Switching between Device and User CALs

Switching between Device and User CALs

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The Licensing How To series posts are provided by our Customer Service Presales and Licensing team members.  These scenario based licensing topics are written on trending topics and issues based on their interactions with customers, Partners and field sellers.  For more posts from the Licensing How To series, search the “Licensing How To” tag on this blog.


 With the consumerization of IT, and the proliferation of devices in the workplace, it is now as important as ever that the licensing model you use delivers the most value to your business.  Our volume licensing programs can offer the flexibility and improved manageability to ensure your CAL licensing model is optimally matched with your organization’s needs.  If your business needs change and you want to switch from your current method of Client Access Licensing (CAL) there is an opportunity to switch from Device to User CALs or vice versa: when you renew Software Assurance (SA) on your CALs.   

Let’s say your Company chose license access to server software with Device Client Access Licenses (CALs) in the early days of the business because Device CALs made economic sense as you had more employees than devices. By licensing devices, you were guaranteed that all access to the server software was properly licensed and this was the most cost effective solution.

Now let’s fast-forward a few years.  Your devices outnumber your employees.  Put another way, each employee now has multiple devices; a PC, a laptop, a tablet, or a smart phone and you want them to be able to access your server software with ALL of these devices.  The most cost effective licensing solution for this scenario is to license client access by User CALs.

If this mix between users and devices exists in your organization it’s a likely indication that you should consider switching from Device CALs to User CALs as it is more cost effective and applicable for your business needs. 

How is this accomplished?  Here are the key steps you’ll need to take:

  • First, confirm that your CALs are covered by active Software Assurance (SA). 
  • Second, the switch is made ONLY at the time of SA renewal on the CALs.  This licensing situation is outlined in the Product List.  If you’re searching the Product List for this text, it’s called transitioning between User and Device CALs.

In closing, volume licensing and active software assurance can give you the flexibility to switch between User and Device based CALs upon renewal of your SA coverage. 
Refer to the current Product List, contact our Pre-Sales/Licensing customer service team, or work with your reseller or account team if you have additional questions.

As an additional resource be sure to check out the Client Access License (CAL) Decision Tool which helps you evaluate the best way to licensing CALs for your organization.

This is one scenario, and licensing situation. Each customer scenario can vary by deployment, usage, product version, and product use rights.  Always check your contract, and the current Products Use Rights document to confirm how your environment should be fully licensed.  The blogging team does not warrant that this scenario will be the right licensing solution for other similar cases.



  • thanks for the easy understandable info

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