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Can you help me with my software licensing issue?

This would seem an easy enough question, but I wasn't able to find any definite answer anywhere.

If I'm running SQL Server 2008 R2 on Windows Server 2008 R2, I need proper licenses for SQL Server; that's fine. It could be per processor, per user... doesn't matter. Let's just assume SQL Server is properly licensed.

If the server is only providing database services (it's not a domain controller, nor a web server, it doesn't even share a single folder), do I need Windows Server CALs too?

I would assume not, because that just wouldn't make much sense... but questions like this one seem to imply a completely different scenario.

Before someone feels compelled to close this question and send me here: I'm not concerned about costs, the actual number of licenses to buy, or the right licensing program to use for my company; I just want a straight answer to the question "do I need Windows Server CALs for a dedicated database server?".

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marked as duplicate by Mark Henderson May 1 '12 at 10:43

This question was marked as an exact duplicate of an existing question.

+1 for a great question. I would agree that if you're not accessing file/print/AD/whatever on that server, then you won't need a CAL – Chris McKeown May 1 '12 at 10:32
@Mark, did you actually read my question, or did you simply read "licensing" and thought "heck, I need to close this as quickly as possible"?!? – Massimo May 1 '12 at 10:52
@massimo, yes I read it. And the last paragraph pretty much sums it up; it's still a question about "do I need x license to do y", which unfortunately is a question topic that has been off topic here for years. From the question you asked not to be linked to: What CALs do I need to be properly licensed. If you have a disagreement feel free to open a question on – Mark Henderson May 1 '12 at 11:40

5-second Google:

In short:

  • if SQL Server is licensed per-core, no CALs are required.
  • if SQL Server is licensed per-user, you need both SQL Server Licenses and CALs.

At least, that's how I read it :)

share|improve this answer
That's not what is written there... that pages describes the available licensing models for various Microsoft products, but doesn't say anything at all about the relationships between them. – Massimo May 1 '12 at 10:51
Refer to the first tab for those details. That explains that the checkboxes on tab #2 are either/or. – adaptr May 1 '12 at 11:12
@adaptr SQL Server CAL != Windows Server CAL. If I understand Massimo correctly, he's asking whether or not you need a Windows Server CAL if you're exclusively using the SQL Services and nothing else. – Chris McKeown May 1 '12 at 11:17
I understood that, and while the page is not unambiguously clear, it does talk about Windows Server Client CALs. – adaptr May 1 '12 at 11:22

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