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Microsoft Server 2012 CALS

Posted on 2013-12-10
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Last Modified: 2014-02-10
Hi Everyone,

    I know this question has been asked before in a round about way, but I'm unable to find an up to date answer. Please bear with me.

I have a question with licensing Windows Server 2012 for a new company.

They have 2 file servers and a Domain controller, and they want to run Server 2012 Standard on them.

They have 70 users. After buying the server software CAL for each, which I understand must be done, Can I then buy 70 USER CALS for Server 2012, and then they can access the resources on the 2 file servers and any other services on the Domain controller?

OR

Do I need to buy  210 CALS and then put 70 on each server?

Is there any hard limits on 2012 Server if we reach that point? Will it kick off my users?

Thanks for your input and patience.
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Question by:John Murphy
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by:duttcom
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Can I then buy 70 USER CALS for Server 2012, and then they can access the resources on the 2 file servers and any other services on the Domain controller?

No. They are only for accessing one server, so 5 users/1 server = 5 CALs required and 2 users/5 servers = 10 CALs.

Do I need to buy  210 CALS and then put 70 on each server?

Yes, you will need a total of 210 CALs, but you don't actually install them anywhere.

Is there any hard limits on 2012 Server if we reach that point? Will it kick off my users?

Because your CALs aren't actually allocated to any specific server, there will be no problem if you reach that limit, however you will need to make sure that the number of users is less than or equal to the number of CALs you own.

In the event of a Microsoft audit, you would be required to produce the documentation that shows you own the correct number of CALs for the users you have.
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Cliff Galiher earned 250 total points
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I'm sorry, but the above answer is simply incorrect. Windows server CALs have always covered all servers in the environment as long as the version of the CAL is newer than the version of the server. This is documented by Microsoft many places, but one of the more layman language places is here:

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/mssmallbiz/archive/2007/11/06/5942350.aspx

So no, not 210. 70.
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by:John Murphy
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Now I have no idea who to believe. cgaliher, you seem to be more experienced, but the link you gave was from 2007. Do you have any more resources I could look at? Thanks for your help.
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by:duttcom
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I stand corrected. For some reason I thought there was Sharepoint in the mix, but since it all the servers are having the same OS (and no other MS server applications such as Sharepoint for which you would need the extra licence) you need one per user.
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by:duttcom
duttcom earned 250 total points
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This is the official word from Microsoft. My apologies for the confusion.

http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/about-licensing/client-access-license.aspx
As sson as you start using things like Exchange, Sharepoint or Lync, you need to get additional licences.

So get 70 if all the servers are only running 2012, but consider the extra licences required if you run other Microsoft technologies.
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by:duttcom
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This might also be of use -

http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/CalTool/
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by:duttcom
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Also feel free to have an admin reallocate points if you want.
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by:John Murphy
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This individual business will be using the Office365 Suite for most other MS services, so thank you for being thorough.
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by:duttcom
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Microsoft licencing is a bit of a dark art. Most larger software vendors have MS licencing experts you can consult with for free to help sort all of this out.
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by:Lee W, MVP
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Putting this a different way (I think) and posting what someone should have said before:

Per server licensing has not been used since at least Windows 2000.

CALs are assigned to users or devices, once the user has a CAL (or the device), they can access all servers for which the CAL is valid (a 2012 CAL would be good for all current and prior versions).

DISCLAIMER: Licensing advice offered here is a "best effort" and based on the understanding of the respondents. Licenses can change and we may not be aware of these changes or may misunderstand them. Further, licenses and laws allowing them to be enforced can differ by country and/or region and what we understand to be true in our area could be false in your area.  "they told me on Experts-Exchange" will not be a valid defense in a software audit.  All licensing questions should be confirmed with the appropriate licensing authority (the maker of the software/issuer of the license).
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