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Started in another question wondering about licensing (, can someone please explain Windows Server 2008 Client Access Licenses and Connectors?

Microsoft is slightly vague (?) in the descriptions of a "client." Is the client a computer over RDP? a user or administrator account? all of the above? How do HTTP sessions (for instance) get defined? I've purchased IBM mid-range systems and not been as confused.


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Basically a CAL is a license for a client workstation to connect to some sort of server connection. If your workstation is on the wire and connecting in a normal client-server relationship, you need normal server CAL licenses. If the client is connecting to a Terminal Server session over the internet (or on a wired connection - say if you have a netbook or terminal type device) then you need a Terminal Server CAL. The problem is that it isn't really clear that these are somewhat different things.

Microsoft actually has courses and certifications specifically for people to take to understand Microsoft licensing. (Which should be a clue to them that their damn license schemes are too arcane, but do they listen?)

The theory is also that there are two defined RDP sessions for administration of the server that don't require CAL's - they come with the server software.

HTTP sessions (assuming you have someone connecting into the computer as a web server) aren't under CAL.

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