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 Microsoft Server client access license

A server client access license (CAL) is a license that gives users and devices the legal right to access Microsoft server software installed on a server.

Server client access license (CAL) overview

When you sell a copy of Windows Server, the customer will receive a server license permitting installation of the operating system on one computer. A server license by itself does not provide the legal right for others to connect to that computer, whether they work for the company or not. Instead, each user needs a client access license (CAL).

Customers will need a CAL for each employee, or each employee device, that accesses the Windows Server installation, but not for anonymous users who access it over the Internet.

Server CALs are cost effective and affordable, allowing customers to pay only for the licensing they need with the option of buying more as their businesses grow.

Server CAL requirements by product

Windows Server 2016

Windows Server 2016 user and device CALs should be purchased separately for Windows Server 2016 products as shown in the table below. The Windows Server 2016 CALs may be used for prior Windows Server Versions. The CALs may be bought in packs of 1 and 5.

Product CALs required
Windows Server 2016 Datacenter               Yes
Windows Server 2016 Standard Yes
Windows Server 2016 Essentials No

Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2012

Product CALs required
Windows Server 2012 Standard R2 Yes
Windows Server 2012 Datacenter R2 Yes
Windows Server 2012 Foundation R2 No
Windows Server 2012 Essentials R2 No
Windows Storage Server 2012 Standard R2 No
Windows Server 2012 Standard Yes
Windows Server 2012 Datacenter Yes
Windows Server 2012 Foundation No
Windows Server 2012 Essentials No
Windows Storage Server 2012 Standard No

Selling Server CALs

Any time you sell a server preinstalled with Windows Server software, you should also offer server CALs to the customer at the point of purchase. Server CALs are often overlooked during a sales transaction, but they can be key revenue generators for partners and Microsoft.

Related resources

  • CAL-Simplicity campaign
    Use the resources in the CAL-Simplicity campaign to promote and educate customers about client access license (CAL) compliance and how to sell the right license to your SMB customers.

 

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