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CAL's needed


OSNN Junior Addict
We are going to upgrade seven of our Win2000 servers to 2003, and I was working with CDW for an upgrade cost. They want to know the number of CAL's needed, and there is some question in my mind about this. By their definition, a CAL equals a person pulling information from a server. If this is the case, I would need 50 CAL's. If a CAL really equals number of concurrent users, that would probably be around 5 to 10 at any given time. Can someone clarify?


Woah.. I'm still here?
Staff member
Political User
There are two different types of CALs you can get for Windows 2003 Server. There are device CAL's and user CAL's. You, technically, can mix and match but it's a LOT easier to manage (and prove compliance if you are audited) if you only go down one route and only buy user CAL's or only buy Device CAL's. They are the same price, but they are not interchangable.. they have different SKU numbers and you can't treat a device CAL as a user CAL and vice versa.

In either case, a CAL is required for any user (or device) that access the server. They are NOT concurrent but named licenses (ie: each user or device requires a CAL).


Woah.. I'm still here?
Staff member
Political User
an XP Pro license will not give you a Windows CAL to access windows server. Microsoft does have a promotion (that was supposed to end last year, but was extended until mid-2007) to get a "free" Terminal Server CAL if you purchased XP Pro licenses before the release of Windows Server 2003 (see: http://licensecode.one.microsoft.com/transition/) This is a different CAL and only applies to full Terminal Server deployments (ie: Remote Desktop for administration does not require a Terminal Server CAL)

There is one more option that applies to CAL's and licensing that is a concurrent licensing scheme.. You can choose to do licensing on a per server basis which requires a CAL for every active connection. Generally, this is very impractical because if I copy a Word file while I have an Excel file open from the server, that requires two connections and will require 2 CALs. Doesn't matter that the two connectsion come from the same computer or from the same user.

Welcome to the wonderfully convoluted world of Microsoft Licensing. Here is a Microsoft page that talks about their CAL's (http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/howtobuy/licensing/caloverview.mspx)

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