Do I need CALs and RDS CAL?
03 maart 2023 

Do I need CALs and RDS CAL?

If your company has a Server license or is considering purchasing a Server license from Microsoft and has concerns about its licensing compliance, we recommend reading this article. Below you will find information on what CAL's are and why you always need them along with your Server license and also a brief comparison with the RDS CAL's which are only required for remote working cases.

What are CAL’s and when do I need them?

CAL stands for "Client Access License" and is the license that gives the right for devices or users to access the server. Microsoft currently offers either a device-based CAL (Device CAL) or a user-based CAL (User CAL). You can read about the difference between these two types of CAL's by clicking here.

Server access CAL's are essential documents to comply with Microsoft licensing laws. They do not require activation but must be purchased according to how many users or machines will have access to the server in the company. The good news is that CAL's do not expire, you only have to purchase new CAL's if you upgrade your server.

CALs are required when you purchase:

  • MS Windows Server Standard and Datacenter;
  • MS Exchange Server Standard and Enterprise;
  • MS SQL Server Standard (except for SQL core licensing, no CAL's are required).

It is true that CALs make corporate projects very expensive, so be sure to ask us for a quote and save up to 70% on your server project costs with our Pre-owned CAL’s.

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What are RDS CALs and when do I need them?

RDS CAL’s or Remote Desktop Services is a license you need to access a remote desktop on Windows Server. So, this license is only required if you intend to access the server remotely. To be compliant, you must license each user or computer that has remote access to the Server.

The RDS CAL’s is also offered by Microsoft on either device-based CAL (RDS Device CAL) or a user-based CAL (RDS User CAL), see the difference between RDS User CAL and RDS device CAL here.

Unlike the server access license, the RDS CAL has an activation key, and in volume licensing, one key can activate as many as the number of activations you purchase, making installation easier.

Another very important point about RDS CAL's is that when licensing the Server, they do not replace the access CAL's, so if you are licensing your Server and need to work remotely to be in compliance you must buy the Server + CAL's + RDS CAL's.

We hope we have clarified crucial points of the Server licensing but if you still have any doubts about it please contact us, we will be happy to help. Or if you already know what you need ask us for a customized quote for your project and save up to 70% in licensing costs. Softtrader has all versions of Server, CAL's and RDS CAL's.

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