Microsoft Senior Sales Excellence Manager - Eric Ligman

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How many CALs does John Smith need?

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How many CALs does John Smith need?

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A few weeks back, I built a slide now referred to by several as the “John Smith” slide to help explain how User CALs work and to dispel some misconceptions out there (this slide was included in my SBS Licensing session that you can view online).  Since this has come up several times, I thought I would share it here with the explanation.  First, here is the slide:



(click on image for full size) 


So the question that seems to come up is, if you have an SBS User CAL, what is a User and how do log-in names work?


A User is a physical person.  In my slide, it is the physical person pictured there that I named John Smith.  John Smith the person has the SBS User CAL associated with him and he as a person can use that SBS User CAL to access the SBS Server from any device.  So as you can see in the slide, John Smith logs in from 5 different PCs.  How does that affect the number of CALs he needs?  How many physical Users is John Smith?  One.  As such, John Smith is covered by his one User CAL.


Well, what if John Smith has a “split personality” and logs in to the SBS Server using several different log-in names?  (Examples listed on my slide include: Jsmith, Johns, John_Smith, J.smith, John.Smith, Sales1, and Sales2)  How does that affect the number of CALs he needs?  How many physical Users is John Smith?  One.  As such, John Smith is still covered by his one User CAL.


So, User CALs are associated with a PHYSICAL USER.  They are not shared by Users, each User must have their own User CAL.  Once a User has their own User CAL, it does not matter how many machines they log in from or how many different log in names they use.  They are still one physical User and covered by the one User CAL.


Now, if John Smith the physical User were to log in from a device and walk away, can Sally Sue, a different physical User use that device?  Not unless Sally Sue has her own User CAL because John Smith’s User CAL belongs to him and cannot be used by another User.  So, if you choose to use User CALs, you need one per physical User.


Thank you and have a wonderful day,


Eric Ligman
Microsoft US Senior Manager
Small Business Community Engagement
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights

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