Case Study – Alaska Fishing Company and SBS 2003 licensing

Hohoho – I am the co-author and publisher of the Advanced Small Business Server 2003 Best Practices book and I like to hold virtual book readings. Silly me! Seriously – here is a passage I wrote on licensing usin the case study approach.

Case Study—Alaskan Fishing Company

One of the most popular slides in the morning session of my worldwide SMB
Nation Summit workshops concerns an Alaskan fishing company that I’ve served
with pleasure over the years. And as you will see, this fishing company serves


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as an example to convey many of the complexities surrounding SBS 2003 licensing. Let’s get started!

Figure 3-1

The Alaskan fishing company.





The Question

The question I pose to the workshop audience is simple and might not normally prompt deeper scrutiny:

“Just to clarify…my fishing company has 900 employees. But we have only 30 computers. Will SBS 2003 work for me?”

Such a simply question results in a surprisingly complex set of answers about SBS 2003 licensing, as you will see.

The Simple Answer

The first answer is YES! This Alaskan fishing company could indeed utilize
SBS 2003 to provide networking capabilities to its 30 computers. This would
be accomplished using device Client Access Licenses (CALs). The Alaskan

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fishing company would purchase 25 such device CALs (note that SBS 2003 ships with five universal CALs by default that can assume “device” licensing status). So you might be inclined to say “end of story” and leave it there. But really, we need to delve deeper into device CALs before causing analytical turbulence by introducing more CAL types.

As the simple scenario stands, 30 PCs attached to the SBS 2003 network can operate as full network citizens and enjoy all the rights bestowed upon those devices under the licensing terms and conditions set forth by the Microsoft Corporation. The device CALs deployed by the Alaskan fishing company would allow:

·                       All 900 employees to be entered into the Active Directory database as user objects in SBS 2003. Ideally, you would do this via the Add User Wizard that is accessed from the To Do List. Active Directory is explained by author Jeff Middleton in Chapter 15; adding users is men­tioned to some extent in Chapter 4 by Andy Goodman.

·                       All 900 employees could have an SMTP e-mail address as part of being added to Active Directory in SBS 2003. This would allow these employees to send and receive e-mails with the Alaskan fishing company’s Internet identity (i.e.,

·                       You could place one or more of the 30 PCs in the lunchroom of the Alaskan fishing company for the boat-based employees to use when they are in port. Imagine these employees queued up to use a PC while wait­ing for their paychecks. The only bizarre thing about this example would be that the line to utilize the computer might be very long and slow, as folks would likely have to read six months of accumulated e-mail.

·                       Finally, the 30 device CALs would support the 30 PCs referenced in this storyline. But a greater number of users could certainly share those 30 computers, as my example implies.


Harry Brelsford, CEO at SMB Nation

MBA, MCSE, CNE, CLSE, CNP, MCP, MCT, SBSC (Microsoft Small Business Specialist)

PS – my Small Business Server 2008 (SBS 2008) book is now here! J


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