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Can you help me with my software licensing question?

I've got a product which I would like to start marketing as a SaaS product - I'm just a bit at a loss when it comes to licensing.

The product requires .NET web services, ASP.NET, and runs off of a SQL Server DB. I looked into using MySQL and Mono, but it all seems a bit complicated to migrate as the product is half way through production.

What licenses will I need to provide this to a customer as a service, hosted on my server in a data centre. I had a look at SPLA, but it is unclear whether this is the only way, or if I can buy a license of windows 2008 and SQL Server Enterprise, and use that to host the software.

I am a MS Partner for Development, so all's good that end - just doing the research before hanging myself out there!

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marked as duplicate by Scott Pack, Iain Feb 12 '12 at 16:38

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1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

If your application authenticates users (so you are able to uniquely identified a user) then you need to comply with microsoft licencing in this area which means A CAL for every user, if and only if, all of your users are internal to the company or if they are external users, you can go down to routes:

  • Use Windows Server Web Edition - This provides unlimited connections for authenticated users
  • Buy a Windows External Connector Licence - Again unlimited authenticated connections, but can be used on any version of the server.

I'm assuming here you are using SQL to do your authentiation, if you used Active Directory then it's different. By far the cheapest option here is to use Web Edition.

Before anyone here starts talking about only needing to deal with authentication licences if you are using Window's authentication mechanisms, that used to be the case, however the new licence terms state, any authentication method, including using SQL for user account storage, requires the correct licensing. I wasn't aware of this until I had to deal with it recently.

This is how MS phrase it:

A Windows Server 2008 Client Access License (CAL) must be purchased for every user or device that accesses or uses the Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 server software, except under the following circumstances:

  • If the instances of the server software are accessed only through the Internet, without access being authenticated or otherwise individually identified by the server software or through any other means
  • If the server software being accessed is Windows Web Server 2008, Windows Web Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008 Foundation, or Windows Server 2008 R2 Foundation
  • If external users are accessing the instances of the server software and a Windows Server 2008 External Connector license for each server being accessed has been acquired

Se here for more detials

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