lowering TCO a challenge.

In October 2016, Microsoft has modified its Product Terms, making Windows 10 IoT Enterprise (WIE10) a “qualifying OS” under its Software Assurance program. This means that if you buy thin clients paired with Windows 10 IoT Enterprise licenses, you may enroll those under SA instead of VDA, thus saving 50 percent or about $50/device/year, for a total of $300 per device over six years, tipping the scales in favor of adopting Wyse thin and zero client endpoints.3

As a world leader in thin clients, Dell offers a range of Wyse thin clients with Windows 10 IoT Enterprise, including the new Wyse 5060 and 7040, the new Latitude 3480 and 5280 mobile thin clients, along with well-established 50207020 and 7020 accelerated graphics (7020QQ, for quad-display). Most of these devices can ship with Windows 10 IoT Enterprise installed in factory. Others can be upgraded from Windows Embedded Standard 7P (WES7P) to Windows 10 IoT Enterprise.


Some of these thin clients can also be downgraded in the field: you order them with WIE10 licenses but you can still run WES7P on them, ensuring compatibility with your legacy applications. Such devices also qualify for SA because you purchased them with a WIE10 license.

Using Windows thin client endpoints can offer the increased flexibility to use a local internet browser, to install external peripherals with associated drivers, and small applications running locally. They can be protected against malware and viruses (coming from a malicious website or a potentially-compromised USB stick) by using Dell Threat Defense – a revolutionary antimalware/antivirus solution based on artificial intelligence and mathematical modeling which doesn’t impact end user experience – preventing 99 percent of executable malware, far above the average 50 percent of threats identified by the top anti-virus solutions.2 Customers needing the flexibility of a Windows thin client should prefer Windows 10 IoT Enterprise instead of Windows Embedded Standard 7/8, in order to take advantage of the more cost effective SA.

For more information, read this quick Guide to Microsoft Windows Virtual Client Licensing or contact Dell Cloud Client-Computing.


1 OS abbreviations: Windows Embedded Standard 7 (32-bit WES7 or 64-bit WES7P), Windows Embedded 8 Standard (64-bit WE8S), Windows 10 IoT Enterprise (WIE10)

2 Based on Dell internal testing, November 2016

 3 The VDA pricing mentioned here is only an example. Actual pricing may vary and depends on the type of volume licensing program a given customer is enrolled in. Software Assurance can only be purchased with an upgrade license (irrespective of when the system is purchased). There is no longer an ability to purchase Software Assurance standalone. 

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