SQL Server + CAL Licensing
When licensing SQL Server software under the Server+CAL model, customers purchase a server license for each server and a client access license (CAL) for each device (Device CAL) and/or user (User CAL) accessing 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.
How to License SQL Server 2012 Using the Server+CAL Licensing Model
Under the Server+CAL licensing model, each Operating System Environment (OSE) running SQL Server 2012 software or any of its components must have a SQL Server 2012 server license assigned to the physical server hosting the OSE. Each server license allows customers to run any number of SQL Server instances in an OSE, either physical or virtual. Note: When running SQL Server software in a physical OSE, each hardware partition or blade is considered to be a separate server for licensing purposes.
To access a licensed SQL Server, each user or device must have a SQL Server CAL that is the same version or newer than the SQL Server software version being accessed. For example, to access a server running SQL Server 2012 software, a user needs a SQL Server 2012 CAL. Note: Devices not operated by humans require device CALs, even when connecting to SQL Server indirectly. For human operated devices such as PCs or hand-held terminals, a user CAL or device CAL may be used.
SQL Server CALs are version specific. Each SQL Server 2012 CAL provides access to any number of licensed SQL Server instances (SQL Server 2012 or earlier) in a customer’s organization, regardless of the platform (32-bit, 64-bit or IA64) or product edition, including legacy SQL Server Workgroup and SQL Server for Small Business edition servers. Note: Use of hardware or software that reduces the number of devices or users that directly access or use the software (multiplexing/pooling) does not reduce the number of CALs required. For details on how to license SQL Server in a multiplexed application environment, refer to the Advanced Licensing Scenarios section of this guide.
The Server+CAL licensing model is appropriate when:
Deploying the SQL Server Business Intelligence Edition.
Deploying SQL Server Standard Edition in scenarios where you can easily count users/devices and the total licensing costs are lower than using the Per Core licensing model.
Accessing multiple SQL Server databases and/or planning to scale out use of SQL Server by adding new servers over time. Once you have purchased the necessary CALs, you only need to purchase low cost server licenses for new server system deployments.
Accessing “legacy” Enterprise Edition Servers in the Server+CAL licensing model. For more detailed information on this topic, refer to the Additional Product Information section of this guide.