Microsoft, Server, Windows Server 2003 SBS license question

Posted on 2008-06-25
Last Modified: 2013-12-05
I have Windows Server 2003 SBS SP2 setup as a DC with 5 CALS that came with 2003 server.  There are no other servers on my network.   I have 90+ users active in AD. These users are NOT using exchange, TS or any applications on the server.  I have 6 shared printers in AD that around 11 users in the home office use to print.  The other 80+ users print to local printers that are not listed on the 2003 server, but are on the network via print servers.  I use standard TCP/IP ports to print directly to the local printers on the network.  We also have a Shared folder on the server that all users can access to save and open files.  This is all the server is used for.  I had the same situation on a previous server running 2000 server with 140+ users and had no issues.  

Since I went live with the 2003 server,  I keep getting the following error and warning in the event log.  No license was available for DOMAIN\%USERNAME% using product FilePrint.  I have read through the MS 2003 SBS licensing and read many forum comments here, and I see no reason why I would be getting this message.  2003 licensing should not be in use for a shared folder or local printers using a TCP/IP port should it?  The reason I say that is because many of the usernames I get in the logs are users from branches that do not have access to DC printers.  Am I missing something in the licensing?  Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
Question by:Peoples789
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LVL 77

Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 21871578
Any user that authenticates to an SBS needs a CAL. Also SBS has a 75 simultaneous user limit, it has nothing to do with whether they have e-mail accounts or not. This is a clear violation of the licensing agreement.

Author Comment

ID: 21883246
Robwill, ok, so the game has changed..  I need one license per user no matter what?  AD is now an appication on the server that requires a license?  Is this a good assesstment of what you are saying.  Therefore, If I have 81 users, I need two servers ( due to your comment about 75 licenses per server) even if they only thing the server is doing is AD and Group policies?  If this is correct?   Then a company of say 1000 users needs 14 servers to do the same thing?   I just want to be clear, as I was very surprises by your comments above.  I have been using Server 2000 for 9 years and this did not apply.  Thank for the help and any good advice or suggestions would be appreciated.

Author Comment

ID: 21883506
    it has nothing to do with whether they have e-mail accounts or not. This is a clear violation of the
     licensing agreement.
When I purchased 2003 I went by the below statement from the 2003 licensing agreement.  
Every client connection requires a CAL if the client computer accesses network or server application services, such as:
"      Exchange services. Using e-mail and messaging.
"      File services. Sharing and managing files or disk storage.
"      Printing services. Sharing and managing printers.
"      Remote access services. Accessing the server from a remote location through a network connection.
This stated nothing about AD, group policy management or DNS, which I have been using now for over 4 months and have no issues with any of the 90+ PC or users authenticating or using DNS on the server every day.  So I can only assume what Robwill is referring to is the file sharing.  If so, I would need as many licenses as I thought would assess the server at the same time for file sharing, not one per user, correct?

LVL 77

Accepted Solution

Rob Williams earned 500 total points
ID: 21883582
Small Business Sever is the only server version that has the 75 user limit. Other versions you can have thousands so long as the hardware can handle that many users.

Small Business Server has a series of special features, services, restrictions, and CAL's. It includes Server 2003, Exchange 2003, Sharepoint, and much more. SBS premium also offers ISA and SQL. Normally you would need server CAL's and Exchange CAL's , which can be per device or per user. However, SBS offers only one CAL which covers both SBS 2003 and Exchange, as well as you can other member servers and no other CAL's are required so long as you have 1 CAL for each user that authenticates to Active directory. The CAL's are also much less expensive than buying Server 2003 and Exchange 2003 CAL's.
However, this wonderful features come with some restrictions:
-maximum of 75 users ( I believe SBS2000 was 50 users)
-SBS must be the first server in a domain and hold all FSMO roles. You can add as many member servers, or even domain controllers as you like (still a 75 user domain)
-you cannot create trusts with other domains

On the other hand there is no user limit with Server 2003 standard, enterprise, or data center. However you still need a CAL for each user or device connecting to the servers. Basically any user/device accessing a resource on a server that requires them to enter a user name and password, requires a CAL. These can be per server or per seat. See the link below for details regarding the differences and requirements.

If you have more than 75 users you should consider migrating to a non-SBS domain. You could go to a 2003/2008 std domain or Windows Essentials Business Server, which offers similar advantages but a 250 user limit (to be released in the next couple of months).

If you are running additional servers such as SQL, Exchange, Terminal Server, you will need different CAL's for each of those as well. It gets quite expensive  :-)

As for you last statement, you do not need CAL's for DNS, but if you are using group policy it can only be applied if the PC is joined to the domain, and a user authenticates. For that they need a CAL.

The only occasion a user can access a Windows server resource without a CAL is anonymous web access to a web server.
LVL 77

Expert Comment

by:Rob Williams
ID: 21968441
Thanks Peoples789.
Cheers !

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