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CAL License Definition

Basic – Web/Development

Reading Time – 1 minute, 30 seconds

CAL licensing definition means Client Access License (CAL). It’s a license provided by commercial software vendors to their customers to grant access to different software services. Some software client access licenses require to pay for each installation and some client access licenses require to pay for each user or computer that access or utilize the services provided by the software.

A CAL consists of a certificate of authenticity (CoA) and a license key and it can be considered as a legal permit to connect client computers to commercial server software. For example, if you purchase 10 CAL for Windows Server 2016, that allows ten different uses of your organization to access the server. If you require more client computers to access the server, you need to purchase more client access licenses.

The different types of CAL

User CAL
A license granted for every user who accesses the server for different services such as uploading and downloading files, storing data, and printing documents. User CAL does not take into account the number of devices a user uses to access these services. This type of license is ideal for an organization where employees require roaming access to the organization’s network and servers from different devices.

Device CAL
A license granted for each device that accesses the server for different services. Device CAL does not take into account the number of users who use these devices. This type of license is ideal for organizations where one device is used by multiple users.

Remote Desktop Service (RDS)
RDS CAL is also known as Terminal Services CAL. It is a license granted for several types of connections to use server OS and RDS components. There are two types of RDS CALs as RDS per-device CAL and RDS per-user CAL. These types of licenses are ideal for the organizations that require to access the full desktop remotely.

Now, you know the CAL licensing definition.

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