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Making Sense of Microsoft Licensing

As we work with companies to help them make the best decisions regarding the right technology resources to meet their needs and best support their employees, we are aware that, especially in today’s marketplace, maximum efficiency for the investment is the priority.

Microsoft service licensing is one area where clients often ask us to explain and clarify the options in order to make a knowledge-based purchase. When going through the process of establishing terminal services and database access, the costs can add up quickly without a clear picture of what exactly is involved to keep these functions operating smoothly.

When it comes to terminal services licensing, Microsoft offers per user and per device models. Per user licensing allows a single resource to access the system from multiple devices without restriction. The per device option enables access to anyone but only through one particular device. The right decision depends on the company environment. With per user licensing, there is clearly more flexibility regarding how and where a resource can log into the system – a benefit that comes with a higher cost. Per device licensing typically make sense for companies that have multiple employees rotating shifts and using the same devices.

Similarly, Microsoft SQL licensing is available by processor or by user. It’s important to keep in mind that Microsoft SQL is a back-end database engine that supports other programs such as Prophet 21 and Microsoft CRM. A company needs to invest in Microsoft SQL – and the appropriate licenses – in order to run these other database programs.

Though per processor licensing is more expensive, there are no user limits. User licensing, on the other hand, requires a license for each person who will be accessing an application that utilizes SQL (and can become its own task trying to keep up with new licenses as they are needed). Companies will do best to consider their own user base. Smaller companies may find the per user option sufficient. There is, however, a tipping point where the cost of licenses to meet the number of user exceeds the fee for per processer licensing, making that a better option. While these costs can vary, it’s wise to think through the math before making a decision.

Have questions about Microsoft licensing? We’re happy to answer them.



Rob is the CTO of Beringer Technology Group, and focuses his efforts on software development, cloud engineering, team mentoring and strategic technical direction. Rob has worked with Beringer since 2005, and has influenced every department from Development, Security, Implementation, Support and Sales. Rob graduated with his MBA from Rowan University in 2012, earned his Bachelors of Computer Science in 1997, and is current with several Microsoft technical certifications. Rob is very active, and loves to mountain bike, weight train, cook and hike with his dog pack.

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