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Remote Desktop CALs
A Windows Server 2016 Remote Desktop Service CAL (RDS CAL) is a client acess license that allows for Remote Desktop sessions to be established on a server. There are two types of RDS CALs to keep in mind when deciding on which Windows Remote Desktop CAL you need: User CAL and Device CAL.
A Windows Server 2016 User CAL licenses the user so they have permission to access the server, from multiple devices. They can access it from many different endpoints because the User CAL is tied to the user, not the device. A Device CAL licenses the endpoint device so that the device itself has permission to access the server. Then, anyone using that device would be able to access the server. The people using that device do not need a User CAL.
So how do you decide which Windows Remote Desktop Service CAL to buy? This is dependent on whether you have more employees or more devices and here is a quick guide on how to decide:
If your organization has less users and more devices, Windows Server 2016 User CALs are recommended since that will be the cheaper option. Usually, the organization’s employees access the servers over numerous devices because he/she is not necessarily fixed to a certain workstation. For example, an employee who accesses their email via their workstation while at work, via smartphone while at a business meeting and via laptop while at home. Instead of buying a CAL for each device the employee uses, it makes more financial sense to buy a single User CAL to cover that user. User CALs are more expensive but it would still be a cheaper option than buying several device CALs.
If your organization has less devices than users, go with Windows Server 2016 Device CALs. This way of licensing is the most feasible option if you have a large number of employees sharing a limited number of computers. There is no need to license a user if he/she would not access the server via more than one device. For example, a company that has employees working shifts or many users with access to one computer (like a restaurant).
Ultimate, the decision of which Microsoft Windows 2016 Remote Desktop Service CAL to use depends on your organization’s needs. It is permitted to mix User CALs and Devices CALs in the same environment. However, this practice is not recommended because it can become difficult to keep track of who is using a User CAL and who is using a Device CAL, especially if the organization grows. Either way, Windows has you covered, whatever your Windows Remote Desktop Service CAL requirements are.