Device CALs vs. User CALs confusion & questions

Posted on 2005-05-15
Last Modified: 2010-03-19
My company is planning to purchase SQL server to support a time and attendance program that they are also going to buy.  HR says that they will need 10 people to be able to access the T&A program

I am confused about the new Licensing types for SQL Server 2000.  I have read the FAQ at Microsoft outlining the differences and uses of each License type but I'm confused at how SQL server knows whether a connection is coming from a "licensed user" or a "licensed device".  If I get 10 "user" licenses does that mean that only 10 specific users could have access and that we are stuck with only those ten users being able to access the db?  Or if I get 10 "device" licenses does that mean that only 10 specific desktops could access the db?  Could I transfer the licesnse to another Client device?

In truth, I am going to try and get the company to buy a processor license but they may balk at the additional cost and then I'll have to figure out what kind of licenses to buy.

Thanks for any insight you can give me.

Question by:exNavyNuke
    LVL 11

    Accepted Solution

    Licenses in this context are all paperwork and contracts and legal agreements. You don't physically assign user account names to a server instance, and SQL Server does not  keep counts and display error messages or otherwise misbehave.

    I would never purchase licenses for Microsoft server products based on what I read in the FAQ. This is vastly more complex than you can imagine.  For example, if your company purchased some other combination of products and servers, you may already have licences available that can be applied to this new server.  There are also numerous special deals involving upgrades, bundles and competitve migrations.

    Where do you purchase your Microsoft licenses? That firm ought to be doing the leg work for you, and sniffing out the best deal. If you don't use a third-party vendor, you should consider it. They'll save you a fortune and keep you legal.

       General Info

       Locating a license vendor based on your size and needs

       I have personal experience with these folks, for example

    Ideally, the vendor will have a history of all of your license purchases and can quickly and efficiently generate quotes and options for you.

    -- Craig Yellick


    Author Comment

    My company is a small subsiderary of a very large corporation who (for now) dictates that we use Dell as our provider of all Microsoft products.  The company is very strict concerning being legal with the proper product licensing.

    If I understand you correctly then you are saying that there isn't any built in checking to see if you are complying with whatever licensing is purchased.  Sort of an honor system, then.

    So If I don't get to purchase the single processor license and must purchase per user licensing I don't really have to decide ahead of time whether to use per user or per device.

    Alternatively - If I DO get to purchase a single processor license there is not a built in system to limit it to only using 1 processor in a dual processor machine unless I set the affinity for only one processor.  Am I correct in saying that.

    LVL 11

    Expert Comment

    Dell should be able to steer you in the right direction, that's part of how they make their money as a reseller. They'll also have your license inventory listing and be able to offer options and the pros/cons of each.

    Correct -- there is no checking for user counts and users with CALs.

    I'm not sure about processor licenses, it's possible that server per-CPU licenses will actively prevent the use of multiple CPU.

    -- Craig Yellick

    Author Comment

    Thanks for the info Criag.


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