Windows Server CALs in a Hybrid Azure Environment

Q: (from Brian)

I am working on a quote for a client where we will have an Azure server running their Active Directory and one running their file server. We are also looking at adding a physical server in their office to sync the AD with Azure and also doing some local file storage (one of their users has big CAD files that we want to keep local).

If we are doing this, do I need to purchase User CAL’s in this scenario  or would that be covered under the Azure server licensing?


In this case, “Yes”, because the server is on-premises, you would need to license the physical cores in the machine and get CALs for the named users accessing the server. BTW, make sure you get SA on your Server licenses so you get access to the Hybrid Use Benefit (HUB) in case that server should move to the cloud in the future.

This is not a new policy, Woody Walton posted the following blog post in 2014:

I’m sure you have already found this document:

Azure Windows Server FAQ:

Bottom line: in Azure we cover both the right to run the server as well as access the server in the per minute fees. We are NOT granting a CAL to use the Azure server. Therefore there is no CAL that can be used with the on-premises server.

SDeming Face  Steve

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