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I have the following servers:


  • 2 x web servers (content delivery)
  • 1 x cms server
  • 2 x database servers (SQL)


  • 1 x web server (content delivery + cms)
  • 1 x database server (SQL)

I'm a bit confused with the SQL server 2012's User CAL licensing concept. Now that I have CMS and websites that serve contents to public users, does that mean I have to get a User CAL for each of my website / CMS users?? Is this true? I understand that SQL doesn't require User CAL if I get the per-processor/per-core license, but that costs a lot more...In fact I only need 1 sys admin account and 2-3 database users for the websites and CMS.

For win server 2012 I believe we don't need to worry much about User CAL because web edition allows us to use the web server to serve public users. So, basically we just need to purchase Win Server 2012 with 5-User CAL (for management purposes). Please correct me if im wrong..

I need expert's advice on this, tips to save cost, etc.


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marked as duplicate by TomTom, Dave M, mdpc, Nathan C, TheCleaner Oct 9 '13 at 16:45

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

We dont do licensing here.

But in general - CAL does not work on the internet. YOu need one for every VISITOR. THis is why you have alternative licensing models available - which you need to work through and find the right one.

The reason core / processor licenses cost more is - they do NOT cost more. They save you from buying a CAL for every dude coming along. And seriously, that adds up VERY fast.

Win Server does not need CAL - you only need a CAL when you identify a user to windows, and as logn as you dont use the windows integrated usre management in your CMS for end users (not to isolate websites internally) CAL are not needed.

Generally, if that is a product you offer, do not buy any licenses - make a SPLA (Service Provider License Agreement) and rent them on a monthly basis from Microsoft- not more expensve, no initial investment and you can scale up and down as needed.

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