Dark Matter & Microsoft Licensing

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by | March 30, 2016

Dark matter is a hypothetical substance believed by most astronomers to account for approximately five-sixths of all the matter in the universe. But even though dark matter has never been directly observed, its existence can be inferred by its huge gravitational impact on the one-sixth of matter in the universe we can see, namely stars and galaxies.

So what does this have to do with Microsoft licensing?

When it comes to Microsoft licensing, your biggest costs and compliance risks are being driven by something that can’t be seen or directly measured either; something that’s invisible to the most sophisticated SAM tool and undiscoverable by the most powerful custom script. It’s the client access license (CAL) – something I call the “dark matter” of Microsoft licensing.

CALs comprise a majority of total licensing costs for most Microsoft server products. In general, all employees or on-site contractors accessing instances of a server product that require user CALs need CALs for themselves or for the devices they use to access a Microsoft server product, whether directly or indirectly (see Beware of this Microsoft Licensing Trap).

Unfortunately, figuring out which CALs you really need to buy and keeping track of how you’ve deployed your CAL purchases is notoriously hard to do. The rules for CALs are fiendishly complex and Microsoft server products don’t include any tools to help you figure out which of your users need CALs but are out of compliance. That’s why CAL compliance mistakes are among the first issues Microsoft will be looking for when it’s your turn for an audit.

What can you do? The only sure way to protect your company against potentially costly Microsoft CAL compliance mistakes is to educate yourself. We’ve prepared an incredibly useful guide to help you understand Microsoft CALs and how they impact your Microsoft licensing costs and compliance position. You can request your complimentary copy here: www.directionsonmicrosoft.com/microsoft-cal-licensing-guide.

Or, if you want to quickly get up-to-speed on all the current Microsoft licensing rules, consider our fantastic two-day Microsoft Licensing Boot Camp. It’s the fastest way to get the knowledge and understanding you need to keep your organization compliant without overbuying. For details, please visit www.DirectionsOnMicrosoft.com/training.


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