Client Access Licenses (CALs) in Windows Server 2012

This video will look at the 3 different CALs that are available in Windows Server 2012. These are user, device and RDS. This video looks at how many you need in order to make sure your network is compliant and what these CALs allow you to do and not do.

Download the PDF handout

What is a CAL?
A CAL is a Client Access License which is required for a user or computer to use features on a Windows Server, like file shares or printing. Services like unauthenticated internet access do not require a CAL. If you however use a 3rd party system to authenticate users before they connect to the web server you would need to purchase a CAL.

Types of CALs
There are 3 basic CALs available for Windows Server 2012. There are other features CALs that are available for products like SQL Server, but these are not covered in this video. The CALs covered in this video are user, device and Remote Desktop.
User: Required for a user to access a Windows Server.
Device: Required for a device to access a Windows Server.
Remote Desktop: Required for each user or device that uses Remote Desktop Services. Does not include remote desktop connection for administrator performing administration work on the server. Each server supports 2 remote desktop connection for administration only.

User CAL
A user CAL is associated with a user. Once the user has a CAL, it is associated with the user, and that user is free to access any Windows Server on the network using any device. If you have more users than devices on your network you should purchase user CALs.

Device CALs
Device CALs are associated with a devices like a computer or device like a tablet. Once a device CAL is associated with that device, any number of users can login to that device and access Windows Server. The users that use this device do not require a user CAL. Device CALs are a good choice when you have more users on your network than devices.

Remote Desktop CALs
This CAL is also referred to as an additive CAL as once you add the CAL to Windows Server it activates additional functionality. Unlike the other CALs, remote desktop CALs need to be activated before they can be used. User and Device CALs rely on the administrator to check that they have enough CALs on the network to cover the number of users and devices they have. Functionality on the Windows Server is not gained or lost if the Administrator does not have the correct number of user and device CALs.

Remote Desktop CALs come in 3 different types. These are user, device and external connector.
User: Like a standard User CAL, a remote desktop user CAL allows the one user to connect to the remote desktop server using any device.
Device: A device CAL allows any device to connect up and use Remote Desktop Service. Any user is free to login to this device and use it.
External Connector: This allows multiple users from a 3rd party to connect to a single Remote Desktop Server.

New CALs support older OSs
The CAL that you purchase can be used with any operating system before it. For example, if you are running Windows Server 2008 on your network and need additional CALs, you should purchase Windows Server 2012 CALs as these will work with Windows Server 2008 and will work when you upgrade your Servers to Windows Server 2012. Microsoft also allows CALs to be updated to newer operating systems as required.

“Client Access Licenses and Management Licenses” http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/about-licensing/client-access-license.aspx
“Newegg TV: Microsoft Windows Server 2012 CALs Interview” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dYDeDNIUt0

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