I am still on SQL Server 2005 and have no plans to upgrade to 2008/10. I want to run a website that has 1 sql server and up to 5 webservers accessing the sql server. No other devices/machines will be accessing the sql server. I want to buy a SQL Sever 2005 Standard with 5 CALs. I have searched and find that most of the official Microsoft 2005 license information is redirecting to 2008 information. So, I was hoping someone could tell me straight up.

  1. Does a Web server = CAL?
  2. Does the CAL version still allow 4 CPUs (standard)?

Please let me know.


You may find it difficult to purchase SQL 2005 licenses today. That effectively narrows down your options, and is the reason why you are redirected to pages with SQL 2008 info. You will need to purchase a SQL 2008 R2 license, in which case you might as well get the Web edition rather than Standard.

But to answer your specific question ... no, you can't use a single CAL license on a web server and call it legal. Prior to the SQL 2008 Web edition, the normal practice was to purchase a 'processor' license for each populated CPU socket in your physical SQL Server computer.

The SQL Server 2008 R2 Web Edtion and Standard Edition both support up to 4 CPUs regardless of whether you use the per CAL or per processor licensing model.

  • I have read that multiplexing is a no-no for CALs and "application servers". I am guessing that Microsoft sees a webserver as an appliction server. I guess I am stuck paying $5K+ per processor. MySQL sure is looking good about now. – Dave Jul 14 '11 at 21:08
  • I believe the Web Edition license is only in the neighborhood of $3500 per processor. I know ... still a lot of money. See pricing matrix. – SteveM82 Jul 14 '11 at 22:30

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