CAL licensing and RDP licensing query on Azure

  1. If you’re using a PAYG(Pay as you go) machine, no CAL is needed.  All licensing is included in the per-minute billing and is done as core-based, not CAL.
  2. If you’re using a BYOL(Bring your own license) machine, all licensing is being handled by your Enterprise Agreement volume license subscription.  You need to maintain the appropriate CALs as per your usage/access needs.
  3. If you are referring to having SQL Server manually installed on a Windows Server VM using your own licensing, then the licensing requirements are the same as an on-premises environment, with the added condition of the license requiring License Mobility to be brought into Azure i.e  Software Assurance

Note: This is all relating to the SQL Server licensing aspect.  The Windows Server licenses are all being taken care of as part of the normal the VM compute costs – There is no need for any additional licensing there unless you’re needing more than two RDP sessions open at the same time.  In that case, you would need to configure it as a Remote Desktop Services session host and utilize RDS/RDP CALs to increase this limit.


  1. When exactly do we need the CAL licenses for SQL serve, if the client is accessing the database indirectly do we still need the CAL licenses ? 
    Yes, if you’re utilizing CAL licensing instead of core-based, then you would need to account for the total number of potential users accessing the database, even indirectly (i.e. multiplexing).  If this will be a large number or impossible to predict (such as if it’s open-ended to your customers and you don’t know the total number of potential users) then you should use core-based licensing.  This is the type that will be used automatically with the Pay-as-you-go option.
  2. Also remote desktop service session host require CAL’s , for an Azure VM do we have to procure them separately incase we require more than 2 concurrent connections ? 
    Yes, you’d still need to procure the additional RDP CAL licensing if you’ll need more than two concurrent RDP connections to the virtual machine.  

For any further information related to Microsoft products, you can reach out to us by creating a ticket at Foetron Support Portal.  To stay updated with new features related to office365  and other Microsoft products, you can subscribe to our youtube channel Foetron Cloud Academy