Licensing SQL Server CAL or Core

New Contributor

Hello Community,


our distributor told us the following:

  • SQL server licensing relies on "direct users" and "indirect users
  • "direct users" are users directly connecting to the SQL server without any application server in between
  • "indirect users" are users connecting to the server application (client/server) which is connecting to the SQL server
  • if a company is running a server application with "indirect users" the core license model is mandatory
  • only a "direct users" model can use server and CAL licensing


 Is this right?

Background, we have a little healthcare company and the running software is running on SQL express where the database nearly hits the 10GB limit.

We have to offer a SQL Server Standard license to keep the system running in the future.

The company's server is a VMWare VM with 4 vCores.


Thanks very much in advance for any answer



2 Replies
best response confirmed by Bernhard_Kraus (New Contributor)

@Bernhard_Kraus , the description is close to.

"Indirect user" is a multiplexing scenarion, see


At all, this is a community forum for technical questions & issues.

For question regarding pricing / licensing please contact a Microsoft sales partner or licensing expert.

Call (1-800-426-9400), Monday through Friday, 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM PST to speak directly to Microsoft licensing specialist.




Hi Olafhelper,

thanks much for your information. I will call our MS partner consultant directly.

Have a nice time