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netadmin2004 asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-02-26
I'm a little confused on CALS. I have a network of 30 users and 2 DELL servers. I'm addding a 3rd server this weekend. I do run Active Directory and was wondering how my network is running just fine even though I have never actually purchased a CAL before. I do however think that DELL has 5 CALS for each server I purchase. Just for FYI my servers run:

Windows 2003 server standard
Live Communications Server
SQL Server
Exchange Server 2003

Can anyone explain to me how I somehow got passed this need for CALS?
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Principal Consultant
Most Valuable Expert 2016
Top Expert 2014
If you always buy from Dell, do you speak with a sales rep there?  Do you have a licensing agreement that you've gotten through them?

Check out the Dell Microsoft Licensing center to learn more:

As for HOW you've been able to do this?  There currently is no mechanism to shut you off if you don't have enough licenses (other than the risk of being audited and fined heavily).  You must take the responsibity to keep your network legal by having enough CALs.

Speak with a dell licensing specialist for more info.


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Why the hell would you need to buy a license? This just doesn't make sence. Don't we purchase enough by getting the op systems and all the software from Microsoft? This seems like a way just to make more money and has absolutly nothing to do with functionality. I guess I just don't fully understand it is all...
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasyPrincipal Consultant
Most Valuable Expert 2016
Top Expert 2014

All Software from Microsoft is "LICENSED".  You don't really "OWN" it, you are licensed to use it.  

With a Server Environment, there are four basic types of licenses that are needed:
Server License
CAL = Client Access License
Workstation Operating System License (Windows XP)
Other Software Licenses (such as Office)

The concept of using CALs is to make the server products as affordable as possible for smaller companies.  Thus your actual cost for the server ends up being scaled to however many users you have accessing the server.  This seems quite fair to me... although I've actually advocated that Microsoft should not charge anything for the Server Licenses and ONLY charge for CALs (which would obviously cost a bit more with this arrangement).  By doing this, they would make it much clearer that the real cost is just per-person.

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