Licensing required for running an IIS based web server RRS feed

  • Question

  • User-527837605 posted

    I am new to Microsoft licensing and confused over the CAL thing, for running a IIS based web server accessing SQL 2005, what licensing do I need?

    In short, like to know a sample of licensing you get for your site using MS stuff. I heard about the external connector thing and it is so confusing and prohibitive. So bad that this kind of stuff stands in the way for me to convince my manager to use IIS instead of Apache and PHP.







    Tuesday, June 3, 2008 12:52 AM


All replies

  • User-1517208541 posted

    I think U need....Win 2003 server OS license.......were IIS is a part of this server OS.....even Old versions of IIS can be found in Old Server OS.......

    Tuesday, June 3, 2008 1:59 AM
  • User-527837605 posted

    Thanks, but actually what I am not sure is whether I can use the web server edition connecting to a SQL 2005 hosted on a Windows Server Standard, or must I get an External Connector license.

    Or do you guys simply get a Windows standard/Enterprise edition, host the site in IIS and open up access to the public?


    Tuesday, June 3, 2008 3:24 AM
  • User-823196590 posted

    This should give you the general idea.

    Basically, if you don't intend to authenticate users as Windows users then you don't need any additional CALs.  The external connector license only applies if you need to have users connect to your server as Windows users, say through terminal services or file/print shares.

    • Marked as answer by Anonymous Tuesday, September 28, 2021 12:00 AM
    Tuesday, June 3, 2008 9:20 AM
  • User-527837605 posted

    Thanks Tom for the advice. I was shocked when someone said that even people authenticated by applications (such as a forum running on IIS) are considered authenticated user and an external connector is needed to use windows!

    Tuesday, June 3, 2008 10:33 PM
  • User-823196590 posted

    It depends on the authentication - if you use Windows accounts, then yes you need CALs for those users.  If they are ASP.NET Forms authentication then no.

    Wednesday, June 4, 2008 8:58 AM
  • User1213739234 posted

    It depends on the authentication - if you use Windows accounts, then yes you need CALs for those users.  If they are ASP.NET Forms authentication then no.


     I've just spent quite some time debating this with our local Microsoft customer service and a local distributor. They've both stated that you need the External Connector license regardless of how the authentication is performed, even when user information is stored in the SQL database.

    On the other hand..

     The licensing overwiev you posted earlier states under "The Windows Server Licensing Model-Elements That Have Not Changed":
    "A Windows CAL is not required if access to the server software is via the Internet and is "unauthenticated"—for example, accessing a Web site for general information where no identifying credentials are exchanged."

    And the technet article states:
    "You need a Client Access License for every user that you authenticate with the local SAM or Active Directory, except for the IUSR_<servername> account using anonymous authentication."

    This information is posted August 2002 but the server 2003 overview says that this has not changed. Does anyone have any input on this matter ?

    Wednesday, August 6, 2008 5:08 AM
  • User-823196590 posted

    Does this help you?

    An EC license is not mandatory. It is a licensing option available to address a specific customer scenario. When you need to allow your business partners or customers to access your network, you have two choices:

    • You can acquire Windows Server 2008 CALs for each of your external users, or

    • You can acquire External Connector licenses for each Windows Server that those external users will access. 

    An external user is a person who is not an employee, or similar personnel of the company or its affiliates, and is not someone to whom you provide hosted services using the server software.

    Microsoft of course will have to be the ultimate authority on this, but in my interpretation, your web users are not accessing your network as if they were connected through VPN.  Are they using print services?  File services?  Are you acting as a host to allow them to use the server for their purposes?  No.  This is simply a web application.  They have no access to the services on the server.

    Look at the Windows Web Server 2008 licensing as well.

    Wednesday, August 6, 2008 8:39 AM
  • User1213739234 posted

     I agree to what you say. But I asked the same guestion many times, and I specified that the web app only stores user information so that users can be granted access to the web app. And that windows own authentication is not used in any way.

    I was answered that it does not matter what kind of authentication is used and that I would need an External Connector license.

    The thing that got me confused in the first place was that the Microsoft representive told me I would need an External Connector license for each web server that is accessing the SQL-server. Our distributor corrected this and told me that I need one External Connector license for each SQL-server.

    When I started reading the licensing guides things got from bad to worse :). So I guess i'll just have to go with the SQL processor license + External Connector license.

    Wednesday, August 6, 2008 1:04 PM
  • User-823196590 posted

    Interesting. I'm trying to get some clarification on this from my MS contacts ...

    Wednesday, August 6, 2008 3:04 PM
  • User-1151828327 posted

    I'm also eager to get an authoritative answer regarding this issue - do anyone here have any new information from MS or something other relevant?

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008 2:18 PM
  • User-2125953580 posted

    I think I have a handle on the Windows/IIS licensing guidelines based on the information you supplied.

    Were you able to make any discoveries on how this affect SQL server licensing if the ASP.Net IIS app using forms based authentication and reading/writing data from the SQL server databases?

    Friday, August 29, 2008 5:39 PM
  • User-477414647 posted

    Web Server Edition cannot run SQL.  You need Standard or higher.

    Saturday, September 6, 2008 2:08 PM
  • User-1151828327 posted
    Yes, that's fine, but what do you need if the web server is connecting to another server with SQL? What license does the SQL server need?
    Saturday, September 6, 2008 2:49 PM
  • User-1853252149 posted

    Web Server Edition cannot run SQL.

    In IIS7 the web server version can run SQL.


    Saturday, September 6, 2008 6:27 PM
  • User-1853252149 posted

    I've just spent quite some time debating this with our local Microsoft customer service and a local distributor.

    That's your problem.  :)

    With Microsoft licensing, you need to ask if you need a license.  If they say yes, hang up and call back.  The next response may be no.  Nobody, not Microsoft's sales people or distributors, actually understands this licensing.  A talk I had with three of Microsoft's licensing reps, the people who manange these things, ended with three differing opinions and a call to the legal department.  The result was a declaration that you do not need CALs or any other Microsoft licensing (beyond the server and default CALs) for a public web server that did not authenticate to a Windows account.

    Don't ask on SQL, except for the specific SQL Express licensing nobody could agree whether a SQL Server installation on the same web server or on a separate server when used for a web site required special SQL licensing.  The bottom line was that it was probably okay to use either a Windows or SQL Server authenticated account to access the server, but that impersonation threw a monkey wrench into licensing that the lawyers possibly hadn't considered.  Safest is a per processor license for all processors.

    Microsoft Licensing - Don't Ask, Don't Tell.


    Saturday, September 6, 2008 6:37 PM
  • User-1341446551 posted

     Microsoft Licensing - Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

    Totally agree with that ....

    Monday, September 8, 2008 2:34 PM