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CAL's, SBS 2008, adding new machines, user/pc limits? etc etc

Posted on 2016-07-27
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Last Modified: 2016-09-09
For whatever reason we have an SBS 2008 se but only have about 50 of our Windows PCs on the domain.  We have about 70 more Windows PCs that are not on the domain.  I was thinking it had something to do with not wanting to buy  CAL's... but I think I heard somewhere that if  a PC has a Windows 7 Pro license than that basically includes the CAL... is that right?

 I think they are is also a thing about how SBS 2008  is only meant for up to a certain number of users .... But maybe something newly actually kind of low like 75.... I'm not sure if this is a hard limit or if it just had to do with what they expected a server to be able to handle .  (Though it seems like the latter would be based completely on the server specs not the version of Windows )

Anyway, long story short I'm trying to figure out if I can join the rest of the  PCs to the domain....   one huge  thing I think we have on our side is the fact that 50-70  of these PCs are  call center agent PCs.... They don't have any office software on them...  They don't access any file sharers....  and they can all be logged into with a single user.  (agents just use putty/ssh or a web browser to access what they need to do calling).   Also we don't use exchange anymore... We use Google for email.... So really at this point the SBS server is just a domain server, file server, DNS and DHCP.  

what do people think will I have any problems?   is it correct that Windows 7 Pro includes a CAL?    Do I need to worry about number of users or number of PC limits in SBS 2008?


As far as hardware goes the server itself was recently analyzed and even at peak hours it's running like 5% CPU, 100 iops, and it has 48GB of RAM which is way more than it really needs.  So the hardware can definitely handle WAY more load.
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Question by:Xetroximyn
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Cliff Galiher earned 250 total points
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No, client OSes do not "include" server CALs.

And yes, you legally need to care about user and device limits. If licensing per user, Microsoft requires a user CAL for each real person. Even if they all sign in with a generic account. Or a device CAL FOR EVERY UNIQIE DEVICE (including printers, phones, etch) if licensing per device.

Given tour description, you are already in an illegal state and have outgrown SBS. I'd recommend just buying 2012 R2 Standard w/  CALs and migrating since you don't use exchange.

No licensing advice in a forum like this is legally binding. If you break the law, even unknowingly, that's on you. "I read it on the internet" will not be a valid defense.
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by:Adam Brown
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As was mentioned, no version of Windows desktop OS includes a CAL.

It's important to note, though, that CALs can be "consumed" (there is no technical enforcement of CALs...they are just paper) by *either* users *or* devices (or a combination). What that means is you can have as many computers added to the domain as you want, as long as you have enough CALs to cover the number of actual people who use all of the computers. So if you have 150 computers on the domain and only 50 users, you only need 50 CALs. The reverse is also true. If you have 50 computers and 150 users, you still only need 50 CALs.

The SBS server license will can only be "Valid" with up to 75 users or devices that access the server. An important thing to note here is that even if your computers are not joined to the domain, if people are accessing the SBS server's services from those computers, you are still required to maintain CALs for those computers or users (whichever results in the lowest number of CALs).

For your situation, having 50-70 PCs that are not on the domain and not accessing the server, you don't need CALs for them *as long as they are not on the domain*. If you add the computers to the domain, you will need to migrate to a standard version of Windows Server and purchase new CALs to support it. If those computers that aren't on the domain are using DHCP/DNS on the server, you *might* need a CAL for them, though. I am uncertain on that one, and I think only an MS licensing auditor would know the answer about whether just DNS and DHCP use constitutes a need for CALs.

You have a complex licensing scenario that is not likely to be adequately addressed by anyone on EE, because MS licensing is, in short, crazy stupid. I would not be willing to say that you are not properly licensed, because I am not an MS licensing expert. If you only have 50 computers joined to the domain out of 120, there's a pretty good chance that you are okay from a licensing standpoint, but it depends on which services provided by MS Server require a CAL and which services are being used by all of the computers on the network.

Edit: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/volume-licensing/2014/03/10/licensing-how-to-when-do-i-need-a-client-access-license-cal/ has a great explanation of a lot of stuff, and answers the question about DHCP and DNS. If those 50-70 computers get IP addresses from the SBS server's DHCP or use it for DNS, they need CALs.
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by:Xetroximyn
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And yes, you legally need to care about user and device limits.
Perhaps I was unclear - we have no intention of trying to cheat microsoft... my question is about technical limits.  

Given tour description, you are already in an illegal state
How so?  It is of great concern to me if we are in an illegal state, but I don't think we are.  Perhaps I explained unclearly.  Currently all those PC's that have the same login (We are a call center, they are the agent PC's)... NONE of those are on the domain.  They are just plain old win7 pro PC's being used in our business.  

The PC's attached to the domain are administrative employees (HR, accounting, project managers, programmers, quality control, etc). All these people have unique user ID's and use a single PC.  

Please let me know if after this clarification you still think we are in an illegal state.  

Thanks in advance!
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by:Cliff Galiher
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"currently all PCs have the same login" ...doesnt matter, for reasons explained above. Logins don't trigger CALs, actual users /devices do.

As to machines not being on the domain, again...doesnt matter. If the machine is talking to the server *in any way* then a CAL is required. If the server has files for the call center software. Needs a CAL. If the work station uses the SBS server for DNS for internet access....needs a CAL. If it gets a DHCP address...needs a CAL.

I see admins configure annoy lis shares or printers so the machine doesn't need to be "on the domain" ...but that doesn't get rid of the CAL requirements.

If these 70 workstations all have static IPs and DNS from a router/public s3ervice, and do t talk to SBS for any reason, then yes, you may be legal. But the "I thought they mightve done it to avoid CALs" (paraphrasing your initial statement) didn't make it sound that way.

No, I didn't mean to sound like you were trying to rip off Microsoft. That's why I threw in the "even unknowingly" clause. If those workstations talk to SBS *at all* then an SBS CAL is needed.
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by:Xetroximyn
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Thanks... good to know... Seems a bit absurd to me that MS can't have thier server tell me if I am breaking licensing.... Makes me want to just get rid of the domain server we have....  RHEL plans to have IPA able to act as an AD server soon.... MS will probably lose a lot of money.... I'm sure we will go that route... we still have a couple years on our current SBS server.  after that I think we will just go with no MS.

BTW - Luckily, most PC's do have DHCP and DNS via routers, and our production (we are a call center) runs on redhat, so thats what the agent PC's are connecting to.  :-)
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by:Seth Simmons
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This question has been classified as abandoned and is closed as part of the Cleanup Program. See the recommendation for more details.
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