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Licensing Server 2016 for embedded systems = CAL needed for connecting *out* from server? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I know Server isn't exactly Embedded Standard, but I found no forum closer to the question topic, and I think people in generic Server newsgroups will be less acquainted with the Embedded world.

    We have several locations with a setup like below, and are finishing development for a new version, that will look like this:

    * A number of devices (typically around 40 per location), ARM processor based, running proprietary firmware. Hardware as well as firmware are our own development.

    * A Windows machine running a proprietary service (also our own development) that connects to those devices using a proprietary communication protocol (also our own, with a SSL socket underneath it), retrieves information, and stores that information in a SQL Server Express database.

    As its logon shell the server will not get a standard Windows UI (desktop, start menu, task bar etc.), but our own UI.

    We are planning to use Windows server 2016 for Embedded systems as the OS. Earlier versions used things like Windows 2000 (plain off the shelf version) and XP Embedded.

    First question:

    The MS partner selling us the embedded licenses tells us we need a Windows Server CAL for each device our application connects out to. It doesn't matter that the device never connects to the server, or that we use our own network protocol instead of SMB or so, the data originating in those devices end up on the server and that's why we need a CAL per device - or so they say.

    How much of that, if anything, is true? It sounds like hogwash to me, as if you would need a server CAL for each website you open in a web browser on a Windows Server, or a CAL per printer for any network printer you intend to print something on (for print jobs originating on the server itself, not on a connected PC - those would require a CAL to access the server, there I agree).

    Second question:

    That same MS partner tells us if we use the server's administrative RDP logon, we are only allowed to use the standard Windows shell and built-in administration utilities (control panel, administrative tools) that Microsoft provides with the OS.

    If we want to launch even the tiniest third party application, for example Notepad++, or (in this case) our own embedded UI, that requires full Terminal Server CALs, they say.  Same question: how much of this is true?

    Thursday, November 9, 2017 3:33 PM

All replies

  • Windows Embedded Server is Windows Server with licensing restrictions. The folks on the Windows server forum would be the place to ask these questions. The CALs are typically for backend office applications so I don't know why embedded ARM devices running firmware would need them at all. You can test and see what happens.

    Sean Liming - Book Author: Starter Guide Windows 10 IoT Enterprise - www.annabooks.com / www.seanliming.com

    Thursday, November 9, 2017 9:58 PM
    Moderator