A question that comes up more often than not when proposing a SharePoint solution to a prospective client, Do we really need these SQL CALs?
You have your SharePoint server with a MSSQL server on the backend holding the content and configuration data SharePoint requires, the likely assumption here is that because the end users / clients only access the SharePoint server and never directly touch the MSSQL server that they do not need the SQL CALs. This assumption is unfortunately, wrong.
Let’s delve a little deeper into this one. Here we need to refer to a term called multiplexing, to describe this we’ll use Microsoft’s eloquent description taken from the licensing brief on this subject:
‘Multiplexing’ is when customers use hardware or software to pool connections, reroute information, or reduce the number of devices or users that directly access or use a product. Multiplexing can also include reducing the number of devices or users a product directly manages.
CALs are required for every user or device
In the same licensing brief we find statement:
“Multiplexing does not reduce the number of Microsoft licenses required. Users are required to have the appropriate licenses, regardless of their direct or indirect connection to the product. Any user or device that accesses the server, files, or data or content provided by the server that is made available through an automated process requires a CAL.”
Below is a diagram taken from the licensing brief hammering home the point, regardless of whether you access the SQL server directly or indirectly (in this case indirectly), You are required to have an SQL CAL to comply with the licensing agreement.
Depending on how many users or devices you have, licensing this way could turn the SharePoint project incredibly expensive.
Another option here is to purchase “core licenses”, the clue here is in the name, you purchase a core license for all of the processor cores on the server, CALs are not a requirement for this option.
Here you may be thinking well as we’re a small setup I’ll just throw SQL on a small server with a single core processor, unfortunately Microsoft have a 4 core minimum. In reality CALs are the most cost effective solution up until you require around 30 of them.
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