How to use the CAL


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Why do you need a servers checklist when you have read the DIY for Server Owners section?

Before you start your sever build you need to do a few things and there are considerations prior to doing any purchases thus the need for a servers checklist.

This is a abbreviated servers checklist to get you thinking about what you need to accomplish before, during, and after the server is built.

  1. Network layout
  2. Server location
  3. Server hardware
  4. Sever Operating System
  5. Build out of hardware
    1. Proprietary pre built
    2. Bare bones
    3. Self Assemble
  6. Operating System install
    1. Optimization
    2. Server Operating System Options
    3. Additional software applications
  7. Operating System Lockdown

When you look at the servers checklist I know you are scratching your head wondering what the heck I am on about so I will give an explanation for each item:

  1. Network layout: If this is the first server in your location you need to have a network or the server is useless. No connection, no server to serve, no? Consider the load a server has to handle when looking at setting up your network, fewer than 200 devices then a dual teamed NIC will suffice, over 200 you will want to consider a quad team NIC to keep the network from becoming a bottle neck for access.
    1. Keep in mind you will need a CAL for each non Windows Operating System device that the server will serve or attach to for user access...
  2. Server location: You will want a secure and well ventilated area for the server, if this is your first server make the area large enough to work on the server in place. If you are going to have more than three servers consider rack mount servers, they are smaller, just as powerful, and you can get more rack mount servers in the same area two tower servers will occupy.
  3. Server hardware: This one is tougher to describe in a short paragraph, what is the servers function? This will drive the hardware you will need to purchase, see this page.
  4. Server Operating System: This web site supports mostly Windows Operating Systems so most of the information is about Windows Servers however Windows is not the only company producing Server Operating Systems, the main thing is you get an OS that is compatible with your workstation OS and has functionality for your business / project. Novell, Linux, and a few other Operating Systems will do the same thing as the latest and greatest Windows Server OS.
  5. Build out of hardware: Are you buying an off the shelf already to go server? Or maybe a "Bare bones" where you have to install some of the hardware? Or maybe you (or an employee) will build the complete server from the ground up?
  6. Operating System Install: From inserting the CD / DVD to the last application install what you need to do to get the server functional.
  7. Operating System Lockdown: The final steps to secure the server from accidental deletion of files to fully protecting your server from hackers, thieves, and idiots. 

All these servers checklist steps are outlined in your Build Your Server e-book/book available on this web site.


Note: After a few questions in the (now gone) Q and A I decided to give you a short and quick severs checklist on Microsoft Server licensing. This is only Microsoft's way of doing Server licenses...

Using your servers checklist first consider the the total number of network connections the server will serving. This includes all workstations and all network attached devices. This will be the workload for the network.

Note: Each workstation that has a Windows Operating System installed (with the exception of the Home versions) have a CAL included with the OS.

Next subtract all the workstations that will have a Windows Operating System installed.

This will leave you with the minimum number of CALs you will need to purchase when you buy the Server Operating System. (each network attached device that DOES NOT have a Windows Operating System installed will need a single CAL per unit to connect, this includes:

  • Printers
  • Scanners
  • Other NAS (Network Attached Devices, this includes external drives attached by USB cables!)
  • Any other NON Windows Operating System (Such as a tablet with Linux or MAC OSx Operating System)
  • Now the bad news: All Cell phones that have network access will have to have a CAL or you will have to find a way to block the cell phones from accessing your network.

Case in point: Even if the cell phone / tablet owner may not try to access the server but the cell phone / tablet will query the server, this "ping" as the geeks say is considered as a connection, therefore if you disregard the cell phone / tablets that are in the area a user with a non Windows Operating System may have difficulty connecting to the server for data, printing, or if you have a web site on the server.

CAL (Client Access License)

Quote MS:

Per Device or Per User licensing mode is the best option if your clients frequently use multiple servers on the network.

The Per Device or Per User licensing mode enables all network devices or users to access all the servers on a network. The number of simultaneous connections to any server is unlimited. Per Device or Per User is the normal licensing mode for a server product that is installed on multiple servers in a network.

Per Server is the best licensing option when a server product is installed on only one server accessed at any time by no more than a subset of your users.

Per Server connections to a particular server are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, and are limited to the number of Client Access Licenses allocated to the server. This might be more economical for a single-server network or for a server product that is accessed on one server by only one department or group in an organization. As your network grows, you are allowed a one-time conversion to Per Device or Per User licensing.

I wanted you to be aware that failure to get the correct number of CALs when you buy your Server Operating System will result in loss of connectivity if the CALs are exceeded and most of the time when the CALs are exceeded your workstations will be the first to be denied access...

Such as:

If you chose Per Server licensing and only buy two 5 CAL licenses then the MAXIMUM number of concurrent connections is TEN. Where as if you bought one 5 CAL license and chose the Per Device or Per User and only had two network attached devices with six Windows client Operating Systems you have three unused CALs for more devices.

Although a MCSE will advise you to go with the Per Server when purchasing CALs for a small network always plan for expansion. At this time the quantity for CALs is 5, 50, 100, 250, 500, and unlimited (big bucks for this one!).

When I tested and passed my MCSE certifications the non OS devices were only printers and scanners, now though there are a lot more devices that can be accessed across a network...

02/16/14 - This short servers checklist is a precursor to a larger more elaborate severs checklist I am making to accompany the Build Your Server book when I do the revision in a month or so.

When the server operating system BSOD's what do you use?

Your server is already down why make it worse with an outdated ERD? Make a custom Emergency Repair Disk (ERD) for yourself! Check this out.

Emergency Repair
isk (ERD) - Will Yours Work?

Repair Disk

Custom made for you...

You keyboard isn't thirsty, and it doesn't need calcium. Milk and other liquids will ruin a keyaboard!

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