The Microsoft Licensing System
With the release of the server products Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012/2012 R2 and SQL Server 2012/2014, Microsoft has also changed its licensing model. Since then, Microsoft has differentiated these and other server software products between licensing by cores (which requires no additional access licenses) and licensing by server license plus access licenses. Their need and type - User CAL or Device CAL - is defined by the number of users or end devices that are to be authorized for access. The respective licensing form is linked to the scope of features and their scaling, which are available with the respective Windows Server version.
The Microsoft Server versions are usually available in different editions to meet the different needs of companies and organizations in terms of performance and scope. When purchasing the Standard a server software, Microsoft offers the option of server/CAL licensing in addition to core licensing (exceptions are CALs for the Windows Server versions from 2016 onwards, where licensing with CALs is also available in the data center edition).
This type of licensing with access-based licenses is especially for smaller companies, which usually only use the standard/basic functions of a server version, much cheaper than licensing by cores, which uses the higher computing power of machines as a basis for calculating the licensing requirement.
Using Microsoft server programs with a User CAL or Device CAL
A CAL is a single license, which grants the authorized user (User CAL) or end device (Device CAL) access to the Windows server. The access license cannot be transferred to another user or device. In this way, all other devices or users who do not have the corresponding access license are denied the use of the server services. This restriction means greater security for a company, as it prevents misuse of the CALs and protects critical data from both unauthorized employees and unauthorized third-party access.
With a Client Access License for a particular server version of a program, the device or user licensed with it can access not only this version, but also older versions of the same program. In contrast, it is not possible to access a higher version. Thus, for example, an employee with an access license for
Microsoft's Client Access License differentiates between two types of CALs: a license for a specific user (User CAL) and a license for a specific end device (Device CAL). It is not possible to use a User CAL as a Device CAL and vice versa. On the other hand, it is possible to combine both types of access licenses if both types of use are available in a company.
The differentiation between licensing of end device and of user offers several advantages. This is because not every company has the same workstations or workflows: For some projects, employees share one and the same computer, e.g. in shifts, while in other workflows a single employee regularly uses different end devices to access the server.
Thus, the distinction between CALs for end devices and for users offers an individual, flexible and needs-based rights management for server access in a company.
The decision for one or both types of access licenses can be determined by the factors described in detail below. As already mentioned, a combination of Device CALs and User CALs may be the best way to meet the licensing needs of a company.
Microsoft User CAL
Each User CAL for a correspondingly licensed Windows server program only authorizes one specific user to access the server and to use the associated functions. The user license is not bound to a specific device, i.e. the user is entitled to use his CAL from different Windows devices to use the server features available in the edition - but always alternately only from a single device. This user access license cannot be transferred to another user.
A User CAL offers the advantage over the device-dependent CAL that it is not locally bound. This means that it can be used, for example, once by a stationary PC in a company to access the server, OR alternately by another terminal device (for example, a laptop or tablet that uses Windows as its operating system). The user with access rights can also use it while on the road or in the home office, as long as he has access to the Internet. User CAL thus enables particularly flexible and mobile use of the server services.
Microsoft Device CAL
Microsoft Device CAL, on the other hand, is exclusively device-related licensing. A precisely defined individual end device is thus granted access rights for the Windows server. The type of device can be chosen freely as long as it has the prerequisites to execute Windows. Thus, it can be a stationary PC OR a laptop or tablet, regardless of whether it is used at a workstation in a company or organization, or mobile. The device CAL cannot be transferred from one mobile device to another.
The device access license is particularly practical if it allows a single computer at a workstation to be used by different employees, for example, project-related or in shift work. This means that not everyone who is allowed to access the server services and data via this computer needs a separate access license.
Device CAL or User CAL - which is the better solution?
The type of license - Device CAL or User CAL - is the most favorable for a company, depending on the predominant use of server services. If most employees mainly share one workstation and alternately access a Windows server, a Device CAL is the better alternative.
If, on the other hand, individual employees constantly access a Microsoft-licensed server, alternating between different devices or locations - at the workstation in the company and on the road, at another location or in the home office - then the user access license is more advantageous.
It may therefore be worthwhile to combine both types of access licenses to make the most effective use of Windows Server services in an organization. As already mentioned, it is not allowed or possible to use a User CAL as a Device CAL, or vice versa. It is also not possible to split a license on several servers, for example on two servers with single processors.
Advantages of purchasing Microsoft access licenses with Wiresoft
If you have any questions about your access license needs, please contact us by phone, email or chat. We will be happy to advise you on which licensing form or combination of Device CALs andUser CALs is most cost-effective for your company. Wiresoft offers both Client Access licensing forms for all subsequent Microsoft Server programs, also available in the current and earlier versions:
Increase efficiency and productivity in your company with CALs
By optimally equipping your company with access licenses, you not only reduce relevant costs, but also increase productivity within the company: In addition to purchasing individual CALs, you can also purchase licenses in bundles and combine server editions, for example the Standard or Enterprise version.
Advantages of used CALs from Wiresoft
By purchasing used Microsoft access licenses from Wiresoft, you are opting for high-quality software that costs considerably less than equivalent new CALs. The legality of using used CALs from Wiresoft is guaranteed! AllMicrosoft licences available from us come from European companies, are original Microsoft products and offer the full range of functions, they therefore also entitle you to a downgrade if you use previous versions of the respective software in your company.
With CALs from the licensing expert Wiresoft, you can benefit from all the advantages of secure and legal software products, because Wiresoft is a certified reseller and has set itself the goal of meeting the highest standards in quality assurance. In addition to access licenses for Windows servers, we also offer CALs for SQL servers for data management and information analysis in business intelligence. CALs for Windows Exchange Server are also available, as well as for Remote Desktop Services - the state-of-the-art software for secure communication between remote users and connections to desktops based on virtual computers. You will also find a large selection of other Microsoft software products in different versions and editions - used quality software at reasonable prices.
Benefit from a comprehensive professional and personal consultation from Wiresoft.