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SBS 2008 - maximum amount of CALs and users

Posted on 2015-02-23
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Last Modified: 2015-03-04
Can someone point me to a Microsoft Document showing the CAL / License limitations of SBS 2008 (and SBS 2008 with the SBS 2011 Premium add-on)?

I need to clarify (and need to be able to prove) if SBS CALs (if in per-user mode) are based on the number of concurrent users or (as I suspect) is based on the number of user accounts (minus the admin account), and what the maximum number of CALs is (for SBS 2008 and SBS 2008 with SBS 2011 Premium add-on).
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Question by:Chris Millard
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Expert Comment

by:Kash
ID: 40625453
I'm not aware of any hard limit on the number of Active Directory "accounts" that can be created with SBS 2008.  The limits kick in with the number of CALs you have purchased.  
And with SBS 2008, there are no CALs "installed" on the server (like SBS 2003).  You buy the desired CAL type and quantity, and then store the paperwork in a safe place to prove that you're legal.  You could even buy and use a combination of User CALs and Device CALs for SBS.
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by:David Atkin
David Atkin earned 100 total points
ID: 40625457
The limit on SBS is 75 Users Accounts / Computers.  Going over this amount violates the licence agreement for SBS.  SBS does not enforce this limit.  It just moans in the logs when you go over it.

This is not concurrent users, this is active directory accounts.

See here:
http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/licensing/about-licensing/client-access-license.aspx#tab=1
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by:Benjamin MOREAU
Benjamin MOREAU earned 100 total points
ID: 40625460
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Author Comment

by:Chris Millard
ID: 40625468
David, this is what I expect, but even on that link, I am not seeing where it says that it is 75 AD accounts
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Author Comment

by:Chris Millard
ID: 40625476
Benjamin - likewise, in the link you provided, I cannot see where it says that this is/is not based on concurrent users - all it says is that you are allowed a maximum of 75 CALs
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Assisted Solution

by:David Atkin
David Atkin earned 100 total points
ID: 40625482
Technically its per person accessing the server:

"With the User CAL, you purchase a CAL for every user who accesses the server to use services such as file storage or printing, regardless of the number of devices they use for that access"

The way SBS will count this is based on per AD User - To my knowledge.
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by:Benjamin MOREAU
Benjamin MOREAU earned 100 total points
ID: 40625487
You can found on my Document link (page 8). MS says that SBS Std is limited to 75 users.
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Author Comment

by:Chris Millard
ID: 40625496
Benjamin - your document also states:-

Q. How many users can use the SBS 2011 Premium Add-on software?
A. If you acquired the SBS 2011 Premium Add-on for the SBS 2011 Essentials license, then you may have
no more than 25 connections accessing a licensed instance of the server software. If you acquired the SBS
2011 Premium Add-on for the SBS 2011 Standard or SBS 2008 license, then you may have no more than
75 connections accessing a licensed instance of the server software.

The last portion of that sentence needs clarification 'then you may have no more than 75 connections accessing a licensed instance of the server software.' - 75 concurrent?
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Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 250 total points
ID: 40625581
Chris,

SBS is licensed by the user or the device.  There can be a maximum of 75 CALs.  Those CALs can be divided up as User or Device.  If you license by device, then you can have more than 75 users - example - you COULD have a call center with 75 computers running 24x7 with 8 hour shifts and if those users NEVER access the server remotely, then you could end up with hundreds of users and in theory, you should be still properly licensed.

You also need to understand, your license is a legal document.  When you installed the software you agreed to the license agreement - not documents on the internet, or anywhere else.  (You may not have read it or understood it - as most people don't read it).  You are now asking for a legal interpretation of that document and you appear to want a binding legal interpretation - that we CANNOT give you.  

Please understand, my advice - AND THE ADVICE OF EVERYONE HERE ON THIS QUESTION - is based on our interpretations.  Further:
Licensing Disclaimer
License information provided here is "best efforts".  The comments of the respondents are based on interpretation of the license agreements and their knowledge of the particular laws and regulations in their geographic location.  Laws in your location may invalidate certain aspects of the license and/or licenses can change.  "They told me on Experts-Exchange" will not be a valid excuse in an audit.  You need to contact the license granting authority to confirm any advice offered here.
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Author Comment

by:Chris Millard
ID: 40625665
Lee,

Thanks for your comments and advice. This is not my server - it belongs to a client who doesn't like to spend money on IT (who does?).

They have 91 users and near on 70 devices. As a company, they have grown dramatically in the past 4 years, and subsequently really have outgrown the scope of SBS.

I understand that so far everyone has given their own interpretations or the licensing, and I really appreciate those comments. By and large, they are the same ideas as I had.

BUT my question in essence was, can someone point me to a document that categorically states that the maximum of 75 CALs in User mode means that legally, there can be no more than 75 user accounts.

If I go to my customer, I am going to have to show evidence of this in order to substantiate my claim that they are not operating legally.

So far, no one has been able to point me in a direction of a document that shows that.
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Expert Comment

by:Kash
ID: 40625695
unable to find anything on MS website for 2008 CALs. this is the closest I could find.

http://blog.pluralsight.com/don%E2%80%99t-underestimate-sbs-2008
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LVL 22

Expert Comment

by:David Atkin
ID: 40625883
Hi Chris,

If you want absolute clarification then I suggest you contact Microsoft directly and get the response on an email from them - This can't be argued with.

I believe the comments are all on the same wave length.
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Assisted Solution

by:Cris Hanna
Cris Hanna earned 50 total points
ID: 40628060
Chris
You specifically called out User CALs, so I'll see if I can approach this differently.   First of all...you were pointed to the SBS 2011 Licensing FAQ, which specifically says, you are limited to 75 CALS.  That's the 5 built in CALs plus purchasing 70 additional CALs.   "With the User CAL, you purchase a CAL for every user who accesses the server to use services such as file storage or printing, regardless of the number of devices they use for that access. Purchasing a User CAL might make more sense if your company employees need to have roaming access to the corporate network using multiple devices, or from unknown devices, or simply have more devices than users in your organization." http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/about-licensing/client-access-license.aspx

Remember that in SBS 2008 and 2011 the "Administrator" account is disabled and you must create a "SBS ADMIN" account.  So that uses one of the 5 built in CALs.  User CALS are consumed 'permanently' until a user leaves the company because the CAL allows them access on multiple devices.  They are not returned to "the CAL pool".   Service accounts like some AV vendors create and SharePoint create do not count, but in general  when in user CAL mode, you're limited to 75 AD accounts.   As Lee W pointed out, DEVICE CAL would allow up to 75 computers and could be shared by more than 75 AD accounts.   So it's all about the types of CALs you have
SBS-2011-Licensing-FAQ.pdf
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Accepted Solution

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Lee W, MVP earned 250 total points
ID: 40628728
Did you (go back and) read the license agreement?  Seriously?

Your answer is in the very document you (your client) was SUPPOSED to read when you (they) installed the software.

Quoting 3.a.i from the License Agreement for SBS 2008:
You must acquire and assign the appropriate CAL to each device or user that accesses your instances of the server software directly or indirectly.
And pretty darn explicitly, quoting 3.a.ii:
You may assign no more than a total of seventy-five (75) CALs of any type or edition to permit access to the licensed instances of the server software

Look it up:
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/legal/intellectualproperty/useterms/default.aspx
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LVL 17

Author Closing Comment

by:Chris Millard
ID: 40644056
Thanks everyone for their input.

Lee, the whole problem here is that my customer already had SBS 2008 installed by the time I started supporting them, and although they have a record of the number of CALs purchased, they actually did NOT keep the licensing documentation - so it's not something that I can just 'go back and read' as you so kindly suggested.

Of course, finding anything online now that SBS 2008 is no longer available is pretty difficult.
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