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Microsoft User CAL management

We have encountered a challenge in determining our true MS User CAL consumption and are looking for insights as to how others have tackled this issue with FNMS. The consumption reported by FNMS is roughly double the total number of active user accounts we have. Looking at the CAL Usage Inventory report the count appears to be an accounting of every unique system \ resource a particular user has accessed.  i.e. each unique user account can \ does several consumption entries.  The bottom line question is: How are others tracking User CAL compliance?

Thanks in advance.

(3) Replies
By Community Manager Community Manager
Community Manager

CAL consumption is indeed difficult to determine. What needs to be counted, what data is available to support that counting, and how to go about doing the counting can all vary based on the particular software in question.

FlexNet does take somewhat of a "sledgehammer" approach to trying to do a consumption count as you have described, but in many (perhaps even most) cases that won't reflect the reality that you are dealing with. More typically you will want to be considering things like the number of devices, people or other relevant metrics from your organization and doing an appropriate manual determination of consumption. You can use a license record in FlexNet with a "custom metric" license type to record the consumption you have determined.

There are some more comments about Microsoft CALs in the Microsoft Practice Guide (this link will only work for Flexera customers who are signed in to Community).

(Did my reply solve the question? Click "ACCEPT AS SOLUTION" to help others find answers faster. Liked something? Click "KUDO". Anything expressed here is my own view and not necessarily that of my employer, Flexera.)

I have a similar problem here. Why is it not possible, that the usage of older Single CAL Versions is automatically covered by a higher Version of Core CAL Suite, Enterprise Suite or even O365+EMS (we are in a transition and do have both)? This should recognised by the system automatically. All the "in-compliant" indications are really irritating especially if you have to do a management report. I tried the mentioned "custom metric" workaround but I still cannot set the usage f.e. a Windows 2005 CAL to zero. Please advise what can be done here without big customisation.

Thank you!

By Level 17 Champion
Level 17 Champion


I usually work with my customers to create a set of rules to identify natural persons from the set of all user accounts (e.g. from AD). This subset of accounts/users is then allocated to a Named User license.

In contrast to evidence-driven compliance calculation, this is more about building a comprehensible, transparent assignment process.

Best regards,