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License, Please!

Another aspect of planning your Windows 2000 network is figuring out how you are going to license the clients that use your network. Yep, that's right; just buying the server software doesn't square you with Microsoft (or the software police). You have to select one of two licensing methods when you install your Windows 2000 Server software, and it's important that you choose the licensing method that best suits your networking plan and the potential growth of your user base. As I already mentioned, two licensing methods are available: Per Seat and Per Server.

Per Seat means that you will purchase a license for each network user on the network. Each of these users can connect to any and all the servers on the network. As far as large networks go, Per Seat is probably the best licensing strategy, especially if network resources are spread across a number of Windows 2000 servers (meaning you have multiple domains in your network tree).

Per Server means that you are licensed for a certain number of concurrent connections to the server. If you have 50 licenses, 50 clients can connect to the server. Per Server is the best choice when you have a small network consisting of only one domain (and one domain controller). It also works best for networks when only part of your client base is connected to the server at any one time. For example, if you run different shifts at your company, you only need a Per Server license that will cover the number of users connected to the server at any one time (not your entire employee population).

Choose Your Licensing Mode Wisely!

During the Windows 2000 installation process, (discussed in Chapter 4 "Installing Windows 2000 Server"), you will be asked to select your licensing mode, either Per Server or Per Seat. This is handled by a simple dialog box containing two check boxes—one for each licensing mode type. Make sure that you understand the difference between Per Server and Per Seat before making your selection. Your decision will be affected by the number of current users, the number of Windows 2000 servers in your domain, and the growth that your network will experience in the future. You'll only get one chance to switch from Per Server to Per Seat, as discussed in this section. Small networks may be able to get away with Per Server licensing without violating the licensing agreement. If you are looking at a larger network, Per Seat is probably your best bet.

If you are using the Per Seat licensing mode, you can add new client licenses using the Licensing snap-in. After your domain is up and running, select the Start menu, point at Programs, point at Administrative Tools, and then select Licensing—a wizard walks you through the process of adding licenses (see Figure 3.4).

Figure 3.4 The Licensing snap-in allows you to add licenses to your Windows 2000 network or change your licensing mode.

Microsoft does give you the one-time option of changing Per Server licensing to Per Seat licensing. This is a good idea if your domain has grown. It is also an economical necessity if you've found that you have to buy more Per Server licenses than you have actual users on your domain. (Because of the expansion of servers on the network, remember Per Server means concurrent connections to any and all Windows 2000 servers on the network.).

Switching from Per Server to Per Seat licensing is really straightforward; just follow these steps:

  1. Open the Licensing snap-in (click Start, point at Programs, point at Administrative Tools, and then select Licensing).

  2. In the Licensing window, click the Server Browser tab.

  3. Expand the domain node that contains the server you want to change the licensing mode for.

  4. Right-click the server and then click Properties. The Properties box for the server opens.

  5. Make sure that the Product View tab is selected in the dialog box and then click Edit.

  6. The Choose Licensing Mode dialog box opens; to switch to Per Seat licensing, click the Per Seat option button, and then click OK.

  7. You are asked to read information relating to Per Seat licensing. Select the check box that you agree to the license agreements, and then click OK.

Whichever licensing strategy you go with, make sure that you keep your licensing up-to-date and that you record the purchase of licenses in the Licensing snap-in. No one ever expects a software audit, but they do happen. Keep your licensing agreements organized and in a safe place. Your job could someday depend on it.

Well, that's it; you've planned your network, determined your server hardware, decided on a file system, and picked your licensing mode. Now you're ready to install Windows 2000 Server, which we will do in the next exciting chapter. I love it when a good plan comes together!

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