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This is a fairly simple licensing question that has me confused.

We have 3 servers: SERVER1,SERVER2,SERVER3 running on Windows Server 2003.

We have 25 users.

Do I need to buy 75 user licenses for the users to access all the servers or can I get by with 25?

If I then upgrade 1 server to Windows Server 2008, do I need to buy a new set of user licenses. If I then upgrade the other 2, do I then need to buy 2 more sets of user licenses?

Sorry for the confusion!

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closed as too localized by jscott, RobM, GregD, Zypher Dec 21 '10 at 13:25

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Talk to your Microsoft rep. They are the only ones who will be able to provide accurate information. – jscott Dec 21 '10 at 13:01
Well, It's all about CALS. What type of workstation? Windows XP includes a Devide CAL for each original installation. That means that you will need no aditional CALS if all are XP (regadless of users), if the Servers are configured by "Device" CAL. IF you configure them to "USer" CAL, then you only need 25 (one for each user) to access to the 3 servers. In any case... I'm quite possitive than you dont need 75 :) – Carlos Garcia Dec 21 '10 at 13:13
@Carlos - This is precisely why licensing questions should be closed out on ServerFault. Windows XP does NOT include CALs of any kind and must be purchased. There is simply too much erroneous information floating around out there and could cause some serious issues for people that listen to that same information. – GregD Dec 21 '10 at 13:24
@GregD-I don't know if it's necessarily erroneous, but rather just plain confusing, since MS likes changing their terms per company and per (business) client AND they've changed terms over the years so what worked in one case didn't work a year later. Basically MS licensing boiled down to "whatever we say when you call us," so the only answer is "call your rep, bargain them down if you are purchasing enough." Licensing confusion and arbitrary terms is the biggest non-technical reason I've hated Windows. – Bart Silverstrim Dec 21 '10 at 13:44
@user64300 No need to apologize for the confusion. It's Microsoft that should be apologizing... – GregD Dec 21 '10 at 13:58

There are per user/device licenses which allow that user or device access to how ever many servers you have and you have per server licenses which are a single (expensive) license which allows unlimited users to that one server. You would need a per server license for every server.

Then the upgrade to 2008 would require you to rebuy every CAL for every user/device which will access the 2k8 server.

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Check this url: – Carlos Garcia Dec 23 '10 at 13:00
  1. CAL's can be assigned to workstations which allow then to access as many windows servers as there are. Check the CAL definition.
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