What are device CALs? An easy-to-understand explanation of the basic concepts of device licensing

Explanation of IT Terms

What are Device CALs?

In the world of software licensing, CAL stands for “Client Access License.” A CAL is a legal agreement that grants a user or device the right to access software services on a server. In this blog post, we will focus specifically on Device CALs.

A Device CAL, or Device Client Access License, is a licensing model employed by software vendors to grant access to their software services based on the number of devices rather than the number of users. In other words, with Device CALs, the licensing is assigned to a specific device, regardless of the number of users accessing the software on that device.

Device CALs are commonly used in scenarios where multiple users interact with a single device, such as in a shared workspace or a manufacturing environment. For instance, if a computer lab has 20 devices and 50 potential users, you would only need to purchase 20 Device CALs, one for each device, ensuring that all 50 users can access the software services on any of the 20 devices.

One advantage of Device CALs is that they provide flexibility, especially in situations where users do not have dedicated workstations. For example, in a hospital setting, multiple medical professionals might use a shared computer on different shifts. In this case, purchasing a Device CAL for that computer would be more cost-effective than buying individual User CALs for each medical professional.

However, it is important to note that Device CALs are tied to specific devices and cannot be transferred to other devices. If that device is replaced or upgraded, a new Device CAL might be required. Additionally, each device can only be assigned one Device CAL, even if multiple users interact with it.

In summary, a Device CAL is a licensing model that grants access to software services based on specific devices. It offers flexibility and cost-effectiveness in scenarios where multiple users interact with a single device. By understanding the concept of Device CALs, organizations can make informed decisions when it comes to software licensing for their unique needs.

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