Microsoft SQL Server CAL Guide

If you use Microsoft SQL Server to power your data, you need CALs to ensure that all necessary users and devices can access your server. Here at Trusted Tech Team, we are proud to carry Device CALs and User CALs for a number of different editions and versions of Microsoft SQL Server. On this page, we answer commonly-asked SQL CAL questions and provide necessary licensing information for different types of CALs. Read on to learn more, and find the right SQL server CAL price by exploring our online inventory.

What is a CAL, and do I need them?

A Client Access License (CAL) is not a type of software, but rather, a license that grants Users or Devices access to SQL Server software. SQL CALs are a requirement only for the SQL license + CAL model, meaning that if you purchase SQL Server licenses per core (Standard Core / Enterprise Core) you will not need to purchase any additional licenses. The license + CAL model is beneficial for businesses that have a finite amount of users or devices and want to keep the cost of licensing to a minimum. If you cannot count the number of users or devices, it may be best to consider licensing SQL per core instead.

What type of CAL do I need?

There are two types of CALs that you can purchase – User or Device. Each license type has its advantages depending on your environment. See below for a brief representation of how each type of CAL can best be utilized.

  • User CAL - 1 User w/ Multiple Devices
  • Device CAL - 1 Device w/ Multiple Users

How many CALs do I need?

Every User or Device accessing the SQL Server software, virtual or physical, must be licensed with a SQL CAL. Users and Devices accessing the SQL software indirectly through another application or hardware device will still need a CAL.

Licensing on individual virtual machines

A User or Device licensed with a CAL will be covered for each instance of SQL Server software on the VMs in the same environment.

Licensing through a container

The same CAL licensing terms apply when licensing SQL Server hosted in a container