FAQs on the correct licensing of Windows Server with client access licenses
Windows Server can be used in all versions from 2008 onwards in the Standard or, depending on the version, also in Data Center Editions with Server Licenses in addition to Core- or Processor-based licensing, whereby additional Client Access Licenses for users are required. The following FAQs explain how the Microsoft licensing model works and what possibilities CALs offer here.
How does the Microsoft licensing system work?
All versions of Windows Server are available in different editions, which - to put it simply - differ in the scope of services and functions, and especially in their scalability. The basis of Microsoft's licensing system is the number of physical or virtual servers or the number of employees and devices that access the server services - depending on whether you choose core- or server/CAL-based licensing.
What is the difference between Core Licensing and Server/CALs?
In the case of core-based licensing from Windows Server 2012 onwards, and also in the case of processor-based licensing up to version 2008, the number of server licenses required depends on the performance of the server. However, many smaller companies or organizations have a server with a much lower performance, to which the licensing via cores has no practical relationship.
Licensing per server/CALs offers an alternative here, as it primarily takes into account the number of users or devices that use the server functions; it also applies (depending on the version) to a smaller number of virtual servers.
When are server/client access licenses for Windows Server more advantageous?
As already mentioned above, Microsoft offers the choice between core-based and CAL-based licensing in addition to the Datacenter Edition for older Windows Server versions, which are usually the only ones available for the Standard.
This CAL-based licensing gives smaller companies using a corporate server the ability to use Windows server software at a lower cost.
This is especially the case if the number of employees is smaller or the server capacity would be too small for core-based licensing. Here, licensing with access-based licenses is a more economical way to take advantage of the benefits of Windows Server, since only as many client access licenses need to be purchased for the server license as there are employees who actually use Windows Server.
What are the specifics of server licensing with CALs?
Microsoft's licensing model based on Client Access Licenses first requires the licensing of a server with a corresponding server license version 2008 to 2019. This server software includes the access of up to two users or devices exclusively for pure administration tasks. However, administrators are not allowed to use it for other activities, such as writing and reading e-mails - for this they need a user or device CAL just like any normal employee.
In the server CAL model, Microsoft license management therefore separates between the licensing of a server and that of individual users or devices. Only the respective CAL entitles them to use the Windows server and the services it contains. The client access license thus contains pure access rights in a client/server environment, but without the prior installation of software.
Are CALs compatible with different versions of Windows Server?
In principle, CALs are always version-bound, i.e. they must always have at least the same or a higher version number than the corresponding server license. For example, users with a CAL for Windows Server 2012 R2 can use it primarily to access the corresponding licensed server. In addition, they are backwards compatible - i.e. with a CAL for 2012 R2 they can also use all older server versions, i.e. 2012, 2008 R2 and 2008 (downgrade).
On the other hand, it is not possible to access a server licensed with Windows 2019, but the corresponding CAL (upgrade) must be purchased.
An exception to this rule is the CALs for Windows Server 2012, which allows you to use a server licensed with the subsequent 2012 R2 release. However, Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 are two different versions, and the 2008 CAL does not allow access to the newer 2008 R2 server version.
What types of CALs are available for Windows?
A client access license is always a single license, which entitles either a single user - called User CAL - to use the Windows server, or a single Windows end device - Device CAL. Once a user or device has been licensed, it is normally not possible to transfer it to other employees or computers. This procedure would correspond to the other CAL type. Similarly, access to a server other than the company's own is also impossible. This limitation also has the advantage of greater data security, as it excludes access by other users or devices.
What are the differences between User CAL and Device CAL?
In principle, client access licenses for users and for end devices do not differ in terms of the range of functions when using Windows Server. User and Device CAL differ rather in the advantages that the respective CAL type offers in terms of usage. These benefits are also determined by the ratio between the number of users and the number of computers or Windows devices and the frequency with which server services and data are accessed. This can also vary from department to department in a company.
What are the advantages of a Device CAL?
The device-based license is of practical as well as economic advantage in a working environment, especially when different employees share a single terminal device - whether PC or laptop etc. - e.g. because they do not constantly access Windows Server services. Here it would be too uneconomical to equip each person with their own User CAL.
Especially in smaller companies, where, for example, shift work is performed, a Device CAL is completely sufficient. The server can be accessed either locally, at the workstation, or even from on the road, if it is a mobile device.
What are the key benefits of a User CAL?
Since the user license is personal, a user is neither bound to a specific terminal nor to a fixed location when accessing the site, as long as access is only ever alternately from a single device. It also plays a role if an employee wants to access the Windows server permanently. Compared to the device-dependent CAL, the User CAL therefore offers the advantage that the user can use a foreign laptop etc. - for example at the customer's or at another location - to access data and services of the Windows in his own company. Therefore, the User CAL is also practical in the home office, as one can have access to all important data without being dependent on a specific computer.
Device CAL or User CAL - which access license for which company structure?
Before you make a purchase decision to license with CALs, you should be aware of which type of CAL is best suited to use the services of Windows Server in your company. The choice between two different CALs also includes the option of combining Device CALs and User CALs in any way you like; this allows for particularly flexible rights management of server services. This is because in many working environments, homogeneous use of Windows Server - either with CALs for users or for devices - is rather the exception.
All important points for server/CAL licensing of Windows Server at a glance
The following key points summarize everything you should know about the Server License plus Client Access Licenses licensing model before purchasing CALs for Windows Server:
The basis of the server/CAL licensing of Windows Server is first the licensing of the server. The server license only includes administrative rights for administrators, not user rights for employees.
2. each employee needs a separate client access license to use the Windows server functions and services.
3. this CAL can be assigned either as a user CAL for an individual or as a device CAL for a single end device - and this (without Software Assurance) only once in each case
4. a CAL can therefore not be used by another person (User CAL) or another terminal (Device CAL) afterwards
4. the choice between Device CAL and User CAL also excludes a change of usage (from User CAL to Device CAL and vice versa).
5 However, it is possible to use User CALs and Device CALs in combination for a Windows Server.
The Client Access License version must be at least the same as the Server License version, or a higher or newer server version. A downgrade to a lower Windows is permitted - e.g. a CAL for Windows Server 2019 is also valid for Windows Server 2012; an upgrade, however, is excluded.
7 The versions Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 are an exception: here the mutual use of the server services with a 2012 or 2012 R2 CAL is permitted.
For which Windows Server editions are CALs available from Wiresoft?
The following list gives you a quick overview which CALs you can find in the Wiresoft Online-Shop as single licenses - in addition to the corresponding server licenses:
Again, it should be noted that Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 are based on different operating systems, so it is not possible to use 2008 R2 with a CAL for Windows Server 2008, unlike Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2, which have no similar limitation.
Combine purchase and consulting for Windows Server CALs with Wiresoft
In the online shop of Wiresoft you will find all components for your complete licensing of Windows Server with server licenses plus client access licenses for the versions 2008 to 2019 - and at a particularly favourable price! With the practical single licenses you arrange the use of Windows not only tailor-made - according to the number of your employees or computers - but also economically.
With all our software products you also benefit from the reduced price compared to the more expensive original price. Because our software offer consists of original, unused Microsoft programs and access licenses from European companies that do not need them - are therefore fully-fledged and 100% usable - without any restrictions.
By purchasing Microsoft software and CALs from Wiresoft you are always on the safe side - and you are welcome to make use of our competent advice. Therefore, please contact us with any questions about your licensing needs for CALs simply by phone, e-mail or chat.