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Can you help me with my software licensing question?

Can we please get a straightforward answer for a simple environment with CALs and how many need to be purchased?

Environment: 4 x Windows Server 2008 + 40 users = How many CALs?

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marked as duplicate by Iain Jan 28 '12 at 20:35

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

up vote 3 down vote accepted

While Evvan Anderson's answer would seem appropriate - and may well be correct - I seriously doubt any licensing enforcement authority will accept "I asked on and this is what they told me" as a valid excuse for license violations. I would strongly recommend contacting Microsoft Licensing and Pre-Sales Support and asking them.

(I'll further add that the information he posted SOUNDS correct, but considering the fines involved, it's better to make a phone call).

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You can get by with 40 Windows Server 2003 user CALs. A Windows Server 2008 user CAL permits a single distinct person to use any number of devices to access all the Windows Server 2008 computers in the organization.

Some good FAQs for W2K8 are at:

More info is at:

In my opinion, Microsoft makes it purposefully difficult to license their products. (I don't understand why, but that's what it sure feels like.)

Interestingly, the 1st FAQ I posted makes an assertion that CALs are needed for devices that are clients of the DHCP server. I'd never heard that one before. I daresay many compaies are using Windows Server to provide DHCP to devices like printers, wireless access points, and other embedded devices that have never been accounted as "Windows clients" before. Sounds like a great reason to start using ISC DHCPd on Linux to me.

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:) Linux to the rescue :) From what I have read out in internet land (getting through the confusing crap on the subject), we should just get CAL's based on Per User/Device? If we have 40 users and 40 CAL's, then if Microsoft goons come knocking on our door I will feel safe... – The Woo Sep 23 '09 at 0:13

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