The difference between Per Seat and Per Server licensing?

By dhegner ·
I apologize for my ignorance of the Microsoft licensing environment. I recently took over a small shop and I need to figure out how we're set for licenses. I have always managed much larger shops and used the Per Server option when setting up new servers. In this shop I have inherited two servers already set for Per Seat. I have scowered the internet for information on the difference between the two paths and I have found no information that tells me the difference, only how to set up each path. However, I think I have figured it out and I would like some-one to confirm.

If a server is set up for Per Server licensing CALS are added via the licensing utility and when those CALS are used up no more users may attach.

If a server is set up for Per Seat licensing then the owner of the server is on the honor system and must have a purchased license for each user / device that attaches to the servers. The Per Seat license is designed for small shops with a user population that attaches to multiple servers.

For example a small shop with 3 servers and 20 users would need 60 Per Server CALS (20 for each server) in order for all users to attach to all servers at every login. Conversely, if those 3 servers are set for Per Seat licensing this shop would need only 20 CALS (one for each user) to achieve the same end.

Can some-one please confirm this???

I appreciate the help.

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All Answers

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Sounds correct

by shardeth-15902278 In reply to The difference between Pe ...

Other than all the enterprise shops I have been in or around do use per seat licensing.
Part of the cost of an employee is a CAL, at which point they can access any resource on any server (permissions allowing, of course).

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in a nutshell yes

by CG IT In reply to The difference between Pe ...

here's a Technet article on licensing

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Sounds Right

by jake In reply to The difference between Pe ...

It sounds like you have it just right. For more information you can go to

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by theahlancaster In reply to Sounds Right

for that link.........I've just spent an hour trying to figure out the difference between per device, user, processor and seat! All explained in the above :)

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I don't know if the above is right......

by jblack In reply to thanks........

Ummm... I think the information posted above is actually wrong.

"Each SBS 2003 client access license (CAL) also authorizes you to access any computers that are running Microsoft Windows Server 2003 or earlier version in the same domain as the SBS computer."



"Microsoft server CALs can be used to access multiple servers of the same kind throughout your domain. For instance, if you have a Windows Server 2003 Device CAL for a workstation, that Windows Server 2003 CAL gives that workstation the rights to access any Windows Server 2003 throughout the domain, not just a single Windows Server 2003."


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