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Can you help me with my software licensing question?

For web applications I would like to run a JBoss AS on a 64 Bit Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard system. Does the Microsoft server license allow external users to connect to this server without a CAL?

From http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/licensing-r2.aspx

"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"

So this sounds like anonymous browsing on a web page served by JBoss is an exception, but if users access web pages which requires some kind of log in / password, a CAL is required.

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marked as duplicate by Iain Jan 27 '12 at 22:59

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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

We can't make a definitive call. No one but Microsoft can do that, if you decide to go for them for the answer. Having said that, is a relevant section of the EULA that might help you make up your mind.

From 3.a.i:

You must acquire and assign the appropriate 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. - 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.

The EULA is purposefully written to be broad and non-specific. It gives Microsoft the most room to argue and interpret. If you're in doubt, purchase CALs.

Edit:

Zow. You just edited your question and added the same thing I said here. >smile<

Personally, if there were any authentication of any type as part of the application being hosted by the server I'd assume that CALs are needed.

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3  
Regarding authentication - strictly Windows/AD authentication. E.g. you don't have to purchase CALs if your web site is doing some sort of database authentication. –  Doug Luxem Jun 17 '11 at 14:55
    
@Doug Luxem: I don't read anything in the license agreement that says that. I'd be cautious and assume that any authentication requires CALs. In the end Microsoft has left themselves enough room to argue whatever they want. –  Evan Anderson Jun 18 '11 at 14:30
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If users are individually identified in any way at all then a Windows Server CAL is required. Individually identified is not restricted to Windows Server authentication. If a user is individually identified through any means at all then a Windows Server CAL is required. The term "or through any other means" was added to the licence terms for Windows Server when Microsoft launched the R2 version of Windows Server 2003 and these terms were intended to clarify the fact that individually identified does not relate only to Windows Server authentication.

Microsoft makes available a licence called a Windows Server External Connector licence. The Windows Server External Connector licence permits an unlimited number of non-employees to access the Windows Server without needing a CAL.

If your server environment is open to the general public you have no other option than to acquire a Windows Server External Connector Licence as it is not possible to acquire a CAL for each potential person in the world who could access your server. If you have restricted access to your server to a specific group of users then you should determine the breakeven price point between acquiring CALs instead of a Windows Server External Connector Licence.

Please note, if you decide to acquire a Windows Server External Connector licence instead of CALs you will need one for each physical server that forms part of your web solution. i.e if you have multiple physical servers that make up the solution then each physical server will require one of these licenses.

You should also be aware that the Web Edition operating system is typically cheaper than the Standard Edition operating system and you do not require CALs or an External Connector Licence to allow users to access it. There are however technical differences between the two operating systems and some other licensing restrictions that may make Standard Edition the only viable option but it can be worth looking into.

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+1 for highly informative. The Microsoft licensing FAQ tells, in short, that if a user has a username in the system, you need a CAL for him/her. So, if you have a Mantis portal running on Apache with mysql database, you need either CALs for Mantis users or External Connector license (if they're not working on the grounds) for Windows. If it's running on MS SQL database, you need CALs for SQL server too. –  Hubert Kario Aug 1 '11 at 7:52
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