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user CAL vs device CAL

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It depends how your organisation works :)

User CALs

With the User CAL, you purchase a CAL for every user who accesses the server to use services such as file storage or printing, regardless of the number of devices they use for that access. Purchasing a User CAL might make more sense if your company employees need to have roaming access to the corporate network using multiple devices, or from unknown devices, or simply have more devices than users in your organization.

Device CALs

With a Device CAL, you purchase a CAL for every device that accesses your server, regardless of the number of users who use that device to access the server. Device CALs may make more economic and administrative sense if your company has workers who share devices, for example, on different work shifts.

See :- http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/about-licensing/client-access-license.aspx

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Hi there.

In addition to the information that Boris has given you.

Microsoft’s partners are saying that users are not in a hurry to upgrade to Exchange 2010.

With that sort of statement it is as well to "Read" the market well, and ask as many questions of people as you can before making any rash decisions.

**Trial** perhaps would be the best method to make any decision at all.

Read as many un-biased reviews of the product as you can. There are many. One such is **Here**

I find it quite unusual that you have not yet found the Technet forum for Exchange 2010, when you have travelled down quite a lengthy path already ( "I am in the middle of making decision.")

Personally I would have had a lot more information in front of me at this "middle" stage of the strategy than you seem to have now.

In our computer age, I would not even consider buying an electric toothbrush unless I had used Google to have put in some legwork to find some reviews, or even (although unlikely) a forum for electric toothbrushes.

There is a forum for Exchange 2010 **Here**

I think the best advice that we could give you would to be to keep your money in your pocket until you have done a great deal more research.


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  • 12 years later...
On 8/18/2010 at 1:41 AM, RaviShankarappa said:

I am in the middle of making decision of going to Microsoft Exchange 2010 for email needs of a small group of 20 people. Should I buy 5 user CAL version or 5 device CAL version? Is there an advantage of one over the other?



Hello RaviShankarappa,

I hope you are doing well!

When it comes to Microsoft licensing, there are two main types of CALs (client access licenses): user CALs and device CALs. Both give users the ability to access a licensed Microsoft server. Still, there are some key differences between the two: User CALs: As the name suggests, user CALs are assigned to specific users. It means that if a user has a user CAL, they can access any licensed Microsoft server, regardless of which device they are using. So, if a user has a laptop and a desktop, they would only need one user CAL. 


Device CALs: Device CALs, on the other hand, are assigned to specific devices. It means that if a device has a device CAL, any user can use that device to access a licensed Microsoft server. So, if a company has 7 employees and 7 laptops, they would need 7 device CALs.


With User CALs, you are licensing the user, not the device they use. It means that one user can access the server from any number of devices. On the other hand, a Device CAL licenses a specific device to access the server. So, if you have 7 users, each with two devices, you would need 14 Device CALs. The price difference between User and Device CALs is usually significant, with User CALs being much more expensive


However, it is essential to consider that with User CALs, and you only need to purchase as many as you have users, while with Device CALs, you need to purchase enough for every device accessing the server. Therefore, in most cases, it is more cost-effective to go with User CALs.


Thus, I hope the information provided above helps you to understand the difference between User CAL Device CAL license, and you can choose a CAL license as per your requirements and  




Rex M

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  • 3 months later...

User CALs and device CALs are the two primary CAL (client access licence) kinds when it comes to Microsoft licencing. Both enable users to connect to licenced Microsoft servers. However, there are some significant variations between the two: A user's CALs User CALs are given to certain users, as the name implies. It means that regardless of the device they are using, a user who has a user CAL can connect to any licenced Microsoft server. Therefore, a person would only require one user CAL if they own a desktop and a laptop.


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  • 9 months later...

CAL (Client Access License) and Device CAL are two licensing models used in Microsoft's products and services, particularly in server environments. These models determine how users or devices access the resources on a server. Here's a brief comparison of CAL and Device CAL:


User CAL (Client Access License):

User-Based Licensing: With a User CAL, licensing is based on the number of individual users who access the server, regardless of the number of devices they use.

Flexibility: User CALs are more flexible because a single user can access the server from multiple devices (e.g., desktop, laptop, smartphone).

Cost Efficiency: User CALs can be more cost-effective in scenarios where users access the server from multiple devices.

Complex Environments: They are ideal for environments where multiple devices are used by a single user (e.g., a user with a desktop computer, laptop, and smartphone).


Device CAL (Client Access License):

Device-Based Licensing: With a Device CAL, licensing is based on the number of devices (e.g., computers, tablets, smartphones) that connect to the server, regardless of the number of users who use these devices.

Simple Management: Device CALs are simpler to manage in scenarios where multiple users share a single device, such as a shared computer in a library or a kiosk.

Cost Efficiency: Device CALs can be more cost-effective in scenarios where multiple users share a single device, and a single license covers multiple users of that device.

Kiosk or Shared Device Environments: They are suitable for environments where a limited number of devices are shared among multiple users.

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