What’s in the Microsoft ECAL that many universities have?

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I was asked yesterday by a partner what a typical university is licensed for in Australia.

So here’s a quick summary:

  • Typically they have licensed a desktop suite – that gives them licences for Windows and Office on their staff and shared devices (eg computer labs etc) campus-wide.
    The main thing this doesn’t cover is student-owned or student-dedicated devices (ie ones that are only used by a single student, rather than shared between students). For these devices, universities add a specific student option licence
  • They also typically add one of the CAL suites (a CAL is a Client Access Licence). This gives them the licences they need to access a range of Microsoft servers from those devices.
    Some universities license the Core CAL, but many now choose the Enterprise CAL suite, as they are using more advanced capabilities on their network (see the table below for the two suites)
  • Then they license the additional servers they need – and there’s a mix between universities that choose to buy each server individually under Select Academic licences, and those which buy the their servers under a ‘server platform’ option, which gives them unlimited licensing for a range of servers across the campus.

The differences between the CAL suites are summarised in this little table:


Which means that?

For many new IT projects, universities in Australia don’t need to buy additional Microsoft licences, as they already have the coverage they need. This isn’t the case for all products, and all universities, but when talking about new IT projects, it often seems as if they can simply expand their infrastructure, and just add a few low cost licences (eg a couple of servers) rather than adding a massive number.

Which means that the Microsoft licences are normally the lowest cost component of any IT project in Australian universities Smile


Learn MoreLearn more about the components of the Microsoft CAL suites here

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