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Windows Server 2003 Licensing Questions

Posted on 2010-08-24
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I'm planning on performing some upgrades to the network at my office. The main thing I want to do is upgrade our two server 2003 domain controllers to 2008 DC's. But while I was looking at the licensing for the 2003 DC's in the licensing control panel on each server, I got stumped and decided to look into this issue before I moved on.

Here is the situation. We have two 2003 DC's on the network. The primary DC has AD, DNS and DHCP installed on it while the other DC only has AD and DNS. The issue that stumped me was this: The primary DC has Per Server licensing enabled with 5 concurrent connections allowed. The other DC has Per Device or Per User enabled. Are we in compliance if the primary DC only has Per Server licensing?

I got a licensing report from Microsoft a while ago and it shows that our organization has 100 device CAL's for server 2003 (We only have roughly 80 devices on our network). When a user logs in to the network from a computer, are those device CAL's being used to authenticate the device to the secondary DC or the primary DC?

I feel like I should know these answers but Microsoft licensing has always confused me. Thanks in advance for any assistance. If you need more information I'll do my best to provide it.
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Question by:it4pets
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Lee W, MVP earned 63 total points
ID: 33514522
You should contact Microsoft Licensing and Pre-Sales Support for this question.  Answers provided here will NOT be a valid defense in a Licensing Audit.  It is possible the DC that is using Per Server licensing was just an oversight and it should have been converted to per seat licensing.  In addition, my understanding (and every comment here should begin with those two words) is that Device licenses require EVERY device that is going to authenticate to your network to have a license - that INCLUDES mobile phones that check e-mail (if the e-mail is handled by Exchange), the HOME USER'S COMPUTER that is used to connect via VPN, and so on.  
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by:roarkinc
roarkinc earned 62 total points
ID: 33514528
join the club.  the licensing is very complicated and for a true answer you can be confident of (and show your boss) i would contact the number on the licensing report you received from microsoft.  as long as you aren't trying anything shady, they will work with you to get you on the correct path.
also, if you have a dell account, you can call them and they have microsoft licensing reps on speed dial.
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Author Comment

by:it4pets
ID: 33514644
Thanks leew and roarkinc. I had a feeling that I was going to contact Microsoft in the end. I just thought I might try here first. Thanks for the advice!
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