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SQL Server 2014 Licensing: Server CAL Based Licensing Model

I have already spoken about Editions of SQL Server and the different sales channels through which it is available. You can refer to a separate post to know more about this. In this post, we will focus on SQL Server 2014 Licensing: Server & CAL Licensing. Read along to know more:

SQL Server 2014 Licensing: Server & CAL Licensing

In this post, we will only focus on the versions which would be purchased by most customers, i.e., Enterprise, Standard or Business Intelligence Edition. For these editions, SQL Server comes with two types of Licensing Models:

  • Server/CAL based licensing
  • Core-based Licensing

SQL Server 2014 Licensing: Server & CAL Licensing

Server Cal Model of SQL Server

 Only SQL Server Standard Edition is available in both Server/CAL as well as Core Licensing.

So, let us understand a bit more about the SQL Server Server/CAL Licensing models.  When licensing SQL Server software under the Server+CAL model, customers purchase a server license for each server, and a client access license (CAL) “OR” for a device (Device CAL).

A user needs to have a CAL’s to (User or Device CAL) access SQL Server or any of its components. A CAL is not software; it is a license granting users and devices access to the SQL Server software.

Client Access Licenses are “Paper Licenses” and are not technically enforced. Which means that, in an event of an audit, the customer needs to prove that they have the required licenses of SQL Server for all its Users or devices.

This method of Licensing is more cost-effective than the CORE model, but the break-even point is 15-20 users Per CPU (depending upon the SQL Server version)

Do note that SQL Server does not give you “Concurrent Licensing” model. So all users and clients (Application, Apps, Server Administrators etc.) who are directly or indirectly connecting to the SQL Server needs to have a valid license. 

SQL Server 2014 Licensing: Server & CAL Licensing

Source: Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Licensing Guide

Here are the highlights of the Server CAL Model:

  • Each OS running SQL Server 2014, or any components (SSIS, SSAS, SSRS, DQS, MDS) needs to have a server license assigned.
  • Number of Instances on the same OS does not require you to buy additional licenses.
  • Both Physical and Virtual environments are supported.

Note: Microsoft provides limited support for SQL Server 2014 running anything other than Hyper V. Read More.

  • Separate Hardware partitions are considered as a different server and need to have a valid license.
  • CAL’s need to be of same or higher edition, to access SQL Server. For example, SQL Server 2016 CAL can access both 2016 and older versions.
  • CPU core count or bitness (32 bit & 64 bit) is not applicable to Server/CAL/Device-based licensing method.
  • If you do not have a proper count of end users and devices, (Web App accessed anonymously), then Server/CAL license is invalid.

Here is the list of applications which are exempted from any SQL Server Licensing:

  • Client Quality Connectivity
  • Client Tools Backwards Compatibility
  • Client Tools Connectivity
  • Client Tools SDK
  • Data Quality Client
  • Distributed Replay Client
  • Documentation Components
  • Management Tools – Basic
  • Management Tools – Complete
  • Reporting Services Add-in for SharePoint Products
  • SQL Client Connectivity SDK

All the components mentioned above are a part of the “Additional Software, ” and you find the reference in the Product User Rights (PUR) document.

Also Read: SQL Server 2014 Core Licensing.

We hope this was helpful. If you have any questions or suggestions, please type it in the comment section below.

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