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Can you help me with my software licensing question?

I'm a little bit confused about CAL and Windows Server Licensing.

If I have one Windows Server, and I'm using it's IIS for serving web pages in intranet environment of 100 Client (50 Windows, 50 Linux), and the authentication mode of IIS is set to anonymous, how many CAL do I need? The web page is accessing Oracle server hosted on Solaris.


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marked as duplicate by Iain Jan 27 '12 at 17:28

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

The windows licensing site states:

Windows CALs are not required when access to the server software is unauthenticated and conducted through the Internet.

So, I'm not sure how this applys to Intranet sites, on first thoughts I would think it applied as well, but it depends on what Microsoft's definition of 'the Internet' is. I would call MS and ask.

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+1 for saying call Microsoft and ask. There is no such thing as a Microsoft Licencing expert. – Richard Slater Jan 12 '10 at 10:24
Yeah, well, but the thing is, I don't trust the reseller that was assigned to me. I have a feeling that he's just trying to make as much sales as he can, so I'm looking for a second opinion. I know I'm not supposed to take everything I read from internet forum for granted, but this is the same salesperson that swears that I need Win Server Enterprise for dual quad core processor. – Salamander2007 Jan 13 '10 at 1:04
You can contact Microsoft licencing direct, not a reseller, in the UK the tel number is 0844 800 2400, or email, not sure what it is for the US, butit should be available somewhere – Sam Jan 13 '10 at 9:30
Hi everyone, in response to the statement above "There is no such thing as a Microsoft Licensing Expert" ... please be aware, there are independant companies that specialise in Microsoft Licensing and who are very experienced Microsoft Licensing Experts with no vested interest in selling you software ... only interested in providing you with the true licensing facts!. There is even one in my profile ;-) – Troy Parker Nov 2 '11 at 0:24

The answer to this question can vary depending on what Version and Edition of Windows Server you are using ... however, the rules that I will write below apply to the following;

Windows Server

Version: 2003 R2, 2008, 2008 R2

Edition: Standard or Enterprise

The answer to your question: All 100 devices (or the users who are using those devices) will require a Windows Server CAL.

The reasons why: When you need to work out how many CALs are required for a given scenario, follow the steps below...

STEP 1: Firstly, you should always start with the worst case scenario and assume that all Users or Devices which are accessing the Windows Server software (or getting benefit from its services in any way) require a CAL. That will typically be your answer as any User or Device accessing Windows Server software directly OR INDIRECTLY! requires a CAL.

Here are the actual licence terms as they are written in the October 2011 Microsoft Product Use Rights for Windows Server 2008 R2 (note these terms are almost identical to all other Versions I have listed at the start of this post). The Product Use Rights contains all of the licence terms for all Microsoft software acquired through a Microsoft Volume Licence Agreement (not Full Packaged Product (FPP) or Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)) You can download the Product Use Rights from the following Microsoft URL:

"You must acquire and assign a CAL to each device or user that accesses your instances of the server software directly or indirectly. A hardware partition or blade is considered to be a separate device."

STEP 2: Look for any exceptions which may apply to that rule. The exceptions are listed below and once again extracted from the October 2011 Microsoft Product Use Rights.

"You do not need CALs for: • any user or device that accesses your instances of the server software only through the Internet without being authenticated or otherwise individually identified by the server software or through any other means, • any of your servers licensed for and running instances of the server software, • up to two devices or users to access your instances of the server software only to administer those instances, or • any user or device accessing an instance running in a physical OSE that is used solely to run hardware virtualization software, provide hardware virtualization services, and/or run software to manage and service OSEs on the licensed server. "

So in your scenario, it has been suggested by others that the following exception may be valid..."any user or device that accesses your instances of the server software only through the Internet without being authenticated or otherwise individually identified by the server software or through any other means"

That is not the case! An Intranet, is typically hosted as part of your own network. Users, DO NOT access an Intranet "only through the Internet" and so the exception does not apply!

Please Note: I have been asked by others in the past, "what happens if we configure our environment so that our users are re-directed outside our network and then back in via the Internet to access our Intranet?" The answer is that as they are initially part of your network and being re-directed outside your network, only to come back in via the Internet to access your Intranet that they still would not qualify for the exception. The reason is, they have not accessed the Windows Server software "only through the internet" ... they are accessing it from your internal network ... via the Internet.

One other thing to keep in mind here ... It is likely that those 100 devices you mentioned (The 50 Windows and 50 Linux devices) are already accessing at least one other Windows Server on your network ... and so already require a CAL! So long as each of those devices (or the users who use them) have a CAL assigned to them, they are permitted to access any number of Windows Servers that your company owns (so long as the Version of those Windows Servers are an equal version or lower (prior) Version of Windows that the CAL Version. i.e. A Device with a Windows Server 2003 CAL can access any number of Windows 2003 Servers on your network, as well as any number of Windows 2000 Servers, as well as any number of NT Servers for example ... but can not access any Windows 2008 or 2008 R2 servers are they are a higher Version that the CAL.

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