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Device CALs and User CALs. What’s the deal?

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Device CALs and User CALs. What’s the deal?

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There have been several questions about User CALs and Device CALs recently, so I thought I would post about these two options to try and provide some clarity and resources for you to use.

1)     A CAL (Client Access License) gives a physical User or physical Device the right to access and use a Microsoft Server product that you have a license for.  Your choice of purchasing User CALs or Device CALs determines if you are licensing for physical Users or Devices.

2)     If you read my, “How many CALs does John Smith need?” post, I walk through an expanded explanation on how physical Users are different than user accounts, and it is an important distinction. 

3)     I also cover several CAL questions in “The 30 in 30,” such as:

a.     Question #2: If a person has multiple login names or email addresses, do they need a CAL for each?

b.    Question #3: Do printers require a CAL?

c.     Question #11: Does a member server in an SBS domain itself require a CAL?

d.    Question #12: Are there different SBS 2003 CALs for R2?

e.     Question #23: Are the 5 CALs that come with an SBS Server User CALs or Device CALs?

f.     Question #31: What is the difference between User and Device CALs?

4)     When you purchase additional CALs for your server, you purchase either User CALs or Device CALs.

5)     There are only two times when you can convert User CALs to Device CALs or vice versa:

a.     If you have Software Assurance on your CALs, when you renew your Software Assurance coverage, you could renew for the other type of CAL instead to convert.  For instance, if you had a (5) pack of SBS Device CALs with Software Assurance and your Software Assurance was coming up for renewal, you could purchase the SBS User CAL (5) pack SA SKU to renew your SBS CALs SA as User CALs and they could now be used as User CALs instead of Device CALs.

b.    If you have a Company-wide CAL Agreement, such as the Small Business Desktop Advantage, you can change between User CALs and Device CALs throughout the term of your Agreement.

c.     If you do not have Software Assurance on your CALs (so you can switch on renewal) and you do not have a Company-wide CAL Agreement, such as the Small Business Desktop Advantage, then the CALs you purchase are the ones you own and the only way to switch if to buy the other kind.  So be sure to have the conversation with your clients about if User or Device CALs are best for them and talk with them about SA on the CALs and the benefits of having a Company-wide Agreement like the Small Business Desktop Advantage.

6)     I have a bunch of other SBS and CAL questions & answers listed in my, “SBS On Ramp Session 3: Understanding SBS 2003, Sales Options and Licensing - Questions and Answers” post as well.

7)     Yes, if you purchase an OEM Server license, you can add Volume Licensing CALs to it.  Remember, you could also purchase your server license through Volume Licensing instead of OEM as well.  If for some reason you are buying retail box server licenses, you should take a look at:

a.     Why would I order part# T72-00020? (SBS 2003 Server Retail Box)

b.    Part #2 of: Why would I order part# T72-00020? (SBS 2003 Server Retail Box)

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UPDATE:
As of October, 2008, platform options (such as the Small Business Desktop Advantage) are now handled through the “Build Your Own Platform” model.  Here is the post that explains this new option for you.
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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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