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User and Device Licenses for Small Business Server 2003

Posted on 2007-12-01
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I'm still confused about what is the requirement for Small Business Server when purchasing licenses. I understand that a user CAL lets one user use several devices (PC, Laptop, PDA) and a device CAL lets any amount of users access? (20 users using 10 computers in shifts?)

Ok so we had our original 5 when the SBS was installed, then we purchased 5 more licenses and I wasn't around, I recently purchased 5 more device licenses (the packaging says Device Licenses. Ok; so this is our scenario right now: we have 18 computers,  usually 1 user per computer and maybe 3 floating people that log on to any one computer when the original user does not come in. recently when I had only 10 licenses some computers when I added a new user to it, that user or another veteran user would get disconnected from the server somehow and I was resolving this by basically restarting the computer. When I purchased the 5 devices cals that problem went  away. Now we are going to add 3 more computers and hire 5 more people (adding them as users on the server) so; my licensing screen on the server says I have 15 licenses and maximum usage 19 (it was 18 but went one up when I added another cell through ActiveSync). So what do I purchase now? User Cals or Device Cals?

And Part 2 of this question: How do I make sure that if I buy a 5 pack of BOTH user and device cals that it's the right item?
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Question by:Rockstar1
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by:weareit
weareit earned 25 total points
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You have your though process with CALs backwards.

User CALs allow for x number of users to connect to your server x number of times.

Device CALs on the other hand allow for x number of devices to connect to your server.

-saige-
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by:Robberbaron (robr)
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as i understand it, you MUST assign a User CAL to a specific person (and write it down) and assign DEVICE cals to a specific device (and write it down)

So if a person wants to connect to RWW or OWA from home, they must be assigned either 1 USER Cal or 2 Device Cals , as the PC at home is different to the one in the office.  

So device CALS are only useful for real devices, like MFD's that write to the file system,  other servers, or a PC that is used by multiple persons not assigned a User cal.

The original 5 cals can be split as you choose (but written down how and where they are assigned) , the rest you buy as specific types.
(I assigned 2 of the initial CAL's to a FileServer and a scanner, the rest are user cals)
MS recommend using only 1 type to make it easy to track.  SBS doesnt really track  licence usage separately, it lumps them together and gives you a small amount of leeway when working out max allowable connections.
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by:Robberbaron (robr)
ID: 20390661
so "usually 1 user per computer and maybe 3 floating people that log on to any one computer when the original user does not come in."  doesnt work unless all the PC's are assigned Device CALS.   The USER cal is assigned even if JoeBlow doesnt come to work.

Device cals dont allow best use of SBS best features.... RWW & OWA
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy earned 450 total points
ID: 20390890
Sorry, but neither of you guys are right at all...  with regards to wearit's comment, SBS CALs are NOT based on concurrent connections.  With regards to robberbaron's comment, well, let's just say you made it MUCH more confusing than it is.  To clarify something for robberbaron though... your fileserver and scanner don't use or need CALs.

And let's also just say that your example of "a person wants to connect to RWW or OWA from home, they must be assigned either 1 USER Cal or 2 Device Cals" is really NOT valid, since you cannot assign a DEVICE CAL to a non-domain computer.  This scenario could ONLY be licensed under a USER CAL.

Then, I want to clear up your initial premise Rockstar1...
"I understand that a user CAL lets one user use several devices (PC, Laptop, PDA) and a device CAL lets any amount of users access? (20 users using 10 computers in shifts?)"

While it's true that a user CAL lets one user use several devices, a device CAL doesn't let any amount of users have access to any amount of machines... in your example, you would need 10 DEVICE CALs for however many users there were... there could be 300 users assigned to those 10 machines, as long as those users didn't authenticate to the domain in any other way (PDA, OWA, Laptop, etc).

But let me make it much clearer... here's the scoop...

The first 5 CALs that are included in SBS are allowed to be designated as either USER or DEVICE CALs, and the designation isn't done electronically... so this actually gives quite a bit of room for you to not have users get locked out.  Theoretically you are supposed to write down what you want those to be, I've never seen anyone do that, probably because I don't hardly ever see DEVICE CALs being used.

Additional CALs added to your SBS are actually assigned to the first unlicensed USER or DEVICE that connects, in the order that they connect, and the CAL is not released until you DELETE that USER or DEVICE from your domain.  Think of it as putting post-it notes on the USER or COMPUTER and you can only take that post-it note off that USER or COMPUTER if you eliminate them from your domain... at which point you can take the post-it note and stick it on someone or something else.

It's really NOT a good idea to mix USER and DEVICE CALS because it does get way too confusing.  There are very few cases where DEVICE CALs are actually a good idea... and yours doesn't sound like one of them.

Ideally, in your situation, since most of licensing would be USER CALs, then that's really what you should have.  Putting aside, for a moment, the fact that you already have 5 DEVICE CALs... you need to start looking at how many PEOPLE you have, not how many COMPUTERS.  From what I can tell by reading into your original question, you originally had 20 PEOPLE and only 10 CALs.  That's definitely a problem... no matter what type of CALs you have, unless ALL COMPUTERS were used by Job-Sharing positions (2 people assigned to each one constantly).  You SHOULD have just bought 10 more USER CALs and you would have been in compliance****.

So, now it seems as though you will have 25 USERS on staff (using 21 Computers).  Normally, I'd suggest that you need to have 25 USER CALs for this because even though they are using only 21 Computers... do any of them use Outlook Web Access?  Apparently one of them has a SmartPhone or PDA... so we know you have at least 22 devices that are used...  see how close this is?

Since you already have the 5 DEVICE CALs, though... giving you a total of 15 CALs, you need to buy an additional 10 USER CALs to be in compliance**** (more about that in a moment).

When you buy the additional CALs, you should actually clear the SBS Licensing Database before adding them, which will allow everything to get re-assigned again and the Active-Sync connection shouldn't then take up a single CAL.  Follow this KB article to do that:  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/153140

**** Okay, now a word about compliance.  No matter WHAT the Maximum Usage count says on your SBS, you are required to have enough CALs to cover your usage.  You should never really be in a position where the Maximum Used number is higher than your Installed CALs number.  If it is higher, you're definitely out of compliance... and as I demonstrated above... you aren't 5 CALs short, as you thought... but rather it's 10 CALs.  Obviously CALs cost money... but you will burn up much more than the cost of a CAL by having to reboot a computer just a couple of times to get that locked out user to have access.... while they just sit there and don't get any work done, waiting for you to fix the problem that wouldn't have existed if you had enough CALs.  :-)

Hopefully that was somewhat clearer... please let me know if you need further info though.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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Author Comment

by:Rockstar1
ID: 20398050
Ok; seems we technical people overexplain ourselves when it's really easy.

My scenario: I have 19 computers, 1 user per computer. They are never used in shifts. I have 15 Licenses; and yes it does say maximum usage so far 19; so im under 4 licenses.

Now that this is clear: Please and thank you; according to you Jeff; I need 5 more USER cals for now?

And then I'll need more USER cals? when I buy more computers and hire more people; 1 user per pc.
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by:weareit
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My rule of thumb, if in doubt use USER cals...  ;)

I can honestly say that I have not found one scenario where device CALs make more sense than user CALs.

-saige-
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 20398518
Yes, you currently need 5 more USER CALs and when you buy 3 more computers/hire 5 more people you will need to get another 5-pack of USER CALs.

FYI, resetting the licensing database as I suggested above will probably help you for a few days until you get the additional CALs.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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by:Rockstar1
ID: 20399698
Ok Great. So I just purchased 5 user cals.... $300...not too bad. Thanks for the help everybody, I had an epiphany and then it went away...but User Cals it is from now on.
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 20399880
I have seen them out there for that low a price... just be sure you are getting SKU T74-00002.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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