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SQL liscences for applications

Posted on 2014-03-18
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Last Modified: 2014-03-25
*as a general rule* do applications with a backed SQL Server require a CAL for every user using the SQL database, regardless of whether each user has an account in the database or not? Some apps may just have a shared account that accessed the database from the appliation, and therefore no user is directly logging in/accessing the database, but they are still using it via the application. What are the rules? Does it depend on how the application and database interact?
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Question by:pma111
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Carl Tawn earned 250 total points
ID: 39936718
It depends on your usage. You can licence the SQL Server either on a User CAL basis, which  requires one licence per user who will access the server, or you licence the server (based on processing cores nowadays). The latter is more appropriate if you have, say, a web application that will be accessed by a large, or possibly unknown, number of users.
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Expert Comment

by:desperadomar
ID: 39936772
I hope the user here furnished is the login right?
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by:pma111
ID: 39936799
Not too sure what you mean by furnished?
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by:pma111
ID: 39936800
>which  requires one licence per user who will access the server

How about if you access the application, which accesses the application, via a common account, is that then 1 CAL required, or if you have 200 users using the application, is that 200 CAL's required?
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by:Carl Tawn
ID: 39936862
That would still be 200 CALs - it is still 200 physical users accessing the SQL Server. But if you have that many users then a server licence will probably be cheaper than CAL licences anyway.
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Expert Comment

by:desperadomar
ID: 39936870
I  believe each CAL means a login in sql server not user in database
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by:Anthony Perkins
Anthony Perkins earned 250 total points
ID: 39938564
I  believe each CAL means a Login in Sql Server not user in database
No.  It has nothing to do with SQL Server Logins.  It has to do with client users (not database users) connecting to the server.  In other words, supposing you have a web app with 1000 users, but only 2 SQL Server Logins in SQL Server (one admin account and one SQL Server Login for the web app).  Then you would have to be licensed for 1000 users not 2, whether that is with CALs or per CPU is up to you.
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by:pma111
ID: 39939285
could you give rought prices for single CAL and single core liscences? I see you hinted at processor liscences making more sense given the user base, can you elaborate slightly why CAL's may be more cost effective in some cases, and processor liscences more cost effective in other cases?
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by:Carl Tawn
ID: 39939294
Ballpark prices are:

Core license: $1793 per core (4 core minimum)

Server+CAL: $898 for the server + $209 per CAL

But, as always with these things, you'd be best to talk to Microsoft direct and they can suggest the most cost-effective licencing model for your specific usage requirements.
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by:pma111
ID: 39942238
So with the core liscence, you dont have to worry about CAL's?

I cant see much of a case for not using the core liscence then given the cost of CAL's? Or where CAL's would ever be more cost effective given that anything more than a few users will cost more than a core liscence?
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by:pma111
ID: 39942241
Ah that was per core not per server..
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by:Carl Tawn
ID: 39942330
It basically comes down to your usage. Core licences are roughly $1793 each (so minimum $7200-ish given that you have to buy them in packs of 4), or $898 for a server plus CALs.

So basically once you get to about 30 users you start to get in to the territory where Core licencing  is more cost effective. If you are hosting a website or something the Core licensing is a no brainer; whereas if you think your user base may grow in the future then Core licenses from the outset may prove cheaper in the long run than buying additional CALs as and when needed.
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