Posted by: Charles Maitland | Thursday 22 February, 2007

Multiplexing and licenses

In the comments of my rants about how the licensing model of business applications effectively prevents Sharepoint and other applications making best use of the data within the business applications.

here and here

Peter suggested taking the data out of CRM, into a separate database and then hooking up sharepoint to that database. Geoff suggests doing a bulk copy of the data into another repository

Unfortunately, my reading of  the Microsoft licence explicitly covers that scenario under their term Multiplexing.

In the Microsoft document even if the user accesses the data through “Pooling Hardware or Software” they still need a CAL for the source system if they can “Input, Query or View data”.

They include the diagram below, which even though it refers to Project Server, the principle still applies. (sorry if the image is blurred)

The only way that an end user can see data from the core system without a CAL is if they are removed from the source application by email or hard copy.

Additionally this applies to any number of multiplexing machines that may exist between the end user and the source system and each multiplex system requires an additional CAL.

So my reading of it is that Sharepoint users, Data warehouse users, Scorecard users, Reporting Services Users etc all require CAL licenses for the source application. Is it me?!

The document that explains all this can be found here



  1. This is why I ended up going for SQL processor licences. MS are either being far too greedy on the CAL licensing or (deliberately) making it too confusing to figure out.

    Frankly, I hate the CAL model. You think you are getting a product for a good price but the CALs just push that price through the roof.

    Much as I like most of the MS products, their pricing model stinks.

  2. Philip.
    whilst I agree with your general feeling I should point out in the interests of fairness this is an issue with the source application’s licence as opposed to the SQL Server Licence. My particular pain is with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM licence.

  3. […] disseminate data that was held in the products has been the subject of some of my earlier rants (HERE and […]

  4. Hi,

    This week, I have very painfully explored this same problem. What I’m most worried is that my Microsoft rep told that this “multiplexing” issue would also be applicable to any server-side integrations (which would indeed be a logical extension of these peculiar rules).

    An example scenario: A company with 1000 persons using SAP, 50 of them being sales persons. You would like to sell and implement a Dynamics CRM system for the sales department. This kind of system would usually include a simple SAP integration, automatically loading customer id’s, names, addresses and phone numbers e.g. every night from SAP to CRM through some CSV file or whatever.

    But if this Microsoft “multiplexing” rule would be applied, all the SAP users would require a CRM CAL, since they might use SAP to enter some information that would be transferred to CRM. Cost for the licenses would be not ~50 k$ but ~1M$.

    Also any scenarios where CRM is mastering customer information, would force CRM licenses to be bought for every employee, whatever systems they are using.

    This issue surely seems like a show-stopper in several sales cases.

  5. […] Here Here and Here […]

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