Per Seat licensing

Definition of Per Seat licensing in The Network Encyclopedia.

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What is Per Seat licensing (in Microsoft ecosystem)?

A licensing mode in which a client access license (CAL) is assigned to a particular client computer for a particular Microsoft BackOffice server product. A CAL allows the client to access the services of a particular BackOffice product that can be running on any server within the network.

Per Seat licensing can be applied to any BackOffice product that requires CALs, such as Microsoft Windows 2000 Server, Windows NT Server, Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft SNA Server, Microsoft Site Server, and Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS).


Consider a network that consists of three servers running Windows 2000 Server and 50 assorted client computers running Windows 2000 Professional, Windows 98, Windows for Workgroups, Mac OS, and so forth. If you purchase 50 Per Seat licenses for Windows 2000 Server, one for each client, each client computer can connect to any of the three Windows 2000 Servers.


If you use Per Seat licensing, you must purchase a CAL for every client that accesses the BackOffice product, including non-Microsoft clients such as Macintosh and UNIX clients.


Per Seat licensing is often the preferred mode of licensing on networks with a large number of servers. On networks with only one or two servers, Per Server licensing might be a more economical option.

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